Sir Prize Avocados
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The Sir Prize avocado is an early-ripening Mexican hybrid that is very similar to the Hass avocado. The Sir Prize avocado is highly sought after for its large fruit and small seed size, as they have the most flesh-to-seed ratio of any commercial avocado. The fruit is pear-shaped, averaging ten to twenty ounces in size, with a characteristic ridge along one side, which becomes almost unrecognizable as the fruit ripens. The appearance of Sir Prize avocados, although notably different from the Hass variety, is more comparable to Hass than any previous commercial avocado of its type. Both the Sir Prize and the Hass avocado have fruit with a pear shape and skin that remains black in color when ripe, leading many consumers to mistake the Sir Prize as Hass, or at least recognize it as a Hass-type avocado. However, the Sir Prize actually has thinner, less pebbled skin than the Hass, more closely comparable to the skin of the Fuerte avocado. The skin is pliable and separates easily from the flesh, revealing a buttery, yellow-green interior similar to the Hass in both appearance and in quality. The flesh has a buttery, high-oil texture with a nutty and sweet flavor. The Sir Prize avocado tree is upright in form, and like other varieties with genes from the Mexican race it is a cold-hardy cultivar. In fact, the Sir Prize is capable of growing in colder and more northern climates than the Hass, and its fruit matures up to two months earlier. The leaf type and shape is also more typical of the Mexican race avocados, although no anise fragrance has been detected in the stems or leaves.
Sir Prize avocados are available late fall through winter.
The avocado is botanically classified as Persea americana Mill., and is a member of the Lauraceae, or Laurel, family. Avocado flowering follows what is called synchronous dichogamy, as the avocado flower has both male and female parts that open at different times. Avocado cultivars are classified as either Type A or B, in reference to their flowering type. A and B types open and close in a different pattern, meaning that there can be some overlap between the male stage of one variety and the female stage of another, allowing for cross-pollination. Sir Prize is classified as Type B, and it is common that Type B avocado trees are used for enhancing pollination and increasing yield for Hass avocados, which are Type A. Hence, the Sir Prize avocado, in addition to producing excellent quality fruit of its own, shows promise as a marketable pollinator for Hass, or other A types like Lamb and Gwen avocados.
Avocados are known for having healthy fats, and are virtually the only fruit that contain monounsaturated fat, which can help lower cholesterol. Avocados are high in dietary fiber, folate, amino acid proteins, and vitamins D, E, and K. They also contain potassium, a mineral that can help regulate blood pressure and protect against heart disease, stroke, or other circulatory diseases. When served with other fruits and vegetables, avocados enable the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients from those foods.
One unique characteristic that the Sir Prize avocado is rumored to have is that the fruit does not oxidize, and hence the flesh does not turn brown after it is cut, as most avocados will do. This is perhaps why the Sir Prize avocado is considered a great variety for use in guacamole, one of the most popular dishes of Mexico, which is made by pureeing avocados with chilies, onions, lime or lemon, and spices, depending on the specific recipe. The avocado is most commonly eaten raw, as it does not stand up well to direct or prolonged heat. Avocados can simply be cut and served with a sprinkle of salt and lemon. They also work nicely in sandwiches and salads, pair well with seafood or chicken, and they can even add a creamy element to desserts such as ice cream, mousses, and fruit salads. Avocados should be stored at room temperature until they are ripe. Once ripe, they will keep at room temperature for two to three days, or they can be refrigerated for up to one week.
The word “avocado” comes from the Aztec word “ahuacatl,” meaning testicle, which likely is a reference to the shape of the fruit. The Aztecs added “molli,” their word for sauce, to create the term “ahuacatl-molli” for avocado sauce. From that the Spaniards derived the word ahuacamolli, which was later altered to the term we are most familiar with today: guacamole.
Sir Prize avocados originated during the University of California open-pollinated breeding trial as a cross with the “HX48” avocado selection as the maternal parent. The “HX48” was a Hass seedling and hence the Sir Prize avocado is often described as a grandchild of Hass. The original Sir Prize tree was planted at Mr. Bob Lamb's orchards in Camarillo, California in April of 1986. The Sir Prize was chosen from the Lamb Ranch because it promised to replace Bacon and Zutano as a good winter variety that also produces black fruit. It has been asexually reproduced by the grafting of budwood onto rootstocks both in the nursery and in the field.