Thursday, September 17, 2009

An Interesting Fact About Avocados

I love avocados.

I eat several per week, sometimes mashed and used as a spread on a sandwich, cubed in a salad or sliced and seasoned with lime juice and unrefined sea salt.

Many of us are aware that avocados, which grow on trees (photo, right), are a great source of healthy fats, nutrients and minerals.

But I just read something I never knew, a fact that makes avocados different from other fruits. From Harold McGee’s “On Food and Cooking,” which explains the science behind, well, food and cooking:

“[An avocado] will not ripen on the tree as long as the skin is unbroken; it must be cut from the tree for ripening to begin. Thus the best way to store avocados is to leave them on the tree, and this is commonly done for up to seven months. It seems that the leaves supply a hormone to the fruit that prevents ripening; harvesting the fruit cuts off the supply of this inhibitory substance and initiates the production of ethylene."

1 comment:

Peter said...

When I lived in Barbados, I had two avocado trees on the property. The fruit and leaves are so similar in appearance that it is hard to see how many fruit the tree is holding. Local boys would climb the trees and shake a branch; the falling fruit were caught in nets or sheets held taut by girls. Harvest time, Caribbean style.
- Peter