Fun Facts About Avocados

Fun Facts About Avocados

0ebb6c-Disclosure

Not too long ago, there were a whole lot of agricultural crops grown in Orange County. These days, much of that agricultural land is filled with houses, retail and office space. Fortunately, there are still many acres dedicated to avocados that make their way to local Vons stores and other markets and restaurants throughout the country.

I visited a large grove in Irvine where I got to see the trees, baby avocados that will become next year’s crop and avocados that are ready for picking. The climate here near the ocean is great for producing delicious and nutritious avocados.

Fun Facts About Avocados

Here are some fun facts about avocados:

  • The Haas Avocado began here in Southern California. It’s named after breeder Richard Haas who grew the first tree in La Habra Heights in 1926. Haas rhymes with ‘class’ even though a whole lot of people pronounce it differently.
  • About 90% of US grown avocados come from California and many are grown on family farms. You can check for the California sticker on the fruit when you’re shopping. Yes, avocados are fruit, not vegetables.

Fun Facts About Avocados

  • California Avocados have a long season. They are generally available from Spring until Fall. An avocado can remain on the tree during the season and will finish ripening after it’s picked.
  • An avocado is ripe when it ‘yields to gentle pressure.’ If you want to speed up the ripening, you can put the avocado in a paper bag along with a kiwi or banana.

Fun Facts About Avocados

  • Avocados are nutrient dense. They contain mono and poly-unsaturated fats – the ‘good’ fats! There is no sodium, no cholesterol and no sugar in an avocado. They are also quite delicious, so you can easily add this nutrition to just about any meal.
  • To bake with avocados, you can swap mashed avocado for butter or shortening. It’s an even swap, so it’s easy to make the substitution when you’re following a recipe. This is an easy way to cut calories and reduce saturated fat.

Fun Facts About Avocados

Check out my big list of over 50 avocado recipes. Here are a few of my favorites:

Mango Lime Guacamole
Guacahummus
Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Strawberry Avocado Smoothie

Are you hungry, yet?

Fun Facts About Avocados

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Thank you to Vons and the California Avocado Commission for hosting my fun farm tour in Irvine.

AVOCADOS AS A BUTTER OR FAT SUBSTITUTE

AVOCADOS AS A BUTTER OR FAT SUBSTITUTE

Healthy eating and avocados go hand in hand. Whether it’s calories, fiber, saturated fat or cholesterol, avocados have more of what you want and less of what you don’t want. Naturally cholesterol-free, avocados spreads, toppings and dips are a creamy and nutritious alternative to saturated fat laden recipes. When you compare the numbers, they tell a deliciously satisfying story:

Fresh avocado on sandwiches and toast or substituted as a spread in place of many other popular foods may help reduce dietary intake of calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.

COMPARISON CHARTS

AVOCADO SPREAD, DIP & TOPPING COMPARISONS

Creamy spreads, dips and toppings made from California Avocados add a tasty twist to your meals, and a 50 gram serving of fresh avocados contains 0mg of cholesterol, 0mg of sodium, 0 sugar and 0.5g saturated fat. See the chart for how avocados compare as a substitute on sandwiches, toast and in place of other popular foods.

SPREAD AND DIP NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON FOR FRESH AVOCADOS

  • Substituting fresh healthy avocado in sandwiches, on toast or as a spread in place of many other popular foods may help reduce intake of calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.
  • Want to reduce your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol? Try substituting fresh healthy avocado in sandwiches, on toast or as a spread in place of many other popular foods to reduce intake of saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and calories.
  • Looking for a twist on spreads and dips? One serving of fresh healthy avocado (one-third of a medium avocado) contains no cholesterol, no sodium and 1 g of saturated fat. See the chart below for examples of how fresh avocados are great in sandwiches, on toast or substituted as a spread in place of many other popular foods.
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ROUTE 66: A TASTY TRIP DOWN AMERICA’S MOST ICONIC HIGHWAY

Road trips are synonymous with summer in America, so we’re getting our culinary kicks across Route 66 for our United Plates tour! From the rolling plains across the Midwest to the towering peaks and plateaus of the Southwest to the unique views along the California coast, these regions have one thing in common: flavorful foods that pair perfectly with California Avocados. So roll down the windows, turn up the radio and get ready for a tasty trip along America’s most iconic highway!

