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Although known as a fruit, the Avocado is more often than not, used primarily as a vegetable whilst possessing fat levels so substantial that it could easily pass as a meat substitute in sandwiches and other dishes. A distinctive and sought after Tropical Fruit native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of Central and South America the Avocado, has a skin that is akin to a banana, but with an oily content and nuttiest of flavors reminiscent with that of an olive. The preferred choice is the Hass Avocado and is generally considered the superior choice for Recipes. Other varieties include: Shepard, Fuerte, Sharwil, Pinkerton, Reed and Wurtz. Here in Australia, the popular Hass Avocado is grown most prolifically in the state of Queensland and Northern NSW with harvest levels recording 60 and 30 percent respectively. The rest of the Avocado crop grown in Australia hails from Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia where planting levels are more recent however Avocado tree numbers are rapidly on the increase, buoyed by higher prices for summer production. The skin can vary from a bright green to a very dark purple not unlike the color of an Eggplant. Like a banana in more ways than one, Avocados are usually picked from the tree in an unripened state hence the bright green appearance and rock solid feel to them. Consumers wanting to use an avocado within a day or two of purchase are urged to select fruit with a dark color and a slight "give" when pressed. Such a rich source of nutrients, it is quite understandable why the Avocado is so sought after with Vitamin C heading the antioxidant list of cell protection against free radical damage. Notably, it is the prevalence of Vitamin C in the Avocado fruit that helps to build Collagen that in itself helps to improve the strength and elasticity of a persons skin. Likewise, the Avocado is rich in Folate, which is an all essential nutrient for developing infants: hence the need for women of child bearing age, to consume 400 micrograms of Folate each day at least one month before and 3 months after conception. Just half an avocado provides 144 micrograms of Folate and that accounts for 36% of the RDI of Folate. Along with the antioxidant quality, Avocados are high Fibre and water content levels (75% water) the important attribute that leaves you feeling fuller for longer. Who said “Good things come in small packages?”

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