If I were stranded on a desert island and could have only one food, it would be the avocado. The rich, buttery smooth flesh of an avocado is on a lot of people's lists as a delicious but fattening treat. It's true that avocados have a high oil content, but they are also packed with vitamins A, C, and E; primary vitamins in the antioxidant group that protect the cells in human tissue. High protein content makes avocados a good meat substitute, and unlike animal fat, the fat is not saturated. The big surprise in avocados is how high they are in dietary fiber; they have one of the highest fiber contents of any fruit or vegetable.
California avocados are generally Guatemalan varieties and in my opinion they are the best. They include the famous Hass, the Reed, and the Pinkerton. These avocados have higher oil content than other varieties and have a richer, creamier taste. They are my favorites and the reason we produce only these varieties.
The Hass is small to medium in size and oval in shape, with a pebbled skin that goes from dark green to purplish black, high oil content and a buttery taste.
The Pinkerton is a marvelous avocado. Pinkertons peel easily and they have a rich, creamy almost Hass like flavor. Just one of the world's best avocados.
The other avocado that is to die for is the Reed. The Reed generally harvests from June until October/November depending on heat conditions for the year. Prolonged heat spells and wind storms knock avocados off the trees prematurely. The Reed is the most easily identifiable of all the avocados. It is a big round softball shaped avocado with a thick smooth green skin. Reeds never mush up in salads, as an over-ripe Hass is prone to do, and they keep perfectly in the refrigerator after being cut open for up to a week without turning brown. This is important because Reeds can easily weigh up to a pound and a half, way too much for one person to eat at a sitting, even for the most dedicated avocado lover. I rate them above all other avocados in all uses except one, guacamole.
Leave firm avocados out on the counter for a few days to ripen. Early in the season avocados will take six to fourteen days to ripen. Late in the season they'll take about five days. That's because early in the season the oil content in an avocado is on the low side, whereas late in the season the oil content increases, fruit left longer on the tree has matured to the point that it will ripen quickly after picking.
To hasten the ripening process, put avocados in a paper bag (speedup even more by including a banana or apple) and place in cool, dark area.
Avocado flesh exposed to the air will darken very quickly. Some people think that leaving the pit in prevents discoloring, but the primary factor is keeping air away from the flesh, so wrap a cut avocado in plastic, refrigerate, and use it as soon as possible.
Peeled and sliced avocados should be sprinkled with lemon or lime juice to retard discoloration; the citric acid also brings out the flavor. Some have had success vacuum sealing ripe avocados and freezing them until needed.
To peel, cut the avocado lengthwise around the pit and then rotate the two halves in opposite directions. Gently put the tip of a spoon under the pit; if it comes out easily, the avocado is ripe. You can scoop the flesh out of the shell with a spoon, but in many cases the avocado will peel like a banana, just turn it over on the cut side and pull off the skin with your fingers.
California State Law Has Established Minimum Oil Requirements Before Harvest Begins
Pinkerton 11.6 %
Hass 10.8 %
Reed 8.7 %