Off to the grocery store soon?
Whether you want something to add to your sandwiches and salads or turn into a healthy dessert, avocados are a great pick!
Avocados belong to a shortlist of fruits with many health benefits and a wide array of uses.
When buying avocados, there is one question to ask: which type should you choose?
Main Types of Avocado
Central and South Americans have been cultivating avocado trees as early as 5,000 BC.
The original varieties include Mexican (Persea Americana drimyfolia), Guatemalan (Persea Americana guatemalensis), and West Indian (Persea Americana).
The Mexican race of avocados originates from the northern regions, where the fruit is grown in commercial orchards and backyards.
Mexicans cultivate avocados using a mix of their most popular local varieties—Pepe and Negro Santos.
Mexican avocados come from cold-hardy trees and are small, thin-skinned fruits with vibrant flavor.
The flesh of the Mexican avocado has a very high oil content, usually about 30%.
Guatemalan avocados come from the northern highlands of Central America and are grown both in California and Florida.
They have thick, woody skins and larger fruits than Mexican avocados but are slightly more prone to cold damage.
Trees of the Guatemalan avocado produce ovoid or pear-shaped fruits, with green pebbled skin that turns dark green to black when ripe.
West Indian avocados are the most tropical, and they are not grown in California.
Instead, they thrive in warmer climates, and producers are restricted to Florida plantations in the United States.
The trees of West Indian avocados produce enormous, round fruits with smooth and glossy skin and low oil content.
Avocados are protandrous species, which means that their flowers have hermaphroditic properties that change from male to female in different phases.
They are classified as either “A-cultivars” or “B-cultivars,” which vary in the timing of shifting between male and female phases.
The most popular varieties that exploded in production during the early years of the 19th century are the Fuerte and Hass varieties.
Fuerte avocados are B-cultivars resulting from a cross between Mexican and Guatemalan avocados.
Known for their extreme resilience to frost, they have been given the name Fuerte, which means strong.
Nowadays, the Hass variety is the most common type of avocado in the market.
It is an A-cultivar avocado that yields year-round harvests that account for 80 to 90 percent of the world’s avocado supply.
All Hass avocado trees are descended from the original mother tree planted by Rudolph Hass in California. This is why it is also called the California avocado.
18 Popular Types of Avocado
Over time, cultivation has paved the way for many avocado varieties from different places around the world.
New cultivars are grown from a combination of genes from the original varieties with at least a thousand cultivars between them.
There are at least 18 popular types of avocado that have unique traits.
Fuerte avocados are a medium-sized and pear shaped variety with leathery green skin that is easy to peel.
Its flesh is creamy and has about 18% oil content.
Hass avocados are also medium-sized but are ovate and have black pebbled skin.
You’ll notice that Hass avocado has a nutty-tasting flesh.
The Winter Mexican avocado is known for its creamy, smooth-textured flesh that easily melts in your mouth.
Dubbed as “nature’s butter,” it has a spreadable consistency, so you can use it like any sandwich spread.
Sometimes called Brogden, Brogdon avocados are pear shaped, and each fruit weighs approximately under one pound.
It shares the rich and nutty flavor of the Hass variety, and its skin turns dark purple when ripe.
The Mexicola Grande avocado is at least 25% larger than its parent, the Mexicola.
It has glossy amber thin skin and flavor-rich nutty flesh.
Its tree can withstand temperatures as cold as 18 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gwen avocados are a plump, oval-shaped fruit with thick and pebbled green skin, somewhat resembling large Hass avocados.
Its green flesh is creamy, nutty, and buttery, and its skin stays dull green even when the fruit is fully ripe.
With vibrant greenish-yellow flesh and pear shaped appearance, Stewart avocados are a Mexican variety very similar to Mexicola avocados.
With about 20% oil content, Stewart avocados have a nutty flavor. Its skin is dark purple when ripe.
Pryor avocado trees are among the most cold-resilient varieties, with tolerances as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pryor avocados are small but are reputed to have the highest oil content and the richest flavor of all Mexican avocados.
Another cold, hardy tree is the Joey avocado.
It has fruits larger than Pryor avocados. Joey avocados are shaped like enormous eggs and have thin purple to black skin.
Although they have the same delicious mild flavor, Bacon avocados are less oily than Hass avocados.
Oval-shaped and smooth skinned, bacon avocados are dark green and have tiny speckles throughout.
Carmen Hass is an avocado variety patented in New Zealand.
Known to have off-season bearing capacities, Carmen Hass trees produce avocados available when most other varieties, such as the normal Hass, are not yet in season.
Carmen Hass avocados are round and shiny, and they taste like the normal Hass.
Sir Prize avocados also resemble Hass B-cultivars. They are obovate and have thin black skin when ripe.
Known as a variety with excellent flavor, Sir Prize avocados have flesh that is buttery, nutty, and sweet.
Pinkerton avocados are pear shaped avocados that are usually green even when already ripe.
It is a small-seeded fruit with high oil content and an exceptional flavor.
Sometimes called Lila or Opal Holland avocados, Opal avocado trees produce medium-sized, green fruits.
Their fruits are slightly larger than Mexican types, and they have a creamy flavor.
Holiday avocados are known for their dwarf trees and distinctively large fruits that are sometimes pear shaped or obovate.
When ripe, holiday avocados are green and have an exceptional flavor.
The Lamb Hass avocado is a cross between the Hass avocado and the Gwen avocado.
It has black skin with some pebbly skin texture. Its tree is very high-yielding and produces good quality fruit.
Lamb Hass avocados replace the Hass avocado whenever it is low in production and quality.
Zutano avocados resemble the Fuerte variety, but it has less flavor.
Its fruits have flesh that has low oil and high water content, causing it to have a more fibrous texture compared to other varieties.
Reed avocados are excellent-flavored fruits that retain their green color even when ripe.
Having a large, round shape, Reed avocados have thick skins and retain a creamy, smooth texture on the inside with its buttery flesh.
Sometimes, their thick skin makes this variety difficult to peel.
What are the best avocados to eat?
Before buying avocados, try to check which varieties are in season and select them when buying from the market.
Avocados are not available in all places and in all seasons.
As such, the best avocados to eat are the right varieties available during the time of purchase.
Like any fruit, avocados have many varieties because planters find ways to make them available all year round and accessible almost everywhere.
Another reason is plantations across the globe are exposed to different climates and weather conditions.
No matter what avocado variety you choose, you will be sure to have a fruit with a long list of health benefits.