The avocado pear is a pear-shaped or round fruit from a tropical laurel tree originating in South America and found today in Mexico, the West Indies, Florida, Africa, Israel, Spain and France. It is dark green, although the Hass variety is black with a very knobbly skin. Israeli avocados are small and similar to Hass. Also available are Fuerte (smooth and thin-skinned), Pollock (with a shiny skin which seems to be almost part of the flesh), Kenya and Ryan.
The pale green flesh has a buttery consistency and a slight flavour of hazelnuts and surrounds a large stone which comes away easily. If it is properly ripened, halve the avocado, wallop the stone with the blade of the knife, which should become slightly imbedded. Give it a slight twist and the stone should come away without any difficulty. The fruit should yield slightly when held gently in the palm of the hand. Avocados can be ripened easily by keeping at room temperature and storing with a ripe banana or in a paper bag. You should ensure that the plug where the stalk attached the fruit to the tree is intact. If not the fruit will rot from that point.
Avocados are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant, but they also contain mono-unsaturated fat and are generally consumed raw.