ALL-AMERICAN FAVORITES THROUGHOUT THE MIDWEST

Route 66 dips in and out of America’s heartland, through sprawling prairies and vast highlands. Along this route, you’ll find rustic charm and plenty of delightful dishes to dive into. Whether you’re enjoying a hot dog and a baseball game in Illinois, cooling off with frozen custard in Missouri, kicking back and barbecuing in Kansas or indulging in a smoky steakhouse burger in Oklahoma, California Avocados can be easily, and deliciously, incorporated into Midwestern meals.

Illinois 
California Guacamole Dog

Missouri
Avocado Frozen Custard

Kansas
California Pulled Pork Sandwiches


Oklahoma
California Avocado Steakhouse Burger

SAVORY SPICES AND DIVERSE DISHES IN THE SCENIC SOUTHWEST

As Route 66 winds through the deep canyons, rocky deserts and remarkable mountain ranges that make up the Southwest, you’re witnessing history in motion. From prehistoric rock formations to small towns where cowboys once roamed, there’s no shortage of sights to be seen in the Southwest. And there’s also no shortage of foodie favorites! Taste-test traditional Tex-Mex in Texas, turn up the heat with chiles in New Mexico and savor the smooth spices in tortilla soup from Arizona. The ideal companion to each of these culinary creations? California Avocados, of course!

Texas
California Avocado Fajita Bowl

New Mexico
Southwest California Avocado Hash and Eggs with California Avocado Chile Cream Sauce

Arizona
California Avocado Tortilla Soup

FRESH FARE AND FLAVOR FUSION ALONG THE CALIFORNIA COAST

As our Route 66 road trip comes to a close, it’s fitting for us to end in the state where our avocado story began: California! All across the Golden State, you’ll find meals filled with fresh fare, seasonal produce and cutting-edge cuisine. Borrowing from global trends and fusing flavors is a major part of California’s culinary DNA, with chefs in every city adding their own special twists to each creation. Another fundamental part of foodie culture in California? Using local and regional ingredients to create healthy meals, which is what makes California Avocados a key component of California cooking. But as we’ve seen along this Route 66 taste tour and through our United Plates state-by-state exploration, you don’t have to be in California to add our avocados to the mix.

California Avocado Guacamole

Avocado and Melon Breakfast Smoothie

AVOCADOES

AVOCADO

B/W sketch

Persea species

Lauraceae

Common Name: Avocado, Alligator Pear (English); Aguacate, Palta (Spanish)

Origin: The avocado probably originated in southern Mexico but was cultivated from the Rio Grande to central Peru before the arrival of Europeans.

Species: Guatemalan (Persea nubigena var. guatamalensis L. Wms.), Mexican (P. americana var. drymifolia Blake), West Indian (P. americana Mill. var. americana). Hybrid forms exist between all three types.

Related species: Coyo (Persea schiedeana Nees), Anay (Beilschmiedia anay Kosterm)

Adaptation: Avocados do well in the mild-winter areas of California, Florida and Hawaii. Some hardier varieties can be grown in the cooler parts of northern and inland California and along the Gulf Coast. The northern limits in California is approximately Cape Mendocino and Red Bluff. Avocados do best some distance from ocean influence but are not adapted to the desert interior. West Indian varieties thrive in humid, tropical climates and freeze at or near 32° F. Guatemalan types are native to cool, high-altitude tropics and are hardy 30 – 26° F. Mexican types are native to dry subtropical plateaus and thrive in a Mediterranean climate. They are hardy 24 – 19° F. Avocados need some protection from high winds which may break the branches. There are dwarf forms of avocados suitable for growing in containers. Avocados have been grown in California (Santa Barbara) since 1871.

DESCRIPTION

Growth Habit: The avocado is a dense, evergreen tree, shedding many leaves in early spring. It is fast growing and can with age reach 80 feet, although usually less, and generally branches to form a broad tree. Some cultivars are columnar, others selected for nearly prostrate form. One cultivar makes a good espalier. Growth is in frequent flushes during warm weather in southern regions with only one long flush per year in cooler areas. Injury to branches causes a secretion of dulcitol, a white, powdery sugar, at scars. Roots are coarse and greedy and will raise pavement with age. Grafted plants normally produce fruit within one to two years compared to 8 – 20 years for seedlings.

Foliage: Avocado leaves are alternate, glossy, elliptic and dark green with paler veins. They normally remain on the tree for 2 to 3 years. The leaves of West Indian varieties are scentless, while Guatemalan types are rarely anise-scented and have medicinal use. The leaves of Mexican types have a pronounced anise scent when crushed. The leaves are high in oils and slow to compost and may collect in mounds beneath trees.

