There are three types of avocados: West Indian, Mexican and Guatemalan. West Indian avocados are the largest with a smooth green skin. Those are the ones most often sold in the grocery store as “Florida avocados.” Mexican avocados are smaller with purple or black skins, and Guatemalan avocados have rough green-black skins. The Hass avocado is a Guatemalan variety.
The difference in types makes a difference in the creaminess and richness of the flesh. Many people prefer the West Indian avocado for recipes that call for chunks or slices of avocado and the Mexican and Guatemalan avocados for pureed dishes like guacamole.
For those of us who have grown an avocado “tree” by suspending the pit in a container of water, Frederich offers a bit of advice. “The avocado you grow won’t come true from its parents. So, if you’re looking for fruit, that’s not the best way. Avocados are generally grown as grafts, with the preferred variety grafted onto a rootstock,” he said.
That homegrown tree is also not likely to yield much fruit. Avocados have a complicated sex life with two flowering types called “A” and “B.” On “A” trees, flowers will open as female one morning, and close by afternoon. Then the next day, that same flower opens in the afternoon as a male. On “B” trees, the flowers open as female in the afternoon, close and then reopen as males in the morning. Since it takes both male and female flowers open at the same time to achieve pollination, that one little avocado tree doesn’t stand much chance of developing fruit.
Who knows? Given our warmer and warmer winters, maybe a local farmer with experiment with an avocado grove and pick-you-own avocados will be available in the greater Atlanta area soon.
At local farmers markets
4-8 p.m. Thursday, August 1. Chef Seth Freedman of Forage and Flame offers demos throughout the market. East Atlanta Village Farmers Market, Atlanta. www.farmeav.com
9 a.m. Saturday, August 3. Chef Drew Van Leuvan of Seven Lamps, working with pasta. Morningside Farmers Market, Atlanta. www.morningsidemarket.com
10 a.m. Saturday, August 3. Chef Hilary White of The Hil. Peachtree Road Farmers Market, Atlanta. www.peachtreeroadfarmersmarket.com
Vegetables, fruit and nuts: acorn squash, arugula, Asian greens, Asian pears, beets, blackberries, blueberries, cabbage, carrots, celery, chard, collards, corn, cucumbers, dandelion, eggplant, fennel, figs, garlic, green beans, herbs, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, Malabar spinach, melons, mushrooms, Okinawa spinach, okra, onions, pecans, peaches, pears, peppers, potatoes, radishes, sorrel, spaghetti squash, spinach, spring onions, squash blossoms, summer squash, sweet potato greens, tomatoes, turnips
From local reports
Alma Cocina’s Sea Bass Ceviche
Hands on: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Serve the ceviche with tortilla chips if you like. The restaurant garnishes their ceviche with microgreens and serves the ceviche in clear glass cups to show off the colors of the dish.
1/2 pound white sea bass, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup lime juice plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1 cup 1/4-inch diced Roma tomatoes
1/4 cup 1/4-inch diced red onion
2 Serrano peppers, finely diced with seeds
1/4 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
2 Haas avocados
In a small bowl, combine bass with 3/4 cup lime juice. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. The fish will firm up slightly.
While bass is marinating, make pico de gallo by combining in a medium bowl the tomatoes, onion, peppers, cilantro and remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice. Season to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, make avocado mousse by combining avocado flesh and juice of one lime in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Season to taste.
Divide avocado mousse between four serving dishes. Drain fish and discard lime juice. Toss fish and pico de gallo together and divide between martini glasses. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 251 calories (percent of calories from fat, 56), 14 grams protein, 16 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 17 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 23 milligrams cholesterol, 58 milligrams sodium.