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Avocado Types: What's What With This Green Buttery Fruit

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© Photos courtesy of the California Avocado Commission. www.CaliforniaAvocado.com.

Those who love avocados really love avocados. People have even written odes to this green, stubby fruit. It's rich and buttery; and some would say it has the ability to make everything taste better.

For those of you who are obsessed with this "green butter," we've got good news for you: There's a whole selection of them out there to choose from, boasting unique flavor profiles. They break down into three general types: Mexicana, Guatemalan and West Indian.

MEXICANA
2012-04-25-zutano.pngThese avocados are typically small in size and tend to have a brown-purplish skin when ripe. They're of a high quality and are less expensive than other varieties. The most popular types of Mexican avocados are the Bacon and Zutano, which are available twice a year–in early spring and again in early fall. The Bacon has a skin that only turns slightly brown, is easy to peel and has a light taste. The Zutano is a pear-shaped fruit, with yellow-green skin and a light taste.

GUATEMALAN
2012-04-25-hass.pngThis variety is the most famous in the U.S., producing the well-known Hass avocado. They are typically on the smaller side, with wart-like skin varying in green, black or purple color. Most Californian avocados are Guatemalan varieties and the three most popular are the Hass, the Fuerte and the Reed. They have a high oil content which is what gives them such a rich, buttery flavor.

The Hass is available year round; it's easy to peel and has a rich, nutty taste. Its skin turns from green to purplish-black when ripe. The Fuerte is available eight months out of the year, is medium size and pear-shaped. It has a good flavor, but needs to be completely ripe in order to enjoy. The Reed is only available during the summertime, comes in a medium to large size and has a buttery taste.

WEST INDIAN
Avocados of this variety are large in size, have shiny, green skin and are lighter in overall natural oil content. They contain more water, and though they have a good flavor, they’re not as sweet or nutty tasting as the Guatemalan variety. In Florida, most avocados are either West Indian or a Guatemalan-West Indian hybrids. Of the Florida avocados, Booth, Lula and Taylor are the three most popular varieties and they come into season in the middle of the summer.

With all that said, the Hass reigns supreme above all other avocado varieties, accounting for 80 percent of California's production. And despite their smaller size, they're almost always preferred to the Florida varieties.

What's your favorite avocado? Leave a comment.

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