Flowers: Avocado flowers appear in January – March before the first seasonal growth, in terminal panicles of 200 – 300 small yellow-green blooms. Each panicle will produce only one to three fruits. The flowers are perfect, but are either receptive to pollen in the morning and shed pollen the following afternoon (type A), or are receptive to pollen in the afternoon, and shed pollen the following morning (type B). About 5% of flowers are defective in form and sterile. Production is best with cross-pollination between types A and B. The flowers attract bees and hoverflies and pollination usually good except during cool weather. Off-season blooms may appear during the year and often set fruit. Some cultivars bloom and set fruit in alternate years.

Fruits: West Indian type avocados produce enormous, smooth round, glossy green fruits that are low in oil and weigh up to 2 pounds. Guatemalan types produce medium ovoid or pear-shaped, pebbled green fruits that turn blackish-green when ripe. The fruit of Mexican varieties are small (6 – 10 ounces) with paper-thin skins that turn glossy green or black when ripe. The flesh of avocados is deep green near the skin, becoming yellowish nearer the single large, inedible ovoid seed. The flesh is hard when harvested but softens to a buttery texture. Wind-caused abrasion can scar the skin, forming cracks which extend into the flesh. “Cukes” are seedless, pickle-shaped fruits. Off-season fruit should not be harvested with the main crop, but left on the tree to mature. Seeds may sprout within an avocado when it is over-mature, causing internal molds and breakdown. High in monosaturates, the oil content of avocados is second only to olives among fruits, and sometimes greater. Clinical feeding studies in humans have shown that avocado oil can reduce blood cholesterol.

CULTURE

Location: Avocados will grow in shade and between buildings, but are productive only in full sun. The roots are highly competitive and will choke out nearby plants. The shade under the trees is too dense to garden under, and the constant litter can be annoying. In cooler areas plant the tree where it will receive sun during the winter. Give the tree plenty of room–up to 20 feet. The avocado is not suitable for hedgerow, but two or three trees can be planted in a single large hole to save garden space and enhance pollination. At the beach or in windy inland canyons, provide a windbreak of some sort. Once established the avocado is a fairly tough tree. Indoor trees need low night temperatures to induce bloom. Container plants should be moved outdoors with care. Whitewashing the trunk or branches will prevent sunburn.

Soil: Avocado trees like loose, decomposed granite or sandy loam best. They will not survive in locations with poor drainage. The trees grow well on hillsides and should never be planted in stream beds. They are tolerant of acid or alkaline soil. In containers use a planting mix combined with topsoil. Plastic containers should be avoided. It is also useful to plant the tub with annual flowers to reduce excess soil moisture and temperature. Container plants should be leached often to reduce salts.

Irrigation: Avocado trees may not need irrigation during the winter rainy season, but watch for prolonged mid-winter dry spells. Over irrigation can induce root which is the most common cause of avocado failure. To test to see if irrigation is necessary, dig a hole 9 inches deep and test the soil by squeezing. If it is moist (holds together), do not irrigate; if it crumbles in the hand, it may be watered. Watch soil moisture carefully at the end of the irrigating season. Never enter winter with wet soil. Avocados tolerate some salts, though they will show leaf tip burn and stunting of leaves. Deep irrigation will leach salt accumulation.

Fertilization: Commence feeding of young trees after one year of growth, using a balanced fertilizer, four times yearly. Older trees benefit from feeding with nitrogenous fertilizer applied in late winter and early summer. Yellowed leaves (chlorosis) indicate iron deficiency. This can usually be corrected by a chelated foliar spray of trace elements containing iron. Mature trees often also show a zinc deficiency.

Frost Protection: It is important to choose a cultivar that is hardy in your area. Mexican types are the best choice for colder regions. Plant above a slope for air drainage, or near the house for added protection. In youth, protect with rugs, towels and such spread overhead on a frame. For further protection heat with light bulbs and wrap the trunk with sponge foam. These measures also permit tender cultivars to become established in borderline locations; established trees are much hardier than young ones. The upper branches can also be top worked with hardy Mexican types, which will protect a more tender cultivar on lower branches, as well as serving as a pollinator. Harvest fruit before the frost season begins. Cold-damaged fruit turns black. Avocados are often in bloom at the time of frost and the flowers are killed, but the tree tends to rebloom. This is especially true of Mexican types.

