The two most widely found varieties of avocado are the rough-skinned, almost black in color, Hass (my favorite) and the smooth, thin-skinned green in color the Fuerte avocado.
This fruit (not vegetable) is actually a member of the berry family.
The Hass avocado has a much creamier texture that other avocado varieties, and a taste that has become popular worldwide.
Haas vs. Hass
The correct spelling is H-A-S-S, and it rhymes with “class.” For years I thought it was spelled and pronounced “Haas.” I still see it spelled as Haas sometimes and always find myself second guessing my spelling and pronunciation. I keep having to remind myself that it’s Hass, rhyming with class.
Now let me introduce you to Mr. Rudolph Hass. The Hass avocado was named after California Postman Rudolph Hass. He planted the first seedling from grafted/reseeded/cross-pollinated seeds from other types.
It was a slow process, but once Mr. Hass introduced fellow postal workers to his beloved fruit, they fell in love and its popularity continued to grow. He patented the Hass avocado in 1935 but died in 1952 before he could realize how important that original seedling was to the global avocado industry.
And what’s so good about them? Regular consumption of avocados helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. They’re great for vision, too, and may even help prevent macular degeneration. The high vitamin K content may lower osteoporosis and breast cancer risks. Apparently vitamin K is the perfect addition to our diets to boost metabolism of calcium. Lots of other cancers like colon, stomach, and pancreatic may have less of a chance because of all the nutritional value found in avocados. The high folate level in this fruit makes for healthy pregnancies and babies, and may even lower depression.
How to Choose a Ripe Avocado
Avocados are picked in their nonripened state so they can be transported nationwide. The trick is to find a ripened one at the market. A hard avocado is tasteless and not worth trying to cut into.
If you look at the picture above, the avocado at the bottom of the bowl, the darkest one, is the ripest in the bunch. The bright green one right above it, at the top of the bowl, is not ripe. It’s going to be a few days before that one can be eaten. The avocados on the sides of the bowl are at different stages of ripeness. Once I get them to the just ripe stage, I put them in the fridge to preserve them for use within the week. It seems that once they ripe, they go bad really quickly. You’ll know when you cut into them…brown spots mean they have spoiled.
So how do you choose a ripe one. Here are a few steps to help you along.
Apply just a little bit of pressure to the skin. Press gently on the skin. The flesh beneath the perfectly ripe avocado should give just a little bit and leave a slight indentation on the skin. If it feels hard, it needs to sit on your counter for another 2-3 days. If it feels really soft or mushy, pass on it…that avocado has reached its date of expiration.
Look at the color. If it’s a Hass (the most common variety), the skin should be a deep very dark, almost black, color.
Peek under the stem. Remove the little woody stem from the small end. The color under the stem should be a creamy yellow. If it’s brown, take a pass as it is too old for you to buy.
How to soften a rock-hard avocado
- Leave it on your counter for a couple of days.
- Place it in a small paper sack. Fold the bag closed a couple of times, and leave on the counter. It should ripen in a day or so. If you have a banana or apple in the house, put it in the bag with the avocado. The gas from the ripening banana and apple speeds up the ripening of the avocado.
- You can also use a low-temperature oven to really speed up ripening. Preheat oven to 200F. Wrap the hard avocado in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the foil from the softened avocado. Place avocado in the fridge until cool.
Watch this to see all of my suggestions in action. Helpful Hacks