I mentioned the superb crop of avocados in an earlier post. I can report the avocado crop continues to astound and Dudley Dog is getting ever plumper. Though he is not responsible for all the chomped fruit in this tray. That represents a day or two of windfalls. It is hot competition out there between the dog, possums, birds, rats and humans.
We only have three trees but this year’s crop is all from the one specimen. The Fuerte comes in first but is a rather watery and insignificant taste compared to the ever reliable Hass. We start harvesting soon after Christmas and this year it is still going strong as we near the end of October. Basically, the one tree has kept about four households going in avocado this year, with enough left to give supermarket bags full to other friends, the postie and random visitors. We have to enjoy them because there is NO crop at all for next year. Avocados are often alternate croppers and we are growing them in marginal conditions this far south and 5km inland from the coast.
The third tree is also a Hass but it is looking poorly. Root problems. Avocados are terribly sensitive in their roots, being prone to phytopthera when drainage is anything less than perfect. We can but wait and see if the tree recovers.
It takes about 18 months for an avocado fruit to mature on the tree. Although it reaches full size straight away, it takes time for the oil levels to build up in the tissue of the fruit. If you have been deeply disappointed in the quality of fruit you have bought in the shops, it is likely that they have been harvested too early and the oil levels have not developed. Shun fruit where the skin is starting to darken but has a coppery sheen to it. In our experience, that is a sure sign of a fruit picked too early. Very small fruit which is often packaged in multiples and specialled off cheaply is low grade, reject fruit which will be inferior. If you lack friends like us with a well producing tree, it is probably worth paying top price for good fruit to avoid disappointment.
Mark heard or read somewhere that it is possible to mash ripe avocado and freeze it, using it later to make guacamole. He is trying this, thinking that if it does not come out of the freezer in a state that is palatable to humans, he can at least supplement the dogs’ food with it. It will be interesting to see, though as we are currently eating avocado every day, either in salads or as guacamole, we are not going to need the frozen stuff any time soon.