Avocado Capital of the World

Hass Avocado

San Diego County produces 60% of California’s avocados and I’m lucky enough to live in the avocado capital of the world.  Really.  During harvest season, (March-May), you can actually drive down the road plucking avocados from the trees without even leaving the car – they’re that plentiful.  And cheap.  (No, I don’t get all of my avocados from the side of the road, I buy them just like everyone else.  Except here, they’re rarely more than $1-$1.50 each.)

Every April for the past 25 years, the town hold its’ annual Avocado Festival.  Inevitably, the requisite avocado recipes are trotted out: gelato (tastes like bland pudding), ice cream (tastes like a mix of green tea and vanilla), fudge (tastes like milk chocolate fudge) and more.  But I’m always a little disappointed because I feel like the full range and flavor of the avocado is not truly displayed.

But I wasn’t always a fan of the avocado.

Avocados are practically the national fruit of southern California and when I first moved here over a decade ago, I wouldn’t go near them.  Up until then my experience with avocados was limited to brown, mushy guacamole.  Plus, I’m a total texture eater and frankly, the silky mushiness of ripe avocados freaked me out.  But after a friend of mine, (who was born and raised in San Diego,) made omelettes one morning and topped them with sliced avocados I began to see what all the fuss was about.  Eating a fresh avocado was a totally different experience and I slowly became a convert.

I began adding them to salads, making fresh guacamole, putting them on tacos (Baja-style are the best!) and just eating them as a snack,  (Madison begs me to pack them in her lunch.)  And avocados have numerous health benefits.

According to, “The World Encyclopedia of Cooking Ingredients”:

There are four main varieties: Hass, the purple-black knobbly avocado, which is considerd by many to have the superior flavor, Ettinger and Fuerte, which are pear-shaped and have smooth green skins and the Nabal, which is rounder in shape.

A perfectly ripe avocado should be firm, but give slightly if squeezed gently.  However, I’ve also sliced open many an avocado that – judging from the almost moldy skin – should have been rotten, only to find a perfectly colored and creamy interior.

I was going to link to a video, “How to Cut and Avocado”, because for most people that can be the most confusing part.  But after watching several of them make it more complicated than it had to be I ditched the idea.  You don’t need a kitchen towel, and for God’s sake – you should never hack at anything that you’re holding in your hand.  All you need is a sharp knife and a cutting board.  Cut the avocado lengthwise and twist the halves in opposite directions to separate them.  Then using the pointy end of the knife stab the pit, squeeze the avocado and the pit should pop out.  Scoop out the meat with a spoon if you’re making guacamole, or cut it lengthwise (but don’t pierce the skin) for slices.  Then flip the avocado inside out and the slices should fall out.

And now, after all of this talk of avocados, I feel a recipe is in order.

Mom’s Guacamole

3 ripe avocados, mashed
1 medium white onion, diced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix the ingredients together and serve.

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3 comments on “Avocado Capital of the World

  1. Susan Weisberger
    June 21, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    I love my guacamole recipe and so do all my friends and family.. Yumm, I am coming over the 4th of July do you have any left? I feel I can put them to good use….

  2. Christa
    June 21, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    I love avocados. Too much probably. On a turkey sandwich with mayo, with eggs, anything mexican, diced with cream cheese and covered in salsa. Chipotle has the best commercial guac. They get it that its about the avocados and not the tomatoes. I can’t stand guac that is really just tomato salsa with some pureed avocado. Lame. I will try your recipe next time I make it.

  3. Cathy
    June 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    Avocado Festival?? Ah! I’ve been living up in Los Angeles for the past five years and I’ve never been! Next year, I’m definitely making it to that festival 🙂

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