Botanically, the avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable — but in the US it’s generally treated as a veggie because it’s not sweet like other fruits.
Avocados are native to the New World, where they’ve been cultivated for thousands of years; today, California produces more than 80% of the US crop, and together with Florida provides the world’s largest commercial output.
Hass avocados are the most popular California variety, representing almost 90% of the state’s production. They’re the main spring and summer crop, prized for their even ripening, buttery texture and rich, nutty flavor. The skin of a Hass avocado is thick and pebbly; it turns from green to purplish-black as the fruit ripens.
Did you know that unlike most fruits, avocados only ripen off the tree? That's a farmers’ dream! Avocados can be “stored” on the tree for up to 7 months, allowing farmers to harvest them according to market conditions.
Why choose organic avocados?
- Choose organic avocados whenever you can to help keep the residues of conventional agricultural pesticides and fertilizers out of your food. Organic produce is grown without toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, using sustainable farming methods that protect the environment and help keep pesticides out of our soil, air, water and food supply. Organic food is the healthiest choice for people and the planet — and we think it tastes better, too!
How to select and store avocados
- Choose unblemished avocados that feel heavy for their size. Avoid specimens that have inconsistent texture (both hard and soft spots), as this indicates ripening problems.
- If your avocados are hard, allow 2-6 days for them to ripen at room temperature. To speed ripening, put them in a paper bag with an apple or a banana. A ripe avocado should give slightly under gentle pressure, and the small woody knob at the stem end should release easily.
- Once ripe, use your avocados immediately or refrigerate them for up to 2 days.
Tips for using avocados
- Avocados are synonymous with guacamole, but they actually offer myriad culinary possibilities. Serve them sliced in salads or on sandwiches, puréed as a base for cold soup, chopped as a salsa for meats, and incorporated into salad dressings.
- To pit an avocado, cut lengthwise (through the stem end) all around the fruit with a sharp knife until the knife touches the stone, then twist the two halves apart. If the pit doesn’t slide out easily, pry it out with the tip of a teaspoon, or push the blade of a knife into the stone, then twist to lift and remove it. Peel the avocado by pulling back the skin from the stem end, or simply scoop out the soft flesh with a spoon.
- Avocado flesh darkens (oxidizes) quickly when exposed to air, so serve them as soon as possible after cutting. To delay discoloration, keep the pit in the unused half of the avocado, or add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice to all cut surfaces. If you mash the avocado, put the pit back into the fruit and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface. If the surface of your avocado or guacamole turns brown, just scrape off the discoloration to reveal the bright green beneath.