Avocado is a tree native to Mexico and Central America. They have green skin, fleshy body, and they ripen after harvesting. Its name is derived from the Aztec word ‘ahuacatl’. Avocados can be propagated by seeds and it may take four to six years before it bears fruits. The tree can grow up to 20 metres high and the pear-shaped fruits may weigh from 200 grams over a kilogram depending on its variety.
What are the Health Benefits?
Avocados are getting popular now and it’s the darling of the produce section. You can make salads, accompaniments, dips, or just eat them “as they come”. There is a Mayan Indians saying “Where avocados are grown both hunger and malnutrition has zero friends. Are you wondering why people say that? Well; it’s because avocados are considered to be a super food.
Avocados contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals in every serving, including potassium, lutein, and folate. It is also a good source of Vitamins B, C, and E, plus natural plant chemicals that may assist in the prevention of cancer.
It contains fiber that helps you feel full longer and it is low in sugar. Study shows that people who eat avocado with their lunch were less interested to eat in the next three hours. So it only means that avocado is perfect when you’re on diet and want to lose some weight without starving yourself.
Avocado Varieties Available in Australia
Records show that avocados have been grown in Australia since as early as the mid-eighteenth century. The industry developed on the subtropical eastern coast of Australia, in southern Queensland. In 2013 the Australian avocado industry produced 54,877 tonnes of avocados. You can really see the demand for avocados is running at high levels.
The main Avocado varieties produced in Australia are:
- Hass – It has a nutty taste, high-fat flesh, and almond butter texture. It is oval in shape and has a distinctive pebbly skin which turns to purple when it ’s ripe. They are available all year round in Australia with the peak being between April and November.
- Shepard – This small avocado has delicate pointed smooth skin. The flesh is pale yellow when ripe, with a smooth buttery texture. It is relative to Hass with similarities to its textures. This variety is available in peak supply from February to April.
- Pinkerton – It is a Mexican and Guatemalan hybrid. It is medium in size with green leathery bendable skin. The thick flesh has a smooth texture, good flavour, and high oil content. Peak season is during June to August.
- Fuerte – It is a green skinned, similar in shape to that of a pear. The flesh is of a buttery texture with an excellent flavour. This variety peaks from April to June.
- Reed – It is a high-volume cropping variety with large, round, green-skinned fruit of excellent quality. They have a mild to rich flavour and have a good storing ability. This is the best variety in making salads as it tends not to get too mushy. Harvest season is August to December.
- Wurtz – Has a pear shape, green skinned fruit. It’s a small tree and moderate cropper of medium-sized rich, high-quality fruit. Harvest season is August to October.
Avocados are highly nutritious fruit and need to be fed well. Watering is important for the growth of the tree. The right time to harvest it when one ripe fruit falls to the ground and the top stem changes its colour and goes a bit lighter.
The markets, supermarkets, and greengrocers have various varieties available to you. When purchasing take care with the ripeness at the time of buying. It is important to select the avocados at the stage of ripeness according to when you are planning on putting them to use.
They can be stored in the fridge or on your kitchen bench. I have been known to have one or two sitting on my window sill awaiting for the ripening process to finalise.
They are a few ways to assist in the ripening process if required – one way is to put them in a brown paper bag with some banana skins – you will be pleasantly surprised within a day or two.
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