Persea americana, or the avocado, is believed to have originated in the state of Puebla, Mexico, though fossil evidence suggests similar species were much more widespread millions of years ago, occurring as far north as California at a time when the climate of that region was more hospitable to them.

The modern English name is not etymologically related to the similar-sounding Spanish word abogado, meaning ‘lawyer’ (as in advocate), but comes through an English rendering of the Spanish aguacate as avogato.

Like the banana, the avocado is a climacteric fruit, which matures on the tree, but ripens off the tree. Avocados used in commerce are picked hard and green and kept in coolers at 3.3 to 5.6°C until they reach their final destination. Avocados must be mature to ripen properly. Generally, the fruit is picked once it reaches maturity; for  ‘Hass’ avocados this is approxiamtely 23% dry matter or more. Once picked, avocados ripen in one to two weeks (depending on the cultivar) at room temperature (faster if stored with other fruits such as apples or bananas, because of the influence of ethylene gas). Some supermarkets sell ripened avocados which have been treated with synthetic ethylene to hasten ripening. The use of an ethylene gas “ripening room”, which is now an industry standard. In some cases, avocados can be left on the tree for several months, but if the fruit remains unpicked for too long, it falls to the ground.


The two main varieties grown in Australia are Hass and Shepards.


The ‘Hass’ avocado is today the most common. All ‘Hass’ trees are descended from a single “mother tree” raised by a mail carrier named Rudolph Hass, of La Habra Heights, California. Hass patented the productive tree in 1935. ‘Hass’ trees have medium-sized (150–250 g), ovate fruit with a black, pebbled skin. The flesh has a nutty, rich flavor.


This is a small avocado, has delicate smooth green skin and a pointed. This variety will soften when ripe but unlike the ‘Hass’ variety, the skin WILL NOT change colour. It has an acorn-shaped pit embedded in rich, sticky flesh. A relative of the ‘Hass’, it has its obvious similarities in texture, but with a thicker almost gluey consistency.


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Growing Regions:

Avocados are grown all over Australia, with the predominate growing regions being Far North Queensland, Bunderburg and South West Western Australia.


  • Shepards :January - April.
    • The main prodcution regions are Far North Queensland and Bunderburg.
  • Hass : All year round.
    • The first Hass are harvested approximately in April from Far North Queensland. The last region to start production is South west Western Australia which starts harvesting in September through to March.

Avocado and prawn risotto


1.25L (5 cups) vegetable stock
25g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups (440g) SunRice Arborio Risotto Rice
2/3 cup (165ml) dry white wine
500g green prawn meat, roughly chopped
1 cup (80g) grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
2 avocados
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup roughly chopped chives


Place the stock in a saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and keep stock at a simmer.

Meanwhile, heat the butter and olive oil in a deep frypan over medium heat, add the onion and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until softened, but not coloured. Stir in the garlic, then add the rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute to coat the grains. Add the wine and allow the liquid to evaporate. Add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring occasionally, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. Continue until you have one ladleful of stock left - this should take about 20 minutes. Add the prawns with the final ladleful of stock and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes until the prawns are cooked through. Stir in the parmesan, then cover and remove from the heat.

Peel the avocados, dice and toss in the lemon juice. Just before serving, carefully stir the avocado mixture into the risotto. Serve in bowls topped with extra parmesan and chopped chives.


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