Avocado is considered one of the main tropical fruits, as it contains fat-soluble vitamins which are less common in other fruits, besides high levels of protein, potassium and unsaturated fatty acids.
Avocado pulp contains variable oil content, and is widely used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry, and in the production of commercial oils similar to olive oil. This fruit has been recognized for its health benefits, especially due to the compounds present in the lipidic fraction, such as omega fatty acids, phytosterols, tocopherols and squalene.
Studies have shown the benefits of avocado associated to a balanced diet, especially in reducing cholesterol and preventing cardiovascular diseases.
The avocado consists of 73% water, 15% fat, 8.5% carbohydrates (mostly fibers) and 2% protein. Half an avocado (68 grams) contains 109 calories, corresponding to 160 calories per 100 grams.
How to choose the right avocado
When choosing your avocado at the Farmer’s Market or grocery store, make sure the exterior skin of the fruit is just a bit soft. The skin should not be compromised in any way by cracks, holes, or spots.
If you want the fruits with the richest flavors, choose those that have a short neck versus those that have a rounded-off top portion. The short-necked avocados have had a bit more time on the tree to ripen more, so the flavor is intensified.
When storing your avocados, refrain from refrigerating them until they are ripe. You can speed up the ripening process by placing avocados in a paper bag at room temperature. Once ripened, they will last up to seven days when refrigerated.
If you feel like the avocado season never ends, you’re right, thanks in large part to the hard work of Mexican avocado growers. In Mexico, the season essentially lasts all year long, since their trees bloom and produce fruit four times per year.
The state of Michoacán, with its fertile volcanic soil, is the avocado capital of Mexico, harvesting for the majority of the year, starting in the early spring. Right when Michoacán winds down its harvest in the fall, farmers in Jalisco pick up the slack and harvest until early March.
It’s like a delicious relay race between trees and regions, producing a glut of avocados (not accidentally) just in time for the Super Bowl.
Mexico isn’t the only country that’s capitalized on the popularity of avocados in the U.S. Today, Peru grows avocados from April to September and right when they wind down, Colombia and Chile enjoy their season from September to June.
What this means for U.S. avocado enthusiasts is that thanks to a network of growers throughout the Americas, you can eat avocados year-round.