Avocados are a fruit that belong to the berry family and are a native of South and Central America. The fruit has a large oval pit and a butter smooth texture. Avocados grow on evergreen, medium to large trees with large, leathery foliage. Being tropical, avocado trees are most well suited to frost-free areas and have very low tolerance for cold. The trees grow best in well-drained soil and in areas of full sun with ample protection against possible cold winds.
Hass avocados are the leading avocado variety grown in California. The fruit is harvested throughout the year and has a good shelf life. The skin of the oval shaped fruit changes color from green to purplish-black upon ripening. Hass avocado is easy to peel, has a small- to medium-sized seed and a very strong flavor. The weight of the average fruit is 5 to 12 oz. and the skin is pebbly and pliable. The fruit has a light green flesh and creamy texture.
Fuerte avocado is considered the original high-quality California avocado and is harvested from late fall and into spring. The fruit pear shaped with a medium-size seed. The medium- to large-sized mature fruit ranges in weight between 5 to 14 oz. and is easy to peel. The peel is smooth, thin and green and the inner flesh is creamy to light green. Fuerte avocado does not change color upon ripening but remains green. When ripe, the fruit opens with gentle pressure.
Gwen avocado is very similar in taste, look and texture to Hass avocado but is slightly larger in size. The fruit is plumper and rounded with a small to medium seed. The fruit is easy to peel and has a well-developed flavor. The weight of the mature fruit ranges between 6 to 15 oz. and the skin is thick and pebbly yet pliable. The flesh is between creamy to gold-green. When Gwen avocados ripen, the green skin takes on a dull shade.
Pinkerton avocados are one of the top winter varieties. The fruit has a small seed and produces a greater quantity of fruit per tree compared to other varieties. The sizes of the long, pear-shaped fruit also differ greatly and range in weight between 8 to 18 oz. Pinkerton is harvested from early winter and into spring. The fruit is high in taste and peels very well. The green skin is moderately thick with some pebbling and changes to a dark green as fruit ripens. The flesh is creamy to light green.
- Photo Credit avocado, organic image by Astroid from Fotolia.com
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