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The Stewart avocado is a Mexican variety similar to the Mexicola avocado, pear-shaped with thin, dark purple skin. The Stewart avocado has high quality flesh that is vibrant greenish-yellow in color, with a nutty flavor and nearly twenty-percent oil content. The fruit averages six to ten ounces in size, and the skin texture is slightly rough and leathery. The Stewart avocado tree is compact, strong, and vigorous, and it is more frost-resistant than many other avocado varieties. It grows upright, up to thirty feet tall, and is a consistent bearer of the purple-black fruit.
Stewart avocados are available in the late fall and early winter.
The Stewart avocado is botanically known as Persea Americana “Stewart” and like all avocados it is a member of the Lauraceae family. The Stewart avocado can act as a great pollinator for other avocado varieties as it is a hardier cultivar. Although it is most commonly reported as having Type A flowering, it exhibited Type B flowering characteristics at the University of California South Coast Field Station in Irvine.
Avocados have a high content of amino acid proteins, Folate, and Vitamins D, E, and K. They are rich in potassium, a mineral that can help regulate blood pressure and guard against circulatory diseases, and they have more fiber than any other fruit. Avocados are known for containing monounsaturated fat, such as oleic acid, which can significantly protect against breast cancer and prostate cancer. Monounsaturated fats can also lower bad LDL cholesterol and raise healthy HDL cholesterol levels in the body.
Avocados are most commonly enjoyed raw. Sprinkle slices with lemon juice or your favorite seasoning, or try adding a touch of paprika or balsamic vinegar for a flavorful twist. Spread avocado on toast as a rich, smooth, cholesterol-free alternative to butter. Avocados also add creamy texture to any sandwich, from BLTs to burgers or wraps. The tannins in avocados result in a bitter flavor when the fruit is cooked over high heat, such as broiling, so it is advisable to avoid exposure to direct heat and cook only briefly, or add avocados at the end of cooking. Only fully ripe avocados should be refrigerated, as they will not continue to ripen when stored in the refrigerator. To speed up the ripening of an avocado, place it in a paper bag at room temperature with an apple or banana.
European sailors in the 1700s referred to avocados as “midshipman’s butter” because they would use them as a butter-like spread on biscuits.
The Stewart avocado originated as a seedling of a Mexican variety, quite possibly the Mexicola avocado, on the Stewart Ranch at Mentone, San Bernardino County, California. It was propagated for trial at the California Citrus Research Center in Riverside in 1952, and introduced to the public in 1956.