Commissioner Adam H. Putnam

Florida Agriculture: 500 Years in the Making

“Fresh2U” Nutrition Program for Kids and Parents


Sixteenth century Spanish explorers found avocados in Central and South America. Today Florida has its own avocados, nicknamed "alligator pears," that are special because they are sweeter, lighter, and moister than standard avocados and contain only 1/2 the fat and 2/3 the calories. In 2000, Florida ranked number two in the nation in the value of avocados produced.

Avocados don’t soften while still on the tree and are still relatively firm when in stores. Plan ahead and buy avocados so they will have several days at room temperature to ripen. If you want to use them immediately, select those that yield to light pressure when pressed gently.

Florida avocados are available from June through March.

Ripe avocados peel easily. Slice in half and remove one side. Use a fork to twist and remove the large pit. Rubbing lemon juice on the avocado’s surface just before serving stops the otherwise rapid discoloring. Ripened at room temperature and then refrigerated, avocados typically last 14 to 28 days.

A third of an avocado has just 120 calories and is loaded with potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, B, and C.

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