When I went to the farmer’s market the other day they had several varieties of avocado: Hass, Fuerte, Gwen, Pinkerton, and Reed. I knew I had to get some and compare them. Here’s some general thoughts, observations, and Avocado Reviews on these different varieties.
Clockwise from top right: Reed (large and round), Gwen (round but smaller than the Reed), Hass (black skinned), and Pinkerton (has a pointy end and is more slender in shape)
Try to find avocados with a little bit of the stem in the pointy end. If the stem is missing, the avocado has a good chance of having some rot inside where the flesh was exposed to the air. To tell if it’s ripe, gently press on the fat end of the avo. If it gives to slight pressure, it’s probably ripe and ready to eat.
The standard grocery store avo is the Hass. It has a nice hard shell that makes scooping the flesh easy. The shell goes from green to black when this variety is ripe, making it really easy to spot the ripe Hass at the store. I think that’s one of the main reasons that this variety sells so well at the store. The Hass has a great flavor (creamy and buttery) and texture (soft but not watery). They can often be very small, and for me, they tend to have some problems over ripening or being too hard even when they look and feel ripe.
The Fuerte is my favorite! It’s got soft buttery flesh with the perfect texture. They aren’t watery, and are full flavored. They’re the perfect size with a well-portioned pit inside. They have a soft shell that isn’t as easy to scoop without breaking the skin. But, with gentle pressure, you can get all the flesh out without getting the skin in your guacamole. The skin of the Fuerte doesn’t turn color when this avocado is ripe.
The other three varieties I saw at the farmer’s market (Gwen, Pinkerton, and Reed) were fairly new to me. I’ve had the Reed before, and loved it. Take a look here. The Reed avocado is much bigger than the other varieties, and therefore yields more flesh. And, it tastes wonderful. A contender for my favorite avo.
A hard skin makes it easy to scoop all the meat out of this avocado. The flesh was soft and creamy. The pit was well portioned to the size of the avocado. The flavor was a little light, and I suspect that if you did a side by side taste comparison, the Gwen would be lighter in flavor than the Hass or the Fuerte. The skin of the Gwen doesn’t change color when ripe, so you have to check for ripeness by feel only.
The farmer described this avo as “smokey”, and I was very excited to try it. Good. Slightly watery. Hard skin, making it easy to scoop out. the flesh was not as soft as the Gwen, but it was creamy and not fiberous at all. I didn’t get a smokey flavor at all. But, it did have a slightly off-odor when I cut it open. That odor went away when we ate it; I think the fragrance was a smokey one, so it was just an odor that I wasn’t really expecting. I thought if it were smokey in flavor that it would be fun to make a chipotle guacamole to show off that smokiness.
I bought this variety a couple of months ago. It was very good, and reminded me of the Hass. Soft and creamy without being too watery. Perhaps it was a little light in flavor. It also had soft skin that didn’t change color when ripe. The pit was very large inside the avocado, and therefore, it didn’t have much flesh. This variety didn’t seem to be a good deal for the money because of the over-sized pit.
Reed avocado: Very large fruit with a well proportioned pit. A great flavor. Read my full review here.
Want to read more about avocados? Take a look at the California Avocado website for several varieties of avocados and the nutrition of avocados.