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Packed with more potassium than a banana, avocado contains both soluble and insoluble fiber (good for feeding the gut as well as keeping blood sugar stable) and monounsaturated fat, which can reduce inflammation as well as protect heart health. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from, though with a dark green, bumpy shell and an oval shape, Hass is known as the prototypical avocado. While this type accounts for 80% of consumption worldwide, search your markets for other kinds, such as the Fuerte, Bacon and Choquette. The Fuerte, or the Florida avocado, with its pear shape and bright green, smooth skin, couldn’t be less similar. Though not as widely available and with a shorter growing season, the Floridian variety is prized for a slightly sweeter and lemony flavor. The Hass avocado is available year-round – its American season lasts from February until September. Their perpetuity on store shelves has to do in part with a steady supply from South America and Australasia.
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Tips & Tricks
Brown guac doesn’t quite have that same allure as the glowing green kind. Prevent oxidation by wrapping leftovers well with plastic wrap or squeezing lemon juice over any exposed fruit. The old wives’ tale that leaving in the pit prevents decay is just that. Only limiting air exposure or adding ascorbic acid (from lemon juice) truly does the trick. A gentle squeeze is often information enough to reveal ripeness; perfectly ready fruit should feel soft but not squishy. Hass avocados darken as they ripen, going from jade to purple and ultimately to black when decayed. Need to ripen your fruit in a hurry? Stick avocados in a paper bag with a ripe banana or apple. Slow down the ripening process by storing in the refrigerator.