Why the Aussie-grown Shepard avocado is seriously misunderstood

We might need to retract our general distain for the Shepard avocado.

It’s a pretty sad moment when you’re desperate for some avocado in your life and after half an hour stood fondling them in the supermarket you still can’t find ‘the one’.

We’ve all been there. Nothing sets our blood boiling quite like it.

Often the victim of ire and distain online, the Shepard avocado gets a bad rap for its eternally green appearance and firmer flesh, but it turns out they’re just misunderstood.

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We’ve enlisted the help of trainer and clean-eating foodie Luke Hines to help us clarify some of the myths and folklore around these underdog avos.

“I think Aussies simply aren’t aware of what makes them so great or don’t understand how to make the most of them,” he says. “For example, our research shows that over half of Aussies (54%) aren’t aware that the skin remains green, even when ripe and 62% don’t know that their flesh won’t oxidise when cut or go brown when stored in the fridge.”

Prepared to keep an open mind about this varietal? Here’s everything you need to know.

Shepard avocados are supposed to be green

It turns out, unlike the Hass variety, Shepard avocados remain green skinned even when they’re ripe.

So how can you tell if you’ve got a good one?

“The best way to tell if a Shepard is ripe is by gently pressing near the top. If it gives a little, it’s ready to eat. If not, keep it on the bench for 1 to 3 days to soften.”

They’re naturally firmer

Hines explains that Shepard avocados are naturally firmer, but it’s a great excuse to lean into this and experiment with different recipes.

“I find them ideal for slicing and dicing in salads, sandwiches or even a ceviche as opposed to smashing,” he says. Sounds delish.

They keep longer and look more beautiful

Greenskin avocados, like the Shepard hold their lovely green colour and actually look very picturesque when they’re cut into.

If you intend to keep your guacamole in the fridge or just use half of the avo, the Shepard will continue to look appetizing while other varieties will turn black (which is definitely not as cute).

They’re Aussie-grown

“Aussies love homegrown produce and our research actually shows that 66% are actively seeking out Australian-grown produce,” Hines says.

“Nowhere else in the world produces this uniquely Australian avocado variety so I think it’s a matter of Aussies understanding Shepards more and how versatile they are so that they can make the most of them while supporting Aussie farmers.”

How to speed up the ripening process?

If you’re in need of a ripe avo in a jiffy, there is a simple hack to speed up the process.

“Simply place your Shepard avocado in a brown paper bag with a ripe banana and leave on the benchtop,” Hines suggests.

How can we get the most out of them?

“The unique texture of Shepard avocados really is so delicious and versatile and makes them a fantastic addition to many different styles of cooking and flavour combinations. In the morning, I love using them for my Avocado Mojito Smoothie,” Hines says.

He packs it with lime, coconut cream and avocado for a boost of healthy fats and a creamy consistency.

Because of their form, Shepard avos can be used for different cooking applications too.

“Since the flesh of a Shepard holds its form so well, I love grilling it slightly on the barbecue and tossing it through salads,” he adds.

“When I’m short on time and want something simple, I’ll scoop out half of the Shepard avocado and load the hollow side up with my favourite toppings such as cottage cheese, cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs.”

They fill the avocado gap at the start of the year

The widely used Hass variety of avocados go out of season at the start of the year. Aussies would be without avos entirely *gasp* if it wasn’t for the Shepard avocado, which although only around for a short time, is around at the right time.

“The season for Shepard avocados is shorter than other varieties and they’re only available from February through to May so Aussies should get in quick to support our local farmers.”