Avocados are green globes of goodness no matter how you look at it. You may prefer Hass avocados with their chubby round shape and pebbly texture or opt for jumbo Caribbean avocados for their low-fat content and slightly fruity flavor. However you like 'em, avocados are versatile in recipes and have good-for-you benefits that make a bowl of guacamole (minus the chips) a nutrient-packed snack that just happens to taste radically rich and totally fabulous. Let's test your avocado I.Q.
Is the avocado a tree, shrub or vine?
The avocado is a tree. Although it's native to Mexico, the avocado is now cultivated around the globe, including South America, North America, Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. That's a lot of guacamole.
The avocado belongs to the myrtle family (Lauraceae). What trees might you recognize that also belong to the Lauraceae family?
The avocado is related to trees that produce bay leaves (bay laurel), allspice berries and cinnamon.
Although often called alligator pears, avocado varieties can take what other shapes?
Although some of the avocado varieties you see in stores look like darkish green pears, avocados can also be round or elliptical in shape.
What name below hasn't been used as an affectionate historical reference to the avocado?
That would be lizard butter.
The Aztec name for the avocado was ahuacatl. What does ahuacatl mean?
The Aztecs believed avocados looked like a grandiose testicles. Avocados often grow in pairs; this no doubt helped with the illusion.
What's a cocktail avocado?
A cocktail avocado is actually a miniature avocado (usually of the fuerte variety) that never developed a pit or seed. Sometimes sold in specialty markets, seedless cocktail avocados look a little like pickling cucumbers but have the distinctive, creamy avocado texture and flavor inside.
About how many vitamins and minerals does the average avocado contain?
The average avocado contains 20 or so important nutrients, including vitamins A, E, K, C, B1, B2 and B6, as well as folate, potassium, phosphorus, lutein, iron and magnesium. Wow!
Is the avocado a fruit, vegetable or berry?
Well, the avocado is grouped into the fruit category, but it's technically a big berry with one large seed.
What popular dish is by far the favorite use for avocados in the United States?
Guacamole! It's creamy, flavorful, and a perfect appetizer for the big game -- whatever that game happens to be.
When did the avocado start cropping up in European markets?
Although other South American favorites like tomatoes and potatoes caught on earlier, commercially grown avocados started cropping up in European markets around 1900.
Which U.S. state is the biggest avocado producer?
California supplies more than 90 percent of commercially grown avocados.
Hass avocados are popular for their creamy texture and luscious flavor. How are Hass avocados grown?
The Hass avocado tree accounts for about 80 percent of California's annual crop. It's a hugely popular variety that's flavorful and has a high-fat content, which makes it super creamy. For the supplier, the Hass is a great producer that travels well to market. To preserve it's unique characteristics, Hass avocados trees are typically propagated through grafting from established stock.
How long does it take an avocado tree to start bearing fruit?
Avocados start producing fruit after about three years.
Which is not a variety of avocado?
That would be crocodillis. The Fuerte avocado has a fall-to-spring flowering season, while the Pinkerton comes on a few months later. Both are flavorful with a buttery texture.
What's the fastest way to remove an avocado's pit or seed?
The correct answer is with a knife, but there's a trick to it. Halve the avocado and then skewer the pit with the knife blade and turn. The twisting action will easily release the pit from the meat.
What's the best way to keep avocados from darkening once they've been opened?
Both methods work. You can put a layer of cellophane in contact with the surface of a bowl of guacamole to keep it from turning color to reduce the amount of air coming into contact with the meat. Using an acidic ingredient helps too. Some folks use both strategies if they want their avocado mixture to remain fresh and green for up to 24 hours.
How should you artificially ripen an avocado?
Place it in a paper bag and put the bag in a warm spot.
How do you slow a ripening avocado?
To slow the ripening process or extend the life of an already ripe avocado, refrigerate it.
How many calories are there in a medium-sized avocado?
There are around 275 calories in a medium-sized avocado (and sometimes slightly more in an oil-rich Hass avocado). Most of the calories come from monounsaturated good-for-you fats that lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood for a heart healthy, filling alternative to eating animal fats.
What's the most reliable way to sprout an avocado seed?
Although you can start an avocado pit in a shallow glass using toothpick supports, a more reliable way is to place the pit in a plastic sandwich bag to which you've added an inch of potting soil (sand or vermiculite), and enough water to keep the soil damp. Place the bag in a sunny window with the bag unsealed but not open. Water when the soil gets dry. After a few weeks, you'll notice roots sprouting.
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