Pruning: Columnar cultivars require pinching at early age to form a rounded tree. Others need no training. Current orchard practice avoids staking. The best results are obtained by fencing the tree with plastic mesh for the first two to three years. Container and dwarf trees will need constant staking. The skirts of avocado trees are sometimes trimmed to discourage rodents, otherwise the trees are usually never pruned. Branches exposed to sun by defoliation are extraordinarily susceptible to sunburn and will surely die. Such branches should always be whitewashed. It is better to avoid any pruning. Most cultivars are ill-adapted to espalier. They are too vigorous. Avocado fruit is self-thinning.

Propagation: Desired clonal rootstocks can be be propagated by a method known as the etiolation technique. The largest seed are planted in gallon cans and the seedlings are then grafted to a root rot tolerant clonal scion. When the stem of the graft reaches about 1/4 inch in diameter, the top is cut off leaving a whorl of buds just above the graft. A 4 inch band of black tar paper is formed into an extension of the can and filled with vermiculite and placed in a dark box with high temperature and humidity. When growth is some 3 – 4 inches above the vermiculite, the plant is removed into the light where the upper portion quickly assumes a green color. The tar paper collar is removed, the shoot is severed from the seed and then placed in flats where the cuttings are rooted in the conventional manner. Any seed may also be used for rootstock, but Mexican types make the strongest growth and are the most often used. Plant cleaned seeds as soon as they are ripe. The seedling plants are ready to bud the following year. Budding is done in January, when suitable buds are available. Larger stocks are worked by bark grafts in the spring. Scions are collected Dec – Jan after the buds are well-formed. Paint and cover the graft with a moistened plastic bag and place a vented paper bag over the whole.

Pests and diseases: Rats and squirrels will strip the fruit. Protect with tin trunk wraps. Leaf-rolling caterpillars (Tortrix and Amorbia) may destroy branch terminals. Avocado Brown Mite can be controlled by powdered sulfur. Six-spotted Mite is very harmful; even a small population can cause massive leaf shedding. A miticide may be required if natural predators are absent. Snails can be a problem in California.

Two fungi and one virus cause more damage than any pests. Dothiorella (Botryosphaeria ribis) canker infects the trunk, causing dead patches that spreads to maturing fruit, causing darkened, rancid smelling spots in the flesh. Flesh injury begins after harvest and is impossible to detect on outside. Mexican types are immune to trunk cankers but the fruit is not. The disease is rampant near the coast and has no economical control. Root Rot (Phytophthora cinnamomi) is a soil-borne fungus that infects many plants, including avocados. It is a major disease problem in California. Select disease-free, certified plants and avoid planting where avocados once grew or where soil drainage is poor. The disease is easily transported by equipment, tools and shoes from infected soils. Once a tree is infected (signs include yellowing and dropping leaves), there is little that can be done other than cut back on water. Sun Blotch is a viral disease that causes yellowed streaking of young stems, mottling and crinkling of new leaves and occasional deformation of the fruit. It also causes rectangular cracking and checking of the trunk, as if sunburned. It has no insect vector but is spread by use of infected scions, contaminated tools and roots grafted with adjacent trees. It is important to use virus-free propagating wood.

Harvest: The time of harvest depends upon the variety. Commercial standards requires fruit to reach 8% oil content before harvesting. Mexican types ripen in 6 – 8 months from bloom while Guatemalan types usually take 12 – 18 months. Fruits may continue enlarging on the tree even after maturity. Purple cultivars should be permitted to color fully before harvest. Guatemalan types can be stored firm, at 40 – 50° F. for up to six weeks. Mexican types discolor quickly and require immediate consumption.

Miscellaneous: Leaf and seed extracts have been used for a variety of medical application, including treatment of diarrhea and dysentery and as an antibiotic.

