Avocados (sometimes called alligator pears), are a fruit known for their rich, creamy flesh, and delicious flavour. Avocados first arrived in Australia in 1840 in seed form, and were planted in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney. They’re now grown in most states in Australia!
The Hass is the most common variety of avocado in Australia, in season for most of the year – from May through February. They have a distinctive dark green textured skin, which darkens to a purply-black as they ripen. They are loved for their creamy texture and taste.
Sliced, diced, or smashed, we think most dishes benefit from some avocado, whether it’s our morning toast, lunch time salad, or Mexican feast at dinner time. They can also be added to smoothies to create a thick, creamy texture. In fact, many non-western nations prefer to use avocados in sweet dishes, rather than the savoury ones we know and love – in Kenya the avocado is used in fruit salad, and in Vietnam they’re mixed with condensed milk, ice and sugar to create a popular sweet treat.
Avocados are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which also support appetite regulation, blood sugar control, and reduce inflammation. They are a good source of folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
A firm avocado will ripen in a paper bag, or in your fruit bowl at room temperature within a few days. As the fruit ripens, the skin will turn darker, and the flesh will soften. To test the ripeness, avoid pinching your avo, as this can result in bruising – instead, hold the avocado very gently in your palm and press very gently against its surface. A ripe avocado will yield to very gentle pressure.
Avocados should not be refrigerated until they are ripe. Once ripe, they can be kept refrigerated for up to a week. If you have used a portion of a ripe avocado, keep the pit in the remaining portion, and store in the refrigerator – squeezing lemon juice over the exposed surface(s) will help to prevent the browning that can occur when the flesh comes in contact with oxygen, and wrapping with beeswax wrap or compostable cling film will help your cut avo to keep longer. If browning occurs, simply scrape a thin layer off the top – the flesh underneath should still be green and delicious.