Garden recipe avocados

April 17, 2011

It gets a bit tricky when it comes time to harvest avocados. The best answer is pick when they are mature. And mature is not the same as ripe.

Since there are so many types of backyard avocados maturity is difficult to determine until you’ve known your own tree for a few years. Avocados do not ripen on the tree. It is only after they are picked that they soften up.

But maturity means they are full grown for the type of avocado you are growing. You will want them to give them plenty of time to develop their full oil content before picking. This can be 6 to 8 months after the bloom period if you garden by the calendar.

In general, a mature avocado will be dull, not bright and shiny. When cut, the seed will have a brown paper coating and will not be fleshy and white

An immature avocado will taste watery when soft, unlike the rich, buttery flavor of an avocado that has developed its full oil content. Sometimes when the largest avocados begin to drop from the tree it indicates that the rest will reach maturity soon.

Since avocados actually reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, use them as a sandwich dressing in place of mayonnaise.

Purdue’s hort department recommends an avocado, cream cheese and pineapple juice blend as a dressing for fruit salads. My favorite: sliced tomatoes and avocados sprinkled with salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

And here’s a link for growing your own from seed from, believe it or not, the California Avocado Commission.


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