CULTIVARS

Anaheim
Origin Otto Keup, Anaheim, 1910. Guatemalan. Tree columnar, productive. Fruit very large, to 24 oz., elongated glossy green, seed small, oil 15%. Tenderest of cvs. for coast only. To 32° F. Season July.
Bacon
Origin James Bacon, Buena Park, 1954. Hybrid. Tree broad, productive. Fruit small to medium, to 12 oz., round-ovoid, smooth green. Flesh only fair, almost colorless,seed cavity molds rapidly. Hardy for Bay Area, Central Valley. To 25° F. Season December.
Creamhart
Origin Orton Englehart, Escondido,1969. Hybrid. Seedling of Reed. Tree open, upright, branching. Fruit medium, to 14 oz., skin green flesh extraordinarily pale,buttery, nearly fiberless. Not alternate bearing. To 30° F. Season April – July.
Duke
Origin Bangor (Oroville), 1912. Tree vigorous, open, resists wind. Fruit small, 12 oz., elongated pyriform, waxy green, skin paper-thin. Flesh excellent, oil 21%. Seeds commonly used for rootstocks, resist root rot. Extraordinarily hardy, recovers quickly from freeze, to 22° F. Season October
Fuerte
Origin Atlixco, Mexico, intro. Carl Schmidt, 1911. Hybrid. Tree open, spreading, tall. Fruit large to very large, 16 oz., elongated pyriform, skin dark green with numerous small raised pale spots, waxy bloom, skin thin. Flesh good, oil 18%, seed medium. Formerly standard cv. of California industry. Tends to bear in alternate years, unproductive near coast or in north. To 26° F. Season December.
Ganter
Origin Albert Rideout, Whittier, 1905. Mexican. Tree tall, spreading, open. Fruit small, to 8 oz., long pyriform, skin paper-thin, pale waxy green. Flesh good, oil 18%. Oldest avocado cv. in California. Quite hardy, for Central Valley floor and far north. To 23° F. Season October.
Gwen
Origin Riverside, Robert Whitsell, 1982, patented. Seedling of Hass. Tree dwarf, to 14 ft., low vigor. Fruit small, to 8 oz., a Hass look alike, elongated green, flesh good. Most productive of dwarf avocados, best dwarf for outdoor use, also for containers, greenhouse. Not hardy, to 30° F. Season February – October.
Hass
Origin Rudolph Hass, La Habra Heights, 1926. Seedling of Lyon. Guatemalan. Tree rather open, not tall. Fruit medium, to 12 oz., pyriform, skin thick, pebbled, coppery purple. Flesh good, oil 19%, seed fairly small. Currently the standard of the industry. To 26° F. Season July.
Jim
Origin John Reinecke, San Diego, 1939. Hybrid. Tree upright. Fruit small to medium, to 10 oz., olive green, with long neck, oil 12%. To 26° F. Season June.
Lula
Origin George Cellon, Miami, 1919. West Indian. Tree dense, broad, prolific. Fruit round, slightly pyriform, to 20 oz., slightly rough glossy green, oil 12%. Only West Indian type recommended for California, rather hardy, to 28° F. Season April.
Lyon
Origin R. Lyon, Hollywood, 1908. Central American. Tree columnar, slow growing, difficult to propagate, often scion incompatible. Fruit commonly over 24 oz., dark glossy green, rough, pyriform, oil 21%. High quality. Tender, to 30° F. Season April.
Mexicola
Origin Coolidge, Pasadena, 1910. Mexican. Tree tall and spreading, vigorous. Fruit small, 5 oz., round pyriform, skin paper-thin, purplish black, waxy bloom. Flesh highest quality, seed very large. Hardiest cv. known, seedlings useful as rootstocks in far north. Recovers rapidly from freeze. Defoliated at 20° F, trunk killed at 17° F. Season September.
Mexicola Grande
Seedling selection of Mexicola. Mexican. Tree tall and spreading similar to Mexicola. Fruit 15% – 25% larger than Mexicola and somewhat rounder in shape with better seed/flesh ratio. Skin paper-thin, purple-black. High quality flesh with high oil content. Hardy to about 18° F.
Murrieta Green
Origin Colima, Mexico, intro. by Juan Murrieta, 1910. Hybrid. Tree slow growing, easily trained. Fruit large, to 18 oz., oblate, green, resembling Fuerte. Flesh exceptional, oil 18%. Only cv. readily adaptable to espalier. For coast and intermediate. To 27° F. Season September.
Nabal
Origin Antigua, Guatemala, intro. by F.W. Popenoe, 1917. Tree dense, columnar. Fruit handsome, large pyriform, to 17 oz., green, skin resembles Fuerte. Flesh exceptionally high quality, oil 16%. Young trees require pinching to force low branching. Tends to bear alternate years. To 27° F. Season July.
Pinkerton
Origin John D. Pinkerton, Saticoy, 1972, patented. Guatemalan. Tree dense, productive. Fruit variable in size, 7 to 12 oz., skin thick, pebbled, green. To 30° F. Season November.
Queen
Origin Antigua, Guatemala, intro. by E.E. Knight, 1914. Guatemalan. Tree broad. Fruit exceptionally large, to 24 oz., elongated, purple, flesh excellent, oil 13%. Fairly hardy for large cv., worth trying in Bay Area. To 26° F. Season August.
Puebla
Origin Atlixco, Mexico, intro. by Carl Schmidt, 1911. Mexican. Tree broad, high branching. Fruit beautiful, medium to large, to 18 oz., ovoid, skin thin, lacquered maroon purple. Flesh excellent, oil 20%. Least hardy Mexican type, to 29° F. Season December.
Reed
Origin James S. Reed, Carlsbad, 1948. Hybrid. Tree columnar. Fruit large, to 15 oz., round, skin thick, pebbled, green. Flesh good. To 30° F. Season August.
Rincon
Origin Carlsbad, Sam Thompson, 1944. Hybrid. Tree small. Fruit small to medium, 10 oz., green, resembling Fuerte. Flesh good. For coast, Santa Barbara and Ventura. To 27° F. Season January.
Ryan
Origin Albert Rideout, Whittier, 1927. Hybrid. Tree low, spreading. Fruit medium, to 14 oz., elongated, otherwise resembles Hass, skin thick, pebbled, purple. Flesh good, oil 25%. For Inland Empire, Bay Area. To 26° F Season August.
Spinks
Origin E. Bradbury, Bradbury, 1911. Hybrid. Tree spreading. Fruit medium, to 15 oz., round with small neck, tangelo shaped. Lacquered, coppery purple, outstanding flavor, oil 16%. To 27° F. Season April.
Topa Topa
Origin E.S. Thatcher, Ojai, 1912. Mexican. Tree columnar, vigorous. Fruit handsome, elongated pyriform, small to medium, 8 oz., smooth dark purple with white waxy bloom. Skin paper-thin. Flesh rather poor, oil 15%, seed elongated. Seedlings commonly used for rootstocks. Hardy, for far north. To 23° F.
Whitsell
Origin Robert Whitsell, Riverside,1982, patented. Hybrid. Hass seedling. Tree dwarf, to 12 feet, low vigor. Fruit small, 6 oz., elongated Hass look alike. Flesh good. Bears in alternate years. For containers and greenhouse only, not hardy. To 30° F. February to October.
Wurtz (syn. Littlecado)
Origin Roy Wurtz, Encinitas, 1935. Hybrid. Tree prostrate, difficult to train, low vigor. Fruit dark green, medium, to 10 oz. For containers and greenhouse. To 26° F. Season July.
Zutano
Origin R.L. Ruitt, Fallbrook, 1926. Hybrid. Tree columnar. Fruit small to medium, to 10 oz. elongated smooth green, resembles Fuerte but inferior, has fibers. Hardy for Bay Area, Central Valley. To 25° F. Season November.

