One of the nice things about being in Cabo is the seemingly endless supply of guacamole. It is a favorite of ours and one that tends to be doled out in somewhat stingy and expensive portions in restaurants back home. When made with spicy jalapenos, ripe fruit, sharp lime juice and a judicious amount of salt, guacamole can make many things better. It's like Mexican butter except that I can tell myself that its made with a fruit and eat as much as I please.
Avocados are a shippers favorite type of fruit because they are picked hard by necessity and only soften after harvest. Like pears they must be mature before they are picked if they are to ripen into something delicious. Interestingly the oil content of the fruit increases with maturity, which is why some avocados still taste grassy and watery and soften without developing the smooth, supple texture of a mature avocado. As oil volume increases, water content decreases changing both the texture and the flavor of the developing fruit. Once it has been harvest the avocado will soften but it will no longer mature. The easiest way for growers to measure the maturity of the avocado is by determining the percent of dry matter. The dry weight is determined by weighing the fruit and then removing the water content and reweighing, this second number is considered the dry weight of the fruit. Growers have minimum dry weight standards that must be reached before they can be sold. These are generally measured by standard size and weight requirements which vary based on the variety.
Although there are well over twenty different cultivars, by far the most commonly found avocado in the United States is the Haas. They are popular for their smooth, creamy flesh. They change color from green to black as they ripen, making it easy for home cooks to identify ripe fruit. They are easy to peel with a small to medium-sized seed. They are grown in California, Mexico, Chile, the Dominican Republic, and New Zealand, ensuring that they are available year round in the United States. Although avocados are relatively high in calories with 250 calories per medium sized fruit, they are rich in unsaturated fats and contain many different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients vital to human health. They also help the body absorb fat soluble nutrients.
Frankly the best thing about avocados is that they taste good. I remember the first time I had a really ripe avocado sandwich. It was in the summertime at a cabin with friends. The sandwich was made with homemade white bread and the avocado slices were liberally salted and spiked with lime juice. There was a thick slice of ripe tomato and a touch of mayo to hold everything together. I had been a bit skeptical when my friends came back from shopping with nothing but bread, avocados and tomatoes. I had always though avocados were kind of boring and bland. I was proven wrong. That sandwich was delicious in the way that fresh seasonal produce can be when the stars are all in alignment. After that avocados joined my list of favorite foods and I've never looked back. Admittedly a bad avocado is a sheer waste of calories. A good one...I'll leave that to your imagination.