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~The History Behind the Beloved Hass Avocado Fruit~

PICT4940The most popular avocado in the United States is California Hass -- HASS, which rhymes with PASS is frequently mispronounced and mispelled Haas.  This pear-shaped fruit weighs in at about half a pound and has bumpy, rough, dark greenish-black skin -- interestingly, it was originally known as the alligator pear, which, when you think about it for a moment, is an accurate description.  It is known for its silky, rich, buttery texture and mild, nutlike flavor.  It is the only avocado variety to be grown year-round, representing about 80% of all avocados sold in the world and generates more than $1 billion in revenues in the US each year.  Trust me when I tell you, after a taste test between the Hass and any other smooth-skinned variety (like Florida's leafy-green Fuerte, pictured above), you will agree there is no comparison in flavor or texture.

Hands down, Hass wins -- & the tree, has a bitter-sweet history:

6a0120a8551282970b01901c765f69970bAll Hass avocado trees descended from one single mother tree that was raised by a mail carrier named Rudolf Hass, of LaHabra Heights, CA.  Hass purchased the seedling tree from a grower named A.R. Rideout, who grew and experimented growing and developing several varieties of avocados.  Hass tried unsuccessfully to graft another variety onto it and planned on cutting the tree down, until his children talked him out of it.  Since his kids loved the tree's fruit, and the tree gave a good yield, he named it after himself and, thankfully, made the decision to patent it in 1935.  That same year, Hass entered into a business with a Whittier, CA, nurseryman to grow and promote his avocados. Rudolf Hass died in 1952.

Sadly, he never realizing the global impact his avocados would have on all of us. Sadder yet, Hass's original tree died after a long struggle with root fungus and was cut down in 2002.

Hass avocados ripen best after picking.  A perfectly-ripe Hass avocado will be darkish green.  It will have lost its bright green color and be firm to the touch with an ever-so-slight give when gentle pressure is applied.  If an avocado seems even the slightest bit soft, it is over-ripe. When a knife is run through and around the perimeter of a perfectly ripe avocado, it will literally cut like butter and the two halves will separate cleanly with a gentle twist. If you have no alternative but to purchase under-ripe (hard) avocados:  to speed up the ripening process, place them in a paper bag and set aside, at room temperature, for 1-2 days. Most times, overnight on the countertop will do just fine. To increase the shelf life of ripe avocados, store in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.  

PICT4946"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2021


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