How Long Does It Take an Avocado Pit Plant to Grow?

How Long Does It Take an Avocado Pit Plant to Grow?

Avocado seeds are easy to sprout, but the plants take a long time to mature.

Members of the Persea genus, avocado plants grown indoors from seed often have to be discarded after two or three years because they outgrow their space. If you grow them indoors from seed, they may take more than 20 years to bear avocados or they may not bear fruit at all. Avocado trees that grow outdoors from seed typically yield fruit in seven to 15 years.

Time Needed to Sprout

Whether you germinate an avocado seed in water or soil, it will typically sprout within two to three months. To sprout a seed in water, wash it and insert several toothpicks around the sides. Place the seed in a glass of water, resting on the toothpicks with the bottom quarter of the seed covered with water and the pointed end facing up. As the seed sprouts, roots will first appear on the bottom; a stem will later emerge from the top. Remove the toothpicks when the roots are 2 to 3 inches long. Fill a 6- to 8-inch pot with a commercial potting mix and put the seed in the center of the pot with the top of the seed level with the potting mix. To grow a seed in soil, cut about 1/4 inch from the tip and place it in potting soil with the cut end just above the soil. Moisten the soil and keep it moist.

Time Before Transplanting

Maintain the water level in the glass as it evaporates, but do not change the water. The pit may grow more than one stem; leave these alone. To induce a bushy, leafy plant, prune it to 3 inches high when it reaches 6 inches. Within three weeks after pruning, remove the toothpicks and plant the seeds in light, sandy soil in a large clay pot. When you transplant a seedling to a pot, leave the top of the seed exposed for new stems to grow.

