Hass avocados have a pebbly skin that ripens from green to deep purple or nearly black, and they can vary in size from 5 to 12 ounces. Although the skin is thick, it is relatively easy to peel. The flesh closest to the skin is pale green, and as it nears the medium-sized central stone it develops a yellow undertone. The flesh is soft, creamy, and barely fibrous, with good oil content. The flavor is rich and nutty with a slightly sweet finish.
Hass avocados are available year-round.
Avocados are members of the Lauraceae, or Laurel, family. They are scientifically named Persea americana Mill., and are botanically classified as a berry. The Hass avocado has become the standard avocado for commercial production worldwide thanks to its long growing seasons, prolific production, and higher shipping tolerance and shelf life due to its thick skin. Hass avocados make up for approximately eighty percent of the avocados consumed across the globe.
Avocados contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and folic acid. They are rich in dietary fiber, and are known for being a good source of monounsaturated fat, second only to olives among fruits in oil content. Avocados have earned the nickname “nutrient-boosters” because they can enable the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients of other foods served in combination with the avocado.
Avocados are most often used raw, as the tannins in the fruit can result in a bitter flavor after prolonged cooking or exposure to direct heat. Avoid broiling, and add avocado toward the end of cooked applications. Avocados can be mashed, cubed, sliced, pureed, or halved and stuffed. Add avocado slices to sandwiches or salads, or mash with lime juice, onion, tomato, cilantro, salt, and other spices to make guacamole. The high fat content of avocados pairs well with acidic fruit and vegetables, like tomatoes. To prepare the avocado for use, cut in half lengthwise around the central stone, twist the two halves in opposite directions to separate, then remove the pit with a spoon and peel away skin. Store avocados at room temperature until fully mature. Whole, ripe avocados will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator, while cut avocados will keep for a day or two. Avocado flesh darkens when exposed to air, so to prevent discoloration sprinkle cut avocados with lemon juice or vinegar and cover in plastic wrap before refrigerating.