The avocado is a medium-sized fruit with bright green to green-black and even purple bumpy skin, and soft, pale green flesh. In the center of the fruit is a large, smooth, brown seed. Avocados come in a variety of shapes and sizes: there are big ones, little ones, pear-shaped ones, egg-shaped ones, and even spherical ones.
The skin of the avocado is unlike that of other fruits and vegetables. Most varieties of avocados have a bumpy, pebble textured skin with a glossy, almost leather-like finish. The color of the skin ranges from bright green to an almost black-purple hue.
The skin’s color changes through the ripening process:
- An unripe avocado is a bright yellow-green color.
- Depending on the variety, a ripe avocado is usually a deep green color.
- An overripe avocado is a very deep green, almost black-purple color.
As well as firmness, the color of an avocado is a good indicator of ripeness. If you’re curious, check out how you can slow the ripening of avocados.
Like some other fruits, such as bananas, the skin of an avocado is not generally eaten. That being said, don’t throw away avocado skin without first scraping off the dark green flesh from the inside. The part of the fruit directly underneath the skin contains the highest concentration of antioxidants found in the avocado, including phytosterols such as beta-sitosterol.
Avocados contain 38 milligrams of beta-sitosterol per 50 g serving. Beta-sitosterol is one of the three predominant phytosterols found in plants. These compounds may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Phytosterols are plant sterols naturally found in plants that are molecularly similar to animal cholesterol. In the intestine, research has shown they can act to lower the absorption of cholesterol. According to the FDA, 2 grams of phytosterols per day may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. According to the FDA, 2 grams of phytosterols per day may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Some at-home beauty enthusiasts even claim that rubbing the inside of an avocado peel over your face makes for a wonderful, nourishing face mask!
There’s no denying – avocados are absolutely delicious. The pale green to yellow-green fruit has a distinctive creamy, oily, and balmy texture that cuts easily, and can be spread or mushed into a dip-like consistency. Avocados have a mild taste, with a hint of sweetness. If you have never tried an avocado before, imagine the taste of a fresh, rich, velvety butter substitute produced by trees.
The Avocado Seed
In the center of all, avocados have a large, golf-ball sized seed that makes up roughly 10 to 25% of the fruit’s total weight. The seed is spherical in shape, chestnut to dark brown in color, and has a smooth, shiny texture. Unlike other berries, the avocado has just one seed.
Like the skin, avocado seeds are not usually eaten. Some avocado enthusiasts crush the seed into a coarse powder and brew it into a bitter tea. Others run the seed through a juicer or add it to smoothies (however a warning is necessary to take proper precautions before you try that at home). Although the seed does contain nutrients, it is not necessary to eat it to get the full health benefits of avocados.
While you may not want to eat the seed, don’t go throwing it out just yet. There are several ways you can make full use of the avocado seed, including:
- Make a natural, pink-colored dye.
- Dry the seed, grind it up, and use it in a DIY facemask. The finely ground seed particles work wonders as a natural exfoliator.
- Keep your guacamole looking fresh. Some claim that if you add the whole seed to your guacamole, it won’t turn brown.
One of the most popular ways to make the most of your avocado seed is to sprout it and grow your own avocado tree. This is a fun and easy process anyone can try – even if you lack the illusive green thumb.
How to Sprout an Avocado Seed – 6 easy steps
1. Remove your avocado seed and clean off any excess fruit. If you’re having trouble cleaning the seed, try soaking it in some water for a couple of minutes before scrubbing any remaining flesh off. Be careful not to remove the thin, brown skin. This is the seed cover.
2. Determine which end of the seed is the top, and which is the bottom. Although the seed is ball-shaped, one end will be a little pointy, and the other will be a little flat. The flattest side is the bottom where the taproots will emerge, so it will need to touch the water.
3. Take four toothpicks and insert them around the circumference of the avocado seed. These will act as a type of scaffolding, allowing the bottom of the seed to rest in the water, while the top stays dry.
4. Position the avocado seed over a glass or jar of water, so the bottom half of the seed is submerged. Opt for a clear glass if possible, so you can watch as the seed sprouts into the water.
5. Now you can sit back and wait for your seed to sprout. Over time, the top of the seed will dry out and form a crack. Then, as the crack moved to the bottom of the seed, the seed cover will come off. From the crack, a small taproot will emerge. The taproot will continue to grow down and may branch. Eventually, a sprout will grow out of the top. This process can take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.
6. When your sprout is about 6 inches tall, you can plant it in your garden or in a pot.