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Nabal avocados are available in the summer and early fall.
Avocados are members of the Lauraceae, also know as Laurel, family, and they are the only trees in the family to produce edible fruit. Avocados are botanically classified as a berry, and are known scientifically as Persea americana Mill. Nabal avocados are particularly hard to come by, not often sold in retail nurseries, and they tend to be relatively expensive, however they are arguably worth the price as many consider Nabal to be the best tasting avocado variety. Today they are grown in Israel, California, Florida and Australia.
The Nabal avocado is a rare Guatemalan variety with smooth, dark green, medium-thick skin that peels easily and is covered with yellow freckles. Nabal avocados are very large, weighing up to seventeen ounces, and they have a rounded, softball shape. They are known for having exceptionally high-quality flesh that is deliciously creamy and greenish-yellow in color, and surrounds a large central pit. The Nabal avocado tree has a greater tendency to alternate bearing than other commercial varieties, but it is known to be a vigorous producer of the hefty, flavorful fruit. It is one of the more frost-sensitive cultivars, and when planted in windy areas, this variety can also be subject to wind scars and shedding, when nearly mature. Avocados on the tree are inhibited from ripening because of a hormone supplied from the leaves, and hence farmers can store the fruit on the tree for up to eight months after maturity. Once the fruit is harvested it starts to ripen, and unlike most fruit, the sugar content of avocados decreases rapidly during ripening.
Avocados provide many essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid, and they contain more protein than any other fruit. Avocados are known as a nutrient booster because they enable the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, and also lutein. They have a reputation as being high in fat, and they are in fact second only to olives in oil content among fruit, but the oil in avocados is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which is relatively healthy and can actually help lower blood cholesterol levels.
The Nabal avocado has such excellent flavor and quality flesh that it deserves to be eaten raw in its purest form. Try it on its own, or with just a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of sea salt. Mash with tomatoes, garlic and chilies to make a classic guacamole, or slice with tomato and mozzarella and drizzle with olive oil to make a simple salad. To open avocados, use a small, sharp knife and run the blade all the way around the avocado, top to bottom, cutting into the fruit until the blade meets the center pit. Twist the two halves in opposite directions to separate. To remove the pit, use a spoon to ease it out, or stick the length of a sharp knife into the pit to leverage it out. Keep avocados in the fridge once they are fully ripe, but until then store at room temperature. Avocado flesh discolors quickly when exposed to air, so to prevent this, brush cut avocados with lemon juice, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one or two days.
Avocados are consumed in many different cultures, from the Americas to Asia, in many different forms, from guacamole, one of the most popular forms, in Mexico, to sandwiches and salads in the United States, sushi in Japan, and dessert in the Philippines. South Americans make a beverage known as vitamina de abacate, prepared with avocado, cold milk, sugar, and vanilla. Indonesians blend them into drinks with sweet condensed milk, and Brazilians use them to make ice cream. However the largest number of culinary dishes made with avocado is actually found in Israel.
Budwood of the Nabal avocado tree was brought to the United States from Guatemala in 1917. They have been propagated in California since 1927, in Florida since 1937, and in Israel since 1934.