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Avocados

Texas is no stranger to avocados due to its wide use in Tex-Mex cuisine. Avocado is a superfood that’s become an incredibly popular ingredient among individuals that value health. It is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Among all of the fruits, the Avocado has the richest Vitamin E, potassium, Folate, magnesium, and fiber concentrations. From just being known as an ingredient in guacamole, Avocado is now appearing in almost everything, from avocado toast, wraps, breads, smoothies, and even brownies!

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Laurales
  • Family: Lauraceae
  • Genus: Persea
  • Species: P. americana
  • Binomial name: Persea americana

Avocado Trivia

  • Avocados are a fruit, not a vegetable, despite looking like one
  • Avocado trees need other avocado trees nearby to grow. They do not self-pollinate
  • Avocados mature on trees, but they only start to ripen once they have been picked off
  • The “Hass” is the most popular avocado variety in the world. This variant was discovered in a backyard of a mailman named Robert Hass in California in the early 1930s.
  • Avocados, gram for gram, has the highest protein and fiber content of all the fruits

Avocado Buying Guide

Ripe avocados are usually dark, almost black, with green spots. If you need or want to use the Avocado immediately, choose on that has a dark color. If you don’t need to use it for a few days, then you can choose a green one and let it ripen on the countertop for a few days.

Tip: Some avocados are evergreen, meaning they stay green even though they’re ripe. Ask your grocer or grower what variety of Avocado they’re selling.

Another way to check for ripeness is to squeeze the avocados gently. Ideally, ripe avocados should be firm but gives way to gentle pressure. If they’re soft, then they’re overripe, if they’re too hard, they’re underripe.

If you’re purchasing a lot of avocados, pick a mix between ripe and underripe so you can have perfectly ripe avocados every few days and not have the unused ones spoil on you.

Also, check the avocados for signs of bruising. Bruising means that they haven’t been properly handled during transport or they have been over-handled in-store, and this can lead to a mushy and damaged avocado.

Avocado Production & Farming in Texas

Avocado production in Texas is so small that it is still not reported in the U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics. The only areas that are suitable for successful commercial avocado production are the areas in and around the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Despite claims of growers, there is a significant risk of the crop being damaged in a freeze during winter.

Other growers in the south and southwest of San Antonio have mild successes with a few varieties of Avocado but not in the volume that can be considered full-commercial quantity.

In the United States, avocado production is centered in three places, namely: California, Florida, and Hawaii. Texas’ neighbor, Mexico, leads the world in avocado production, so Texans enjoy a fresh and steady supply of Avocados whenever they’re in season.

Pesticides:

Avocados rank highest in “The Clean Fifteen.” This is a list of fruits and vegetables that have tested low in pesticide and herbicide contamination. Less than 1% of all tested avocados have any pesticide residue, and this is partly thanks to their thick skin. Of the contaminated samples, only one type of pesticide was found.

Take note, though, that the skin of the Avocado is peeled off before consumption, so any pesticide contamination is removed along with the skin.

Geography:

Avocados thrive in coarse and well-drained soil. They do not tolerate poorly drained soil and flooding. Soil PH has little effect on the Avocado tree.

The most limiting factor to avocado production is the climate. Avocados cannot tolerate severe cold conditions that Texas experiences at certain times of the year.

Packaging:

Due to the increasing demand of avocados, a lot of small growers are now sending their products directly to large packinghouses at a wholesale rate rather than selling it for themselves. They are picked mature but unripe from the trees, and they are sent to packinghouses to be processed.

Once the avocados reach the packinghouses, they are hydro cooled, meaning they are cooled with water to remove any residual heat and warmth from being exposed from the sun. This slows down the ripening process.

After they are hydro cooled, they are washed with a chemical sanitizer to remove any dirt or gunk on the outside of the Avocado. After the washing phase, the avocados are hand sorted by quality, size, specification, and to remove any fruit with defects/damages.

Once they have been sorted, the fruit will then be labeled and then packed to the specification of the customer. Note that large packinghouses have many different customers and many different growers, so most of the big brand avocados that you find in stores all come from this mixed batch.

Once they have been packed in boxes, they are cooled one more time before transport to their final destinations.

Enjoying Avocados

The best and safest way to open up avocado is with a sharp knife. To do this, slice through the Avocado lengthwise until you hit the pit. Once you hit the pit, slowly rotate the Avocado while keeping the knife level so that it cuts all around the pit. Once you’ve done this, place the knife down, twist the Avocado along the cut, and it should come apart easily.

To remove the pit, give it a gentle tap with the sharp end of your knife with just enough force so that the blade bites down on the pit and then twist the knife to pull out the avocado pit.

After that, you can scoop out the Avocado with a spoon to enjoy it on its own or add it to your favorite recipe.

Storage:

If you have ripe avocados, you can store them whole and uncut inside the fridge for up to three days. For unripe avocados, you can leave them on the counter for them to ripen. Never store unripe avocados inside the refrigerator as the cold slows down the ripening process. Sometimes the refrigerator completely stops the ripening process, and you’re left with an unripe avocado.

Cooking:

Avocados are not usually “cooked” in the sense that we traditionally cook food because Avocado tends to become bitter if exposed to high temperatures for extended periods. Avocado is best used fresh as a topping to toast, as a dip or eaten raw directly from the skin.

Nutrition:

The Avocado is the only fruit that contains healthy monounsaturated fat; this is the fat that we want to consume for its health benefits.

  • Carbs
    • A whole avocado provides 17 grams of carbs, while that may sound bad, it isn’t. This is because out of the 17 grams of carbs, 13.5 of those are in the form of dietary fiber.
    • There is very little sugar in an avocado with whole fruit, only having about 1 gram of sugar.
    • Avocado’s Glycemic index is estimated to be at 15, making it a low glycemic food.
  • Fiber
    • A whole avocado contains 13.5 grams of dietary fiber, which makes it a perfect addition to any diet.
    • If you eat a whole avocado, you’re already halfway to fulfilling your recommended daily intake for fiber.
  • Protein
    • A whole avocado has 4.6 grams of protein.
  • Vitamins and minerals:
    • A single serving (100g) of Avocado provides 26% of the daily recommended intake for Vitamin K
      • This plays a role in regulating blood calcium levels and helps in blood clotting and bone metabolism.
    • A single serving (100g) of Avocado provides 20% of the daily recommended intake for Folate
      • Folate is one of the B-vitamins required in the production of red and white blood cells in bone marrow.
      • Folate also helps convert carbs into energy.
    • A single serving (100g) of Avocado provides 17% of the daily recommended intake for Vitamin C
      • Vitamin C is responsible for boosting the immune system against infections.
      • This is also necessary for the repair of body tissues.

Nutrition

DV%

  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 240 12%
  • Carbs: 12.8g 4%
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Fiber: 10.1g 40%
  • Protein: 3g 6%
  • Fat: 22g 34%
  • Saturated Fat: 3.2g 16%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 10.5mg 0%
  • Vitamin C 15mg 25%
  • Vitamin A 219IU 4%
  • Calcium 18mg 2%
  • Iron 0.8mg 5%
  • Potassium 727mg 21%
  • Vitamin E 3.1mg 16%
  • Vitamin K 31.5mcg 39%
  • Vitamin B6 0.4mg 19%
  • Folate 122mcg 30%
  • Magnesium 43.5mg 11%
  • Phosphorus 78.0mg 8%
  • Manganese 0.2mg 11%
  • Copper 0.3mg 14%
  • Zinc 1mg 6%

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Tasty Recipes Using Avocados