South Africans are really lucky to have avocados available almost all year round, thanks to our farmers growing both green-skinned and dark-skinned avos. That means a nearly year-long supply of these two equally delectable (slightly addictive!) fruits.

Buttery, creamy green-skinned avo varieties include Fuerte, Edranol, Ryan, Reed and Pinkerton, and are available from March until October. Hass, Maluma Hass and Lamb Hass are all rich, nutty dark-skinned avos that are available from March until November.

Although avocados may vary in colour, shape and size, they are all extremely beneficial and versatile.

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Both dark-skinned and green-skinned avos can be included as part of a healthy eating plan as they are virtually sodium-free and are sources of potassium (half an avo provides 420mg of potassium). Their high monounsaturated fat content helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of heart disease when used to replace saturated and trans fats in a balanced diet.

Both types are incredibly useful in building healthy immune systems. For a start, they’re a source of fibre (5.3g fibre per 100g), which is excellent for good gut health. Gut bacteria regulate the immune system and protect against invading pathogens that cause disease. In fact, more than 65% of our immune system ‘lives’ in our gut. Dark and green avos are also high in copper (33%) and contain the antioxidants lycopene and beta-carotene, all of which support, maintain and regulate immune function.

When it comes to getting creative in the kitchen, dark-skinned and green-skinned avos shine equally brightly, as there’s no end to their uses in snacks, light meals, starters, main meals, desserts, bakes and even sweet treats.

On the shelves right now are Fuerte avos (March to July), known for their typical egg shape and buttery texture; Maluma Hass avos (March to July) distinguished by their rich, nutty taste; and Hass avos (May to October), revered for their creamy, slightly nutty taste.

As a green-skinned avo, Fuerte remains green when ripe, while the dark-skinned Maluma Hass and Hass avos turn purple-black when ready to eat.

No matter what you’re indulging in this winter, add an avo – green and dark – for double the deliciousness!

For further information and avo recipes, visit www.avocado.co.za, like @iloveavocadoSA.co.za on Facebook and follow @iloveavossa on Instagram.

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