Mexicola Grande Avocados
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|Food Buzz: History of Avocado|
The Mexicola Grande avocado is similar to its parent variety, the Mexicola avocado, with its paper-thin, glossy black skin that is easy to peel and is also uniquely edible, with an anise-like flavor. However, the Mexicola Grande is about fifteen to twenty-five percent larger, weighing six to ten ounces, with a slightly rounder shape. It has creamy and delicate flesh that is deep green near the skin and yellow near the seed, with a smooth, rich, nutty flavor. The Mexicola Grande avocado tree is a fast-growing, tall and spreading evergreen, reaching up to thirty feet high and twenty feet wide. It is cold tolerant to eighteen degrees F., making it one of the hardiest avocado cultivars, and it is known to be primarily a home-garden avocado tree. Avocado varieties are additionally identified as being either Type A or Type B, referring to their flowering type. The Mexicola Grande is a Type A variety. All individual avocado flowers have both male and female parts, opening first as female, closing, and then reopening as male. However, the two types open and close in a different pattern, creating an overlap between the male stage of one variety and the female stage of another and allowing for cross-pollination.
Mexicola Grande avocados are available from late summer through mid-winter.
Avocados, scientifically known as Persea americana Mill., are members of the Lauraceae family alongside the Laurel tree, which produces the herb bay leaf. Also included in this family are the plants that produce edible camphor, sassafras, and cinnamon. Avocados are categorized as a fruit, and are more technically considered a berry. There are three races of avocados: Guatemalan, Mexican and West Indian. While each has distinctive features, cross-pollination permits the development of unlimited varieties. The Mexicola Grande cultivar is of the Mexican race of avocados.
Avocados are best known for their high content of healthy fats, which can help naturally lower blood cholesterol levels. Avocados are also rich in dietary fiber, vitamins B-6, C, and K, and they contain more potassium than bananas.
Avocados are usually eaten raw, as they do not cook well. In fact, prolonged cooking or exposure to high heat, such as broiling, brings out bitterness in the fruit. The rich buttery flavor of the avocado is complementary with acidic flavors, such as balsamic vinegar and lemon juice, and the high fat content makes it a great ingredient for a creamy, savory ice cream or smoothie. The Mexicola Grande avocado has high quality flesh with high oil content, buttery texture, and nutty flavor, and with its edible skin, you can bite right into it like a plum once ripe. Dried Mexicola avocado leaves, which are distinctively edible, are used in some Mexican dishes as a flavoring, and their anise-like taste mixes well with peppers and garlic. Store avocados at room temperature until fully ripe, after which refrigeration will prevent further ripening. Avocado flesh darkens when exposed to air, so to prevent discoloration of cut avocados, sprinkle the exposed surface with lemon juice or vinegar, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to two days.
Unlike most avocado leaves, which are somewhat toxic, the Mexicola avocado varieties have edible leaves that have a strong anise aroma. They are often used to impart a unique flavor in Mexican recipes, and they are also used in many cultures to make a tea that is allegedly beneficial for the digestive system, and is often used to ease an upset stomach and cleanse the kidneys and liver.
The Mexicola Grande avocado is a seedling of the Mexicola avocado that was selected for its bigger fruit size, although it is not quite as flavorful as its parent variety. The Mexicola avocado originated in Pasadena, California around 1910, and the Mexicola Grande was propagated in Pasadena in 1912.