FAQs About Avocados

what are avocados

What are avocados?

Avocados are a super-versatile fruit that is used in all kinds of recipes – from salads to salsas to smoothies. It’s can even be used as a spread on toast! Avocados can be eaten cooked or raw. They’re versatility (as well as their taste, obviously) is what makes them a wildly popular fruit and a healthy addition to any diet.

Where do avocados come from?

Avocados are believed to have been cultivated since 5000 B.C. But it’s known that the Aztecs and other Mesoamerican cultures first cultivated avocados in south central Mexico in the post-classic period ranging from 1300 to about 1521. It wasn’t until the 19th century when avocados were finally introduced to the United States – first, in California where they have been grown ever since. Since then, avocados have become a very popular fruit that is grown all over the world in tropical and subtropical regions.

What types of avocados are there?

There are at least 500 known types of avocados that range in size, flavor and texture. But perhaps more importantly, there are two classifications of avocados: A-cultivars and B-cultivars. These two classifications exist because avocados are a protandrous species – which means they can change from male to female in different phases of their lifecycle.

There are two types of avocados which are widely considered the most popular. They are:

Hass avocados: Hass avocados are the most common avocados that are sold today. In fact, they count for somewhere between 80-90% of the entire world’s avocado supply. They get their name from Rudolph Hass, who planted the original avocado mother tree in California. If you buy your avocados at the grocery store or farmer’s market, they’re more than likely Hass avocados. Hass avocados are an A-cultivar and yield harvest throughout the entire year.

Fuerte avocados: Fuerte avocados a B-cultivars. They are considered to be a blend of Mexican and Guatemalan avocados. Fuerte avocados are more resilient to cold temperatures and frost, which makes them easier to grow in sub-tropical or slightly cooler climates.

Why are avocados considered a fruit?

First, let’s look at what defines a fruit. Technically speaking, fruit is defined as a seed-bearing product that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant. Avocados are a large berry with one single seed in the center of the fruit, where the avocado tree grows its flower and eventually turns into an avocado. In addition, avocados have a thin skin which surrounds the fruit. The skin changes from green to black as it goes from unripe to ripened – which is also a characteristic that defines fruits.

Are avocados vegan?

Of course, avocados are vegan! In fact, they’re probably a staple in the diet of every vegan who has ever existed – I would assume. In addition, avocados are even commonly used as an ingredient to make other vegan-friendly alternatives, such as mayonnaise and guacamole.

Are avocados a superfood?

Without a doubt, avocados are a superfood! These relatively small fruits are jam-packed with nutrition that boost the human body. They’re an incredible source of good fats (monounsaturated fats) that are known to help lower cholesterol levels. They’re also a great source of fiber, which helps to promote good digestion.

Additionally, avocados promote eye health because they contain lutein and zeaxanthin.

And of course, avocados are great sources of antioxidants and vitamins, as discussed above!

Health benefits of avocados

Avocados are a superfood for a reason, right? They have a lot of health benefits, such as:

Fiber: Fiber helps the body maintain a healthy digestive system, lowers cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar levels, and helps maintain a healthy weight.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means it aids the body’s cells against the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are what’s produced when the human body breaks down food or is exposed to harmful sources, such as the sun or radiation. Free radicals are believed to cause serious problems within the human body – such as heart disease and cancer.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E is also an antioxidant and it aids the body’s vision, reproductive tract, bran, skin and blood.

Vitamin K: Vitamin K helps the body make proteins. These proteins are necessary to build and maintain strong bones and to prevent blood clotting within the body.

Potassium: Potassium helps the body maintain a healthy, normal blood pressure while also maintaining a healthy level of fluid within the cells.

What’s the nutritional value of an avocado?

Avocados obviously vary in size. But one ‘average’ avocado generally contains approximately:

Vitamin K: 26% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)

Fiber: 28% of the RDI

Folate: 20% of the RDI

Vitamin C: 17% of the RDI

Potassium: 14% of the RDI

Vitamin B6: 13% of the RDI

Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI

Do avocados have protein?