Cultivating Indoors

Avocados will grow indoors with a minimum temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Give the plant frequent light watering to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. If the leaves turn yellow, let the soil dry out for a few days. Keep the plant in good light and near a window in the winter. Since avocados are tropical plants, misting them in the winter will help maintain the humidity they like. An accumulation of salt in the soil will cause the leaves to turn brown and curl at the tips. To remove the salt, leach the soil by running water into the pot for several minutes. Pruning and pinching can help control the size of indoor avocado trees with branches that spread up to 6 feet wide.

Outdoor Growing Climate

The growing climate of the three major avocado species vary. If you plan to transplant your sprouted seed outdoors, choose a species that matches your climate. Guatemalan avocados such as the small, pebble-skinned Hass avocado (Persea nubigena var. guatamalensis “Hass”) will grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9b through 11. Mexican avocados including the large, dark-skinned Fuerte (Persea américana var. drymifolia “Fuerte”) will grow in USDA zones 9a through 11. Less frequently grown West Indian avocados, such as the large, glossy Lula (Persea américana var. américana “Lula”) will grow in USDA 10b through 11. A tree grown from seed tends to taste differently than the fruit of its parent seed. Hass avocados and other favorite varieties grown in nurseries are grafted onto root stock to preserve their characteristics.

COMPARTES WHITE CHOCOLATE AND CALIFORNIA AVOCADO BARS

When Compartes (Los Angeles) reached out to us to tell us they were interested in producing a white chocolate bar made with local California Avocados, we knew we had to seize the opportunity.

“At Compartés, we are passionate about creating beautiful, luxury chocolate that explores unexpected flavors. I’m a native Angeleno, so I love celebrating the fresh produce we’re so lucky to have in California whenever we can. Naturally, our next creation just had to include California Avocados. The blend of creamy avocados and Compartes signature white chocolate is an unbeatable and super unique combination!” – Compartes owner, and head chocolatier Jonathan Grahm

Their old-fashioned chocolate factory, established in 1950, showcases the craft chocolate creations of Jonathan Grahm, a third-generation chocolatier who oversees the ideation, production and quality of more than 200 different and often unexpected flavors – like their newest flavor: White Chocolate and California Avocado Bars.
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The white chocolate bars are made with in-season, locally grown California Avocados and a signature blend of white chocolate that is roasted and selected to the specifications of Jonathan himself. The bars are a one-of-a-kind offering and supplies are very limited.

I was invited by Compartes to come out to their store in Brentwood, California to watch as they cooked up their avocado chocolate bars.

MAKING AVOCADO CHOCOLATE BARS

Here’s a look behind the scenes at how they produce their chocolate bars, one small batch at a time.

First they start with melting down their unique blend of white chocolate.

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While that is coming to temperature, they cut, scoop and mash California Avocados to a fine consistency. Some small chunks are actually desired because they are visible in the final product!

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Afterwards, the avocado is added directly into the melted white chocolate and stirred to ensure consistent distribution. I was told by Jonathan that this ensures maximum flavor infusion and is a unique process – he noted that large-scale chocolate makers are unable to add ingredients directly to the chocolate because of their production processes but it is possible with Compartes’ ultra-small batch production.
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Afterwards, the mixture is ladled into custom molds and spread as evenly as possible.

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The molds are placed in a refrigerator where the chocolate is left to cool and set. From there they are tapped out onto baking sheets and staged for packaging.
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You’ll know a piece of Compartes chocolate when you see one because of their iconic triangle pieces, the perfect-sized bite of chocolate.

All packaging (like their entire process) is done by hand right in their store. The unique artwork for the bars also was designed in-store also, and consists of each team member’s own hand-drawn version of an avocado, laid out in a fun pattern that is unmistakably California Avocado.
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These limited-time bars are available now both in-store at their Brentwood location as well as onlineGet them while you can!

What’s So Healthy About Avocado Oil?

It doesn’t take much digging to figure out that most of the oils we eat in this country are fantastically poor choices. There’s the heavy processing to consider as well as theGMO sourcing, the rancidity, and dramatic omega fatty acid imbalance to name a few unsavory points. Sure, we make different choices in our own kitchens, but sometimes we find ourselves wishing we could recreate a certain taste in a Primal version of an old favorite recipe or just find a better flavor in one of our new favorite Primal meals. As a result, even the most Primally devout among us are on the lookout for the healthiest choices with the right practical adaptability. (And, oh yeah, good taste…) In the interest of relishing our food while respecting our bodies, we hunt down lesser appreciated alternatives. Plus, there’s just something fun about undermining the status quo to support worthy culinary underdogs. One of the great “finds” of my Primal journey has undoubtedly been avocado oil – a little recognized healthy fat with big versatility.

