Avocado, with its real name Persea Americana, is a tree native to Mexico, whose fruit, which we know very well, is edible. Spherical in shape or similar to that of pears, the fruit has dark green skin, a buttery consistency, and a woody core inside. The authentic taste, i.e. that of a fruit ripened in optimal conditions, is a combination of butter, nuts, grassy and earthy aromas.
Avocado is grown today not only in Central and South America but also in Indonesia or India, the favorable climate being tropical or Mediterranean. There are different varieties of avocados, depending on the area of origin: Mexico, Guatemala, or India.
How Much Does an Avocado Cost?
The avocado cost is influenced by a few factors including the place you buy it from and the time of the year. However, the average price at a local grocery store is anywhere between $1.5 and $3.15 per piece.
For example, you can purchase a five-pack of Del Monte Avocados from Walmart for around $7.
According to Hass Avocado Board, the average price for avocado is $2.75 per piece.
In recent years, avocado costs have increased by 75% per year according to freshfruitportal.com and at the time this article was written conventional Hass avocado was sold on the North American market for almost $2.54 per pound.
Types of avocado
Although the most popular variety of avocado is Hass, there are hundreds of varieties in the world.
Hass is found all year round, has a nut-like aroma, and its texture is creamy. The color of this type of avocado changes from bright green to dark purple as it ripens.
Choquette is a type of avocado that comes from Florida. It has smooth, shiny skin, and the pulp of this fruit is juicier.
The Reed variety is only available in the summer months. The aroma of this type of avocado is not as intense as that of other varieties, and the color of the skin remains green, regardless of the stage of ripening in which it is.
The Fuerte variety is pear-shaped and is available eight months a year. It has an oily texture, similar to that of a hazelnut.
Bacon avocado is another type of avocado that tastes less intense than other varieties. It has a light brown shell and is easy to peel.
The Lula variety is grown in the summer and, unlike the Hass avocado, has fewer natural oils, but contains more water.
Important things to consider
There are two types of fruit in stores: those that are still green and those that are ready to eat. For the first ones, you have to give them a few days to reach the right consistency, while the others have to be used immediately.
If you decide to buy avocado ready to eat, you must be careful not to let it go into the next phase, the spoiling phase, because if you do, you will throw away a large part of the product. It is best to buy them green and control the ripening process.
If you do not plan to eat it immediately, the green one is the right choice, provided you keep it wrapped in newspaper for a few days, at room temperature, possibly with an apple or banana, a method that will speed up its ripening.
You can tell if the avocado is ripe by pressing it lightly. If it is hard, it must be left to ripen for a few more days before being eaten. If the avocado is softer, it can be used in guacamole sauces. Otherwise, it can be sliced for consumption with other foods or added to sandwiches.
Avocado is eaten in its natural state, unheated, in salads, sandwiches, guacamole, shake, but it can also be used in the form of grilled slices (with olive oil, salt, and pepper) or added in soup recipes (for example, chicken soup with lime and avocado, or cream soup of potatoes and avocado), pasta, rice (along with lime and garlic) and meat rolls.
How to tell when an avocado has gone bad
Why you should include avocados in your diet
100 grams of avocado pulp contain:
- 26% of the daily requirement of vitamin K;
- 20% of the daily requirement of folic acid;
- 17% of the daily requirement of vitamin C;
- 14% of the daily requirement of potassium;
- 14% of the daily requirement of vitamin B5;
- 13% of the daily requirement of vitamin B6;
- 10% of the daily requirement of vitamin E.
Avocados also contain small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3. At the same time, 100 grams of avocado provide the body with 160 calories, 2 grams of protein, 15 grams of healthy fats (Omega-3 fatty acids), 7 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of carbohydrates.
Avocado does not contain cholesterol and salt and is low in saturated fat. In contrast, the amount of “good” fats plays several important roles in the body. When you eat healthy fats, your brain receives a signal to stop your appetite.
In addition to promoting the absorption of antioxidants found in other foods you eat, avocado is also a source of antioxidants important for the health of your eyes. It contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which French researchers say reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration in the elderly.
Half of avocado provides the body with 25% of its daily requirement of vitamin K. This nutrient helps maintain healthy bones, as it increases the absorption of calcium and reduces the loss of this mineral through urine.
Despite its creamy texture, an avocado provides 6-7 grams of fiber, needed by the body to maintain the proper functioning of the digestive tract.
Foods high in folate, such as avocados, help reduce the risk of depression. Folate prevents excess levels of homocysteine in the body, a substance that can affect blood circulation and nutrient transport to the brain.
Contraindications and risks in avocado consumption
Avocado has a long list of benefits, but when consumed in excess of the recommended amounts, it can also have side effects, such as providing an excess of calories. However, there may be several other risks, including:
- excessive consumption of avocado can lead to what we call a fatty liver (or hepatic steatosis) a condition that can have serious consequences;
- the absorption of certain drugs may be altered;
- in the case of patients undergoing anticoagulant treatments, the consumption of avocado is not recommended, because, due to the high content of vitamin E, it can lead to bleeding.
How can I save money?
One of the best ways to save money on avocado is to purchase it in bulk, unripe, but you have to store it in the right conditions in order to keep it fresh.
Also, when in season most of the sellers and grocery stores offer discounts, so take into consideration stocking up during that time.