There are almost 500 different varieties of avocado. Seven of these are grown in California with the most popular being the Hass avocado. In fact, 95% of all the avocados found in the US are grown in California.
It takes 3-4 years for a tree to yield fruit if purchased as a tree. Initiated as a seed will take anywhere from 5 years plus to produce the product. Every other year is an off-year with the tree producing significantly less avocados. This is why the avocado is so expensive in the market.
The avocado is known as an anti-inflammatory piece of produce. The varying shades of green that present to your eye when you cut into the flesh are antioxidant carotenoids. In addition this berry has high amounts of B-Complex vitamins, potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and dietary fiber. It has over 15 different types of phytochemicals (antioxidants) in addition to heart-healthy fats and an omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid. Omega-3 fatty acids are the beneficial fats found in fish.
The avocado has more potassium than a banana. Fats make up about 75% of this fruit. They keep us filling fuller longer. The body takes quite a while to break down pure fat which is composed of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). This type of fat plus all the antioxidants contained in the avocado help give it a natural anti-inflammatory effect.
The “alligator pear” has also been thought to lower cancer risk of the skin, mouth and prostate. This has only been proven so far in lab animals. The antioxidants within the fruit are known to force cancer cells to commit suicide therefore terminating the cancer. This is called apoptosis. That effect is not displayed in normal cells.
For diabetics, this fruit is excellent because it has a very low glycemic index. This means that the avocado doesn’t increase blood sugar rapidly unlike many other foods.
Watch though because it contains a substance called chitinases. There is a cross reaction between this substance and latex. If you are allergic to latex there is a good chance you will have an allergic response to an avocado. This same substance is in bananas and chestnuts. An organic avocado that has not been processed by ethylene gas contains the lowest amounts of chitinases.
- If an avocado is hard it takes about 3-5 days to ripen at room temperature. As the fruit ripens it will turn darker.
- To accelerate the ripening process, place the fruit in a closed brown paper bag with either an apple or a banana. They both give off ethylene gas that will speed the process of ripening.
- If the fruit is ripe, you can prevent spoilage by storing in the refrigerator. This will keep the avocado viable for up to 1 week.
To see if an avocado is ripe:
1. Squeeze the fruit very gently in the palm of your hands. Do not use your fingertips.
2. If is ready to eat, it will move slightly with gentle pressure.
Used as a dip, it contains avocado, cilantro, onions, tomato, lime juice and seasoning. We always add jalapeno peppers chopped very fine so it kicks up the flavor to very hot.