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The avocado, also known as the avocado pear or alligator pear, is a starchy high-fat fruit. Like the tomato, it is not sweet and is sometimes considered a vegetable. The avocado is very popular in vegetarian cuisine, making a good substitute for meats and cheeses in sandwiches because of the high fat content. The fruit is not sweet, but starchy, flavorful, and of smooth, more or less creamy, texture. Avocados have a large smooth pit and a leathery skin, both of which are easy to remove. The flesh is typically greenish yellow to golden yellow if ripe, turning dark soon after exposure to air. Mashed avocados are excellent baby food.

Avocado oil is a monounsaturated fat. The purified oil has a very high smoke point of about 510F/265C, making it suitable for the very hottest types of frying.

Avocado varieties can be classified into two types. The type grown in dry areas has a rough dark skin which may be almost black. This type is the size of a small pear. It is the creamiest and best tasting because of its high fat content. The type grown in wet areas has a bright green skin. It is larger, perhaps 5 inches long and 3.5 in diameter. This type is commonly chosen for the more-attractive skin and for reduced calories, though it is generally inferior for eating.

Avocados ripen a few days after they are picked, but ripen faster if stored with other fruit such as bananas.

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