Yes, the average avocado contains somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 grams of protein. That’s a solid amount of protein from a fairly small, tasty fruit!

Are avocados healthy?

Yes, avocados are healthy! They have many health benefits which I won’t bore you with again. But they can (and should) be part of any diet whether you’re plant-based or not. Avocados can help aid weight loss, help you maintain a healthy weight, and are relatively low in calories while being high in nutrients. They’re also known to be heart-healthy and protect against potential heart issues.

Are avocados keto?

The keto diet is built on low-carb and high fat foods, which promotes weight loss and aids in controlling blood sugar levels within the body. And avocados are a great source of healthy fats, while being low in carbs. So…

YES, avocados are a keto-friendly food.

What are avocados used for?

Avocados are one of the many versatile fruits out there. They’re used in a huge variety of dishes in a lot of different ways. Most commonly, avocados are known as a guacamole ingredient. They’re also used to make vegan-friendly alternatives to condiments such as mayo or sour cream.

But avocados can be used in virtually any type of dish – from salads to dips to salsas to sandwiches – the list is virtually endless. Avocados can even be enjoyed cooked or raw on their own.

How are avocados grown?

The first thing that’s required for avocados to grow is a warm climate. From there, avocados are generally grown by being grafted onto rootstock. This allows the avocado tree to produce the fruit more quickly. Generally, avocados will produce fruit at around the 13-month mark. It takes another six to 12 months for the avocados to grow and be ready to be harvested.

Harvesting avocados must be done by hand – and with care sot that no damage is done to the tree. As long as the avocado tree remains healthy, it will produce about 200 avocados per season, which is about 40 pounds of avocados, and will continue to produce fruit for 10 to 15 years.

Should avocados be stored in the fridge?

Once ripe, avocados should be kept in the refrigerator. If the avocado isn’t ripe yet, it’s best to leave it out at room temperature until it softens. Refrigerating ripe avocados will help prevent it from going bad.

A ripe avocado will feel soft, yet not mushy, when gently squeezed. If the avocado is hard, that means it hasn’t ripened yet.

How do avocados ripen?

Avocados go through three stages: firm, ripe and overripe. Being able to get avocados from the fields, to the grocery store, then ultimate to the customer, is dependent on picking the avocados at the right time.

Firm avocados are hard not yet ready to eat. Ripe avocados are soft to touch and will be dark green or black. In this stage, the avocado is easy to eat and has a creamy texture. Overripe avocados don’t taste good and are generally brown and mushy. I would recommend throwing avocados away once they reach this stage.

What is avocado sauce?

Avocado sauce is a type of sauce that’s made using – you guessed it – avocados! And while it is typically sold in grocery stores, many people prefer to make it at home, using fresh ingredients. Avocado sauce is typically creamy and often used as a dip or spread.

Avocado sauce recipes vary, but the common ingredients typically are avocado, tomatillo, onion, limes, jalapeños, chili peppers, cilantro, pepper and garlic.

Making homemade avocado sauce is simple – you just blend the ingredients together until smooth. I would, however, recommend chopping larger ingredients such as avocadoes, onions, jalapeños or garlic.

Vegan recipes that use avocados:

Pinto bean tacos recipe: This is an all-around healthy recipe that offers a nice boost of protein and fiber.

Burrito bowls recipe: A homemade burrito bowl recipe that will make you forget about your favorite Mexican restaurant.

Tofu wraps recipe: This flavorful wrap recipe that can be tailored to your taste buds with ease.

Chickpea scramble recipe: This is a high-protein breakfast option that tastes just 20 minutes to whip up.

Blueberry smoothie recipe: This quick, tasty blueberry smoothie packs a powerful nutritious punch and is the perfect breakfast option to start your day with or to have as a snack when you need a boost.

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