OUR FRUIT - Avocado (Persea gratissima)
The avocado tree originates from a large geographic area stretching from the central and western mountains of Mexico, across Guatemala all the way to Central America's Pacific coast. Archaeological evidence supports its consumption and the use and selection of plants in Mexico for 10,000 years. Pits found in caves in the valley of Tehuacan (state of Puebla) show that during this period, there was a progressive selection towards an increase in fruit size, as indicated by the increase in pit size in recent layers compared to older ones.
The avocado tree is part of the laurel family, like bay leaf, which is used for seasoning. When grown in the wild, it is a hardy tree with evergreen leaves and clusters of flowers at the end of winter. It can reach up to 10 m in height, with a sizable trunk.
There are numerous fruit varieties of a wide range of sizes, colours and shapes. Their taste and nutritional value are also very different.
Like in the case of apples and pears, we must take advantage of this diversity… and remember that the greatest taste quality is found in fruits picked at maturity.
Avocados in Corsica?
Well yes, Corsica is at the northern limit of the cultivation zone !
Avocado trees are found in the gardens of villages, at the same altitude as citrus trees (0-400 m). Sensitive to winds, especially northern winds, they require a protected area to develop in all of their glory. They grow lush in rich, aerated and well-drained soils and cannot support prolonged excessive moisture, which leads to withering.
The avocado tree is a forest tree, but the most impressive species in Corsica are found in orchards. They actually look like plant sculptures.
Several varieties of avocados are found in an orchard, because this diversity promotes good pollination :
- Zutano, the earliest, with very shiny pale green skin (harvested in December)
- FUCCA, with smooth, purple skin (January)
- Bacon, rounder, dark green, slightly granular (December to February)
- FUERTE, our main variety, elongated with rather granular dark green skin (February to April)
- And as a reminder, HASS, REGINA AND NABAL are completing production (around the month of May). However, those three varieties, more sensitive to frost, remain of little importance given our weather and do not reach maturity every year.
The diversity of these varieties allows us to spread out the harvest over 5 to 6 months.
On the tree, avocados always retain their firmness. When they reach their full development, they will soften after a few days once separated from the tree (fallen or picked fruits).
Still, there is a maturity limit from which the harvested fruit softens correctly, where the pit is easy to separate from the flesh. It is at this stage that the avocado has acquired all of its flavour. Our proximity to mainland allows us to wait for this moment before beginning the harvest. With a 2-day delivery delay (boat + road) in all of France, our avocados are perfectly fit for the trip. No need to jump ahead of harvest !
Conséquence : the harvest for each variety is always later than in other producing countries in the Northern Hemisphere (Israel and Spain, among others).
OUR AVOCADOS DEVELOP A TASTY AND DELICIOUSLY CREAMY FLESH. BON APÉTIT !
Like citrus fruits, avocados develop a lot more slowly than strawberries or apricots after reaching full maturity. We have the time – several weeks – to pick them, which allows us to plan the harvest based on orders… and extend conservation in stores or at home.
The best avocado
To truly appreciate it, the avocado should be eaten ripe and – this is essential – previously treated with respect.
THE PRODUCER : do not jump ahead of harvest to allow enough time for the avocados to develop its oil and all of its aromas.
SHIPPING : shortest transportation route possible (which allows the producer to pick the fruits at full maturity), maintaining the recommended low temperature is essential.
AT THE STORE AND AT HOME : remember that the avocado is sensitive to shocks, crushing and dents. When ill-treated, even a firm avocado will inevitably have black spots at the point of impact after falling, being crushed by pots of yoghurt or poked by fingers ! The fruit would be disappointing – or even need to be thrown away – since it can no longer reach maturity normally.
An avocado that was transported and stored properly will make a perfect transition from hard to rubbery (not ready), to soft (the pit detaches easily) and finally to creamy (at this stage, the skin can be removed from both halves in a single piece).
TO KEEP IT LONGER you need to do as follows : take it out of the paper or plastic bag, keep it away from apples, pears and kiwis, keep it cool (6-10 °C) and avoid temperature variations.
TO SPEED UP THE RIPENING PROCESS, follow these simple directions : remove it from the fridge and keep it at room temperature (temperature above 18 ° C will trigger ripening in 1 to 5 days, depending on the variety and stage). To ripen even faster : place it next to apples or pears.
TO KEEP HALF OF AN AVOCADO
Keep the half with the pit still attached (it will darken much more slowly !) and if possible, splash it with a few drops of lemon to stop the oxