The Best Avocado Varieties to Try
Avocado lovers are spoiled for choice when it comes to the variety of this delicious and nutritious fruit. In Australia, avocados are produced all year round due to the range of climates and conditions across eight major avocado growing regions. The country’s diverse production landscape has led to the cultivation of numerous avocado varieties, each with its unique characteristics. This article will introduce some of the best avocado varieties to try, with a focus on the Australian market.
I. Hass: The Dominant Variety
Hass is the main avocado variety in Australia, representing 83% of production in 2021/22. This popular cultivar is produced almost all year round across the country’s production regions. Hass avocados are known for their thick, pebbly skin that turns from green to a dark purplish-black when ripe. The fruit has a creamy, buttery texture and a rich, nutty flavour, making it a versatile choice for various dishes, from guacamole to avocado toast.
II. Shepard: The Late Summer and Autumn Star
Shepard avocados, harvested in Queensland through late Summer and Autumn, make up 14% of Australia’s total avocado production. During this time of year, they become the dominant variety on the Australian market. Shepard avocados have smooth, green skin that remains green even when ripe. Their flesh is also buttery and smooth, with a slightly sweeter taste compared to Hass avocados. This variety is ideal for salads, as its firmer texture helps it maintain its shape when sliced or diced.
III. Unique Varieties Worth Exploring
While Hass and Shepard avocados dominate the Australian market, there is a multitude of other varieties worth trying, accounting for the remaining 3% of the country’s avocado production. Some of these unique cultivars include:
Reed: This large, round avocado has a thick, slightly pebbled skin and a rich, creamy texture. Reed avocados are known for their exceptional taste and are often considered a gourmet variety.
Fuerte: With its smooth, green skin and pear-like shape, Fuerte avocados have a creamy texture and a delicate, nutty flavor. This variety is excellent for slicing and adding to sandwiches or salads.
Pinkerton: Pinkerton avocados have a distinctive elongated shape, smooth green skin, and a small seed. The fruit boasts a creamy texture and a mild, nutty flavor.
Gem: A relative of the Hass avocado, Gem avocados have a similar taste and texture but are slightly smaller in size. They are known for their high oil content, making them a delicious and nutritious option.
Australians are the highest consumers, per capita, of avocados in the English-speaking world, a title they have proudly maintained. According to “Facts at a Glance,” a report compiled by Avocados Australia, Australian avocado production is forecast to increase significantly over the next few years, with at least 115,000 tonnes per annum expected to be produced by 2025. This growth reflects the country’s ongoing love affair with avocados and the diverse range of varieties available.
Australia’s avocado market offers an impressive selection of varieties for consumers to enjoy. While the popular Hass and Shepard avocados dominate the market, other unique cultivars like Reed, Fuerte, Pinkerton, and Gem are worth exploring for their distinct flavours and textures. As the Australian avocado industry continues to grow, avocado enthusiasts can look forward to trying even more delicious varieties in the future.