Thursday, June 11, 2009

Avocados are ripe again

Avocados come from South America. The name is a corruption of the Aztec word ahuacatl, which is the same name given to a piece of male anatomy with a similar shape. I’ll leave you to work that one out.

We decided to buy our house, pretty much oblivious to the actual house. But there were these four mature avocado trees laden with fruit. We have two going off this year. This is what I have learnt about growing avocados.

Homegrown avocados are superior in taste to store bought ones. The longer an avocado is left on the tree, the higher oil content it will have, and consequently the tastier it will be. No doubt commercial growers whip them off the tree as soon as they can, and the taste does not develop.

Avocados do not ripen on the tree. You can leave them on the tree until you want them.

The trickiest thing about avocados is knowing when to pick them. They only way to know if they are ripe is to pick a couple and wait and see what happens. Putting them with bananas or kiwifruit, as often suggested, is useless if they are not ready.

There are several varieties of avocado, and some of them have quite a high tolerance to cold weather. (It gets cold here, but we do not get frost.) We have four mature trees; we do not find they are prone to pests, except birds who tend to arrive at the very end of the season when the avocados have been on the tree as long as they can stay.

Avocados need water. Sadly, a dry season can produce nothing.

One down side to so many avocados is you can’t pickle them for later. (Not that I know of) Of course, having too many will make you a hit with your friends and neighbours. My friends only invite me to visit in avocado season. I have been wondering about that...

The most irresistible thing about avocados is guacamole. I am sure most people know how to make it, plenty of garlic and some lemon or lime to taste is my preference. My tip is, when you put the cling wrap on the bowl, push it right down so it is in contact with the dip. Then it won’t go brown. Also make it ahead of time so the flavours have time to fester.

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