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Health Benefits

Aside from the chip and guacamole spread, avocado just doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Consider the fact that an avocado is over 75% fat. For a plant, this is a small and glorious miracle. What this fruit lacks in sweetness, it overachieves in satiety. But let’s look at the fat breakdown.

From an omega standpoint, avocado oil gives you a nutritional profile similar to olive oil. Nearly 70% of avocado oil is oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. Aside from the significant monounsaturated content, avocado oil is about 16% saturated fatty acids and 14% polyunsaturated. The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is about 13:1. While it’s not an outstanding ratio, the PUFA content itself is small enough (14%) that we’re only talking about a small portion of the total oil. In the grand scheme, it’s as solid as olive oil, with arguably a better taste profile. To boot, the other benefits of avocado oil definitely compensate.

The fats aren’t only healthy in and of themselves but make other nutrients, particularly carotenoids, in the avocado much more bioavailable. Research has shown that avocado or avocado oil increased the absorption of carotenoids in a meal anywhere from 2.6 times to 15.3 times depending on carotenoid.

Speaking of micronutrients, an avocado itself has an impressive nutritional breakdown. A mere half of your average Hass avocado offers goodies such as 345 mg of potassium (that’s more than a banana), 185 ?g of lutein/zeaxanthin per one-half fruit, 19.5 mg magnesium, 60 ?g folate, 10 mg choline, 19 mg of glutathione, and 57 mg phytosterols including the potent lipid influencer beta-sitosterol.

With their high levels of multiple antioxidants (e.g. polyphenols, proanthocyanidins, tocopherols, and carotenoids), avocados deserve accolades far beyond their usual attention, and research shows that avocado oil confer their nutritional health benefits. Several studies conclude that avocado consumption (again, which is mostly fat/oil) can support everything from good cardiovascular function to healthy aging, better eye health (likely because of enhanced lutein/carotenoid absorption) to easier weight loss (due to satiety), healthier lipid profiles (by lowering LDL and triglycerides) to lower risk for certain cancers (a potential result of glutathione and carotenoid benefits). Avocado oil has also shown benefit for the control of metabolic disorder and liver function.

And free radicals – they meet their match apparently when up against avocado oil. While antioxidants from plenty of other fruits and vegetables are known to neutralize free radicals, research suggests avocado oil’s power might have an extra potent benefit in (unlike most other antioxidant sources) being able to enter mitochondria, our seats of energy production and key factors in aging trajectory.

And while we’re on the subject of aging, avocado oil’s polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols, have been shown to reduce skin damage and inflammation that result from ultraviolet light exposure. These unique lipid molecules in addition to avocado oil’s effect on carotenoid absorption mean potent protection for the skin cell integrity and overall skin health.

Adaptability and Taste

Avocado oil is pressed from the pulp of the fruit rather than the seed. Because of its particular fat ratios, extra virgin avocado oil has a high smoke point of 400°F (204°C). This makes it extremely adaptable in the kitchen for anything from sautéing to stir-fry, baking to salads.

Unlike the sometimes bitter taste and pungent scent of olive oil, avocado oil has a mild smell, a creamy texture and rich, lingering taste that’s both naturally buttery and slightly nutty. (To my nose, the oil smells like a soft, ripe avocado with maybe a very faint hint of artichoke.) It’s become my favorite oil for fish, grilled vegetables and a lot of salad recipes.

Because of the higher smoke point, you can use avocado oil in cooking marinades as well as finishing sauces. I know people who avoid all dairy and use this oil in lieu of butter (or even ghee) for most of their cooking. Oh, and I’ve also heard the mild, neutral taste and high monounsaturated profile make it the perfect oil for Paleo mayo… (wink).

And while I don’t do much baking, I’ve heard from many who have come to appreciate avocado oil in recipes, particularly when they’re not looking for the strong aroma that unrefined coconut oil inevitably adds.

The only “con” you could say is the relative rarity of avocado oil. While you may not find it in every mainstream grocery store in the Crisco aisle, many if not most co-ops as well as specialty or higher-end grocers carry it. There are also many online markets that offer avocado oil at a reasonable price – and (of course) Primal Kitchen™ Mayo from my favorite, Thrive Market.

Have you used avocado oil? What Primal recipes have you found it a good complement for? Share your thoughts and cooking ideas in the comment board, and thanks for reading today, everyone. Have a great week.

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