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Autumn brings the new season of Shepard avocados

Now is the time of year when Shepard avocados take over from Hass avocados as the main variety available in your local store. Whilst this may be a seamless transition from one variety to another, it can be off putting when we are confronted with a fruit display of totally green avocados. The first impression is "none of these avocados are ripe!" but looks can be deceiving.

Shepard avocados don't change colour as they ripen.

Shepard avcoados are generally referred to as greenskin avocados as their skin stays green as they ripen. There are many green skin varieties of avocados grown in Australia, however, Shepard is by far the most widely available, albeit for a limited time of the year. Other varieties include the Reed (large, rounder avocado), Wurtz, and Sharwill. However, these are grown in much smaller quantities and therefore have more limited availability. Shepard avocados tend to prefer the warm tropical growing conditions of north Queensland and therefore have a limited season starting in March through to May.

Shepards vs Hass: The main differences.

The Hass avocado is the most common variety grown in Australia and accounts for around 80 per cent of the avocados we eat. Being a more robust fruit that can tolerate different climates, they are grown across most states of Australia but it's the time of year when Shepard avocados take over. Below are main differences between Hass and Shepard avocados;

A Shepard avocado fact:

Unlike Hass avocados, the flesh of a Shepard avocado does not go brown once it's cut. This means they stay brighter in your salads and sandwiches for longer. When storing a cut avocado, place in an air-tight container in your refrigerator or wrapped in cling film pressed firmly against the cut edge.

Tips for Selecting and Storing:

For all varieties of avocados, we recommend a simple test for ripness. Gently apply pressure on the stem to see if it yields. If it does, it's ready to eat! Avoid squeezing the centre of the fruit as the flesh will easily bruise inside.

We recommend ripening avocados naturally in the fruit bowl. However, to trigger the ripening process, simply place a hard or unripe avocado in a brown paper bag with an Apple or Banana. These fruits naturally release the plant hormone ethylene, which aids ripening. Once an avocado is at its ideal ripeness, store in the fridge for 2-3 days until ready to use.

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