Editor's note: Updated 30.11.20
Since avocado hunger has reached feverpitch proportions worldwide - prompting avocado hand injuries, dedicated avocado restaurants, and ultimately avocado shortages - you would have thought we might know all there is to know about the creamy green fruit.
At least, testing avocado ripeness, slicing and cooking are no longer a mystery. But can we actually always name the variety of the avocado which we are mashing onto toast, fanning into an avocado rose or sandwiching around a beef patty in #avocadoburgerbun? Probably not.
Not all avocados were created equal. There are, in fact, three main types of avocado: Mexican, Guatemalan and West Indian, with the avocados most commonly found around the world being Fuerte and Hass.
Fortunately, we came across this handy infographic, below, that pictures an impressive 50 plus of the most well known avocado varieties around the world. including five chef's favourites giving us a window on the world of avocado types.
Take a look and see how many you could recognise in a line-up?
Avocado types: the most commercial
The infographic below gives a better indication of those 15 avocado types more easily found commercially:
Here's a closer look at some of the more common avocado varieties that are likely to end up in our kitchens, along with some lesser-known types with surprising properties:
With a name that might be too good to be true for some, the bacon avocado is Californian in origin with a uniform oval shape and green skin. Medium large in size they are generally available from autumn to spring and have a more delicate taste than some other varieties.
The fuerte avocado takes a characteristic elongated form and is cultivated mainly throughout Mexico and Central America, although its origin is hybrid (half between Mexico and Guatemala). It is one of the most beloved of all avocado varieties, perhaps for the ease in removing the skin from the flesh. Until a few years ago it was the most popular avocado in the United States.
Hass avocado is perhaps one of the most famous avocado types and considered by many to be the best. The flavour is quite intense and the flesh is very creamy, perfect for guacamole.
Until the 1930s, Fuerte was the best-known variety in the USA, until Rudolf Hass, a green fingered postman, planted some avocado seeds for a small plantation. Hass then patented the tree he chose and it was later discovered that it was a variety that came from Guatemala. The dimensions are just slightly smaller. Israel is also a great producer of good quality hass and in recent years extended its production to meet growing demand, especially from Europe.
Photo: Flickr / Olle Svensson
Another widely cultivated avocado in Israel is the Ettinger avocado, a shiny, green avocado with a fine skin. They are medium/large in size and especially very soft, perfect for smoothies and blended recipes. The flesh tends to yellow especially when it is very mature.
This black, plum-sized variety was bred in California. It has a high oil content relative to other types of avocado, which gives it a buttery taste. But what really sets this avocado apart is the fact that you can eat its skin. Its leaves are also edible and are used as flavouring in some Mexican dishes.
Though its name might bring to mind something slender and small, this variety is king when it comes to size. The enormous fruit is round and vivid green and weighs over a pound on average. The heaviest avocado ever, as recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records, was grown in Hawaii and is believed to be a Reed. It tipped the scales at over five and a half pounds and was well over the size of a full-grown person’s head. Reed avocados actually take almost a year to develop on the tree.
Photo: Screen video / Growquest
Types of Avocado
- Daily II
- Chris Kelly
- Cocktail Fuerte
- Collin 33
- Cooper Late Green
- Green Gold
- Infante 2
- Ixtapan - J- 70
- Jan Boyce
- Little Kado
- MIT 13
- San Miquel Purple
- Schattauer 1
- Schattauer 2
- Semil 34