Everyone loves a good avocado, whether it’s smashed on toast, whipped into a zesty guacamole, or even enjoyed straight with a spoon. This tree-ripened fruit (yes, an avocado is technically a fruit!) has clearly taken kitchens and restaurants by storm, creating a new market for more varieties of the popular produce item. The Hass avocado and Florida avocado are probably the most well-known, but differ significantly in size, shape, and flavor.
The Hass Avocado
Arguably the king of the avocado world, Hass (or Haas) avocados are dominating the market with their long shelf life and variety of culinary uses. These avocados are a favorite of grocery stores as they can be picked as unripened fruit, stored in bins for shipping, and become ripe in the grocery store. These avocados are primarily sourced from Mexico and California as they thrive in warm climates with plenty of sun.
Hass avocados come in varying sizes, but are typically no larger than six ounces. Their skin is black and oftentimes bumpy but peels easily to reveal the rich, green flesh (and large, round pit) on the inside. Hass avocado flesh is rich, fatty, and high in monounsaturated fats (the good kind!) and is soft enough to be whipped into a smooth spread, but also firm enough to stand up to simple slices. These avocados are easy to identify when they are ready to eat; a gentle squeeze can determine the ripeness of the avocado.
The Florida Avocado
A lesser-known variety but one still popping up in supermarkets is the mighty Florida avocado. Much larger in size, these avocados are known for their bright green skin and large, teardrop-shaped pits. Just as their namesake indicates, these avocados are grown in Florida but are also a popular varietal in Haiti and other islands in the Caribbean. They are a bit harder to determine ripeness, as they will never really get as soft as a ripe Hass avocado. This variety is great for slicing and dicing as it holds its shape extremely well.
The biggest difference between a Hass avocado and a Florida avocado is the caloric value; Florida avocados are lower in fat and therefore have an overall lower calorie count. This may sound like a no-brainer, but Florida avocados are much milder in flavor due to their lacking in fat content. Also, since these avocados are larger, they are oftentimes more expensive than their smaller counterparts.
Looking for a healthy alternative to your fast-food favorite? These avocado fries crisp up in the oven with a gluten-free coating, no deep-fryer necessary! A Florida avocado has a great firm texture that hold up well while baking. Get the recipe.
Top omega-rich salmon fillets with a sweet and tangy pineapple salsa for a healthy and fresh weeknight meal! Either Hass or Florida avocados would work well in this recipe—just pick a firm Hass to hold up to the dice in the salsa topping. Get the recipe.
No cheese needed in this creamy pasta recipe! All of the richness in this pesto comes from a smooth puree of Hass avocado and fresh herbs. Toss with hot pasta for a vegan-friendly dinner. Get the recipe.
Whether you’re on the creamy or chunky guacamole train, this dip is widely celebrated with fresh avocados, a burst of fresh lime, and kick of chopped cilantro. If you like your guac chunkier, opt for diced Florida avocado. If you’re into a creamy, smooth puree, stick with Hass. Get the recipe.
Avocados…in a cocktail? Creamy Hass avocados should be used in this take on a traditional margarita to achieve the smoothest result. Fresh lime juice is key in this cocktail, sweetened with a touch of honey and jazzed up with good-quality tequila. Get the recipe.
Header image by Chowhound, using photos from Casablanca Cooks and Haas Avocado Board.