Unassuming in appearance on the outside, cut open, avocados reveal a lovely, creamy, yellow-green fruit. With their pear-like shape and greenish, bumpy and leather-like skin, avocados are also known as alligator pears.
In taste, they bear no resemblance to pears, however. It has a non-sweet, rather buttery and slightly nutty taste. Ripe when they yield to gentle pressure, avocados are best eaten when slightly soft. Under or overripe fruit tends to be quite bitter.
Avocados are power-packed with many nutritional benefits. They sometimes suffer from a reputation of being high in fat. But avocados contain mono and unsaturated fats, which are beneficial for the body and also boost levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind of cholesterol). They are also high in fiber, and packed with nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They are also a good source of carotenoid lutein, which studies suggest may help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
How to Eat
Avocados are usually eaten simply sliced or diced, and often find their way into salads. They are also popularly mashed and made into guacamole. Because of their mild taste, they do well when paired with strong or spicy flavors.
Avocados are picked from the tree before they are ripe and quite firm. This makes transport of avocados easier than other, more delicate fruit. Allow them to ripen over a few days. They can also be refrigerated when barely ripe, and they will last for several days this way.