They have a green-skinned, fleshy body that may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped, or spherical. The fruit is not sweet, but distinctly and subtly flavored, with smooth texture. It is used in both savory and sweet dishes, though in many countries not for both. The avocado is common in vegetarian cuisine as a substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high fat content.
Generally, avocado is served raw, though some cultivars, including the common ‘Hass’, can be cooked for a short time without becoming bitter. The flesh of some avocados may be rendered inedible by heat. Prolonged cooking induces this chemical reaction in all cultivars.
A typical serving of avocado (100 g) is moderate to rich in several B vitamins and vitamin K, with good content of vitamin C, vitamin E and potassium (right table, USDA nutrient data). Avocados also contain phytosterols and carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin.
Avocados have diverse fats. For a typical avocado:
- About 75% of an avocado’s energy comes from fat, most of which (67% of total fat) is monounsaturated fat as oleic acid.
- Other predominant fats include palmitic acid and linoleic acid
- The saturated fat content amounts to 14% of the total fat.
- Typical total fat composition is roughly: 1% ω-3, 14% ω-6, 71% ω-9 (65% oleic and 6% palmitoleic), and 14% saturated fat (palmitic acid).