An avocado comes from the avocado tree which grows to about 65ft (20m). The pear-shaped fruit is actually a berry (who would believe), it has a large central seed, yellow-green flesh and a green to almost black rubbery skin depending on variety.
The avocado is thought to be of Aztec origin, where it was known as the fertility fruit.
It eventually found it's way to the United States, South Africa and Australia sometime during the late 19th century. However the first European record of it is from 1519.
Now for the trivia buff. When Spanish explorers first found the avocado they could not pronounce the Aztec word for it "ahuacatl" which means testicle (due to the fruits shape). Instead they called it "aguacate" from which we now derive guacamole.
The avocado has a higher fat content than most fruits, though it is mostly monounsaturated fat. If you were to eat a whole avocado, you would get approximately 25% of the recommended daily intake of saturated fat as issued by the United States FDA.
Bananas are known as a source of potassium but avocados have 60% more. Plus the avo is a good source of folate, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamins A, B6, C and E and several types of antioxidant carotenoids, including beta-carotene.
Selecting an avocado in the shop can be a bit tricky but if you follow these tips you will get the right one.
Hold the avocado in your hand, there should be a little 'give' around the stem end. If it is firm is will take about 5 days to ripen in the fruit bowl. You can quicken this process by sealing your avocado in a paper bag with a ripe banana. The banana gives off ethylene gas, which accelerates the ripening process.
You should store your avocados in a single layer, in a dry, airy place. We always put ours in a cane fruit basket. If you wish to preserve your avocado and slow the ripening, put it in the crisper of refrigerator.
A ripe avocados will keep for 2 to 3 days in the fridge. But once you cut, it will go brown with contact with the air. To prevent this, it is best to leave the seed in, squeeze some lemon or lime juice over the avocado and then cover it in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for 1 to 2 days.
Lisa "The Crock Cook"
Credit To Lisa Paterson