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The avocado is a tropical fruit native to Central America. The U.S. is the world’s top commercial producer of avocados, with 80% grown in California. Unlike nearly all other tree fruits, the avocado can’t reach full maturity until it is removed from the tree, allowing farmers to extend the avocado season to 12 months! (Learn more about avocados on the MSU Extension site.)

Avocados are full of essential nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, and folate. They are also an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, which may help lower blood cholesterol when used in place of saturated fats found in animal products. (Read more about fats and cardiovascular health at the American Heart Association website, and get your nutrition facts at

Hard avocados ripen at room temperature in three to six days. To speed up the process, place them in a paper bag, preferably with an apple. Storing unripe avocados in the refrigerator will keep them from ripening. Keep your ripe avocados in the refrigerator and use within two to three days.