Avocado, Persea americana, classified in the Lauraceae family, is a tree native to Mexico and Central America. It can grows up to 20 m (66 ft), and live up to 200 years. It has very long leaves, whereas its flowers are really small. Its fruit is pear-shaped, about 7 cm (2.8 in) – 20 cm (7.9 in) long, can weigh between 100 gr (3.5 oz) and 1,000 gr (35 oz), and has a large central seed. Flesh is yellow, while peel is green, and can be smooth or rough.
Avocado is highly energetic fruit as rich in fats, mostly monounsaturated fat. But it also has a good content of water, protein, carbohydrates, sugar fiber, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A, B9, C and E.
Given its high content of folic acid, it is strongly suggested for expectant mothers.
It can contribute to lower blood cholesterol levels, both LDL (harmful cholesterol) and triglyceride levels, and increase HDL (helpful cholesterol) levels. Avocado is also helpful in case of high arterial pressure.
In cooking, you can eat it raw and simple, or in salads. It is great to accompany salmon and crustaceans dishes. Avocado is also decorative for desserts and cocktails. The most famous recipe with avocado is guacamole dip, usually served with tortilla chips.
Fun fact: a ripe avocado should be stored in the fridge, up to 1-2 days. Here in Italy avocados only arrive still unripe: in this case you need to store it at ambient temperature. A tip: try to put it in a paper bag together with a tomato: it should ripen faster.