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5+ A Day

Avocado

Avocado
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Availability

Varieties of avocado are harvested in New Zealand at different times of the year making them available all year round.  Varieties grown in NZ include Hass, Reed, Fuerte and Carmen.

  • Hass avocados are oval in shape with skin that darkens as it ripens and are available August to May
  • Reed avocados are large and round, their skin stays green when it ripens and they are available February to June
  • Fuerte avocados are pear shaped, with thin matte green skin that stays green when it ripens, they are available July to October
  • Carmen avocados can produce two lots of fruit: one in spring and one in Autumn:
      • The Spring-set Carmen look identical to the Hass variety with the same skin characteristics
      • The Autumn-set Carmen is larger, rounded and has a smoother skin than the Hass fruit – this skin also darkens as it ripens

 

Storage and Handling

Ripen at room temperature then store in the refrigerator. Avoid squeezing avocados as they bruise easily. Choose Hass avocados based on colour – bright green are not ripe, olive green will be ripe in 2-3 days, brown green are firm ripe and purple brown are soft ripe. Handle all produce with care and wash well before eating.

 

History

The avocado originated in Mexico and Central America where it was a staple in the diet of ancient Indian populations.  The Aztecs named the fruit ahuacatl.  The Spanish Conquistadors first came across the fruit in the 16th century and aided its spread to the West Indies where many travellers sampled it.

 

Facts

  • The avocado is eaten as a vegetable but is actually a fruit 
  • It is one of the few fruit to contain fat 
  • The fat is the good kind, monounsaturated, that helps to lower blood cholesterol

 

Growing Facts

  • Avocados grow on evergreen trees up to 12 metres high 
  • The fruit grows to about 10cm and is ripened after it is picked 
  • A single tree can produce up to 400 fruit each year 
  • The trees grow well in areas with cool winters and hot, humid summers 
  • Northland has a great climate for growing avocados

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1/2 avocado - 83.5g

Avg Quantity per serving Avg Quantity per 100g
Energy (kJ/Cal) 893/213 1070/256
Protein (g) 1.7 2.0
Fat, total (g) 22.2 26.6
- saturated (g) 3.1 3.7
- polyunsaturated 2.3 2.8
- monounsaturated 15.3 18.3
Carbohydrate (g) 0.5 0.6
- sugars (g) 0.4 0.5
Dietary Fibre (g) 4.0 4.8
Sodium (mg) 14 17
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.77 0.92
Folate (µg) 68 81
Niacin (mg) 1.7 2.0
Vitamin E (mg) 1.6 1.9
Vitamin C (mg) 6.1 7.3
Potassium (mg) 468 560
Zinc (mg) 0.58 0.7
Iron (mg) 0.67 0.8

Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 8th Edition, Plant & Food Research

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