I Love Avocados So Much…

I wrote a blog post about them!

Avocados, like the ones Farmer Mary Hillebrecht and her family grow, are native to Mexico and Central America. Avocados are an ancient fruit, and evidence of their consumption has been found as far back as 10,000 BC.

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A beautiful pile of avocados
Photo source

Avocado trees grow over 60′ high, and some varieties can produce hundreds of pounds of avocados each year. Avocados grow best in warmer, humid, and non-windy climates. They are grown around the world, including the US, Spain, Mexico, New Zealand, and many more countries. Mexico is by far the largest producers of avocados, followed by Chile, the Dominican Republic, and Indonesia.

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A lovely grove of avocados
Photo source

There are many different varieties of avocados, falling under a few main categories. West Indian cultivars have a smoother, leathery skin and flesh that is lower in oil. Guatemalan cultivars have thicker, rough skin. Guatemalan X West Indian hybrids are very important in the the Florida avocado industry. Mexican varieties have a thin, tender skin, and a high oil content, up to 30%. There are also Guatemalan X Mexican hybrids.

The most common of all the varieties is the Hass variety. Haas trees produce avocados year-round, and account for about 80% of all the avocados grown in the world. Hass avocados are all descended from a single “mother tree” grown by a mail carrier, Rudolph Hass, of La Habra Heights, California. This variety was patented in 1935 and the the mother tree died in 2002 of root rot. Hass avocados are a hybrid Guatemalan variety.

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A variety of avocados
Photo source

Avocados can be grown indoors as a potted houseplant by sticking toothpicks partway through the avocado on both sides, then sticking it 1/2″ into a glass of water. In a few weeks, the seedling can be transferred to a pot. Avocados start bearing fruit when they are 4-5 years old, and can produce for 50 years or more. Some avocado trees are thought to be over 100 years!

Surprisingly, avocados do not ripen when still on the tree. They are picked unripe, and must be handled carefully to avoid bruising and spoiling. Avocados are also susceptible to cold, and ripen best around 60*F.

Avocados, along with being delicious, are very good for you. The fats found in avocados are heart-healthy, and they have no cholesterol. They have more potassium than bananas, folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and also quite a bit of soluble and insoluble fiber.  A diet high in avocados has been shown to lower cholesterol, LDL (harmful cholesterol), and to increase HDL (good cholesterol).

My favorite way to eat avocados is to slice them up, add a sprinkle of salt, and devour. Avocados are usually served raw,  and are added to both sweet and savory dishes around the world. Avocados are served by themselves, in guacamole, pureed into milkshakes, added to fruit salads, served in sandwiches, sushi, soups, eggs, and a multitude of other dishes.

So, eat lots of avocados for a delicious way to keep a healthy heart!

Information in this article was taken from:
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avocado

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