avocadoMost of us think of the avocado as a vegetable, but the “alligator pear” or “butter pear” as it was originally known, is a fruit. Unlike other fruits, avocados are not terribly sweet, have a creamy texture, and contain quite a bit of fat. The fat they contain is monounsaturated, the type you want for a healthy heart. They are also high in potassium, fiber, folic acid, vitamin E and other nutrients that contribute to your health.

Mexico is the largest avocado producing country in the world. Commercial production in the United States, the second largest producer, is almost entirely limited to Florida and California.

California and Florida grow several varieties with skins that are bright green to black, some smooth, some pebbly in texture and range in size from a few ounces to several pounds. Some of the California varieties are: Bacon, Fuerte, Gwen, Hass (most popular), Pinkerton, Reed and Zutano. Avocados from Florida are West Indian or West Indian & Guatemalan hybrids. Commercially the Booth8, Choquette, Hall, Lula, Monroe, Pollock, and Simmonds are the most important varieties.

Whether you eat avocados in a salad, as guacamole, or just by itself, you can best rest assured you’re getting one of the healthiest foods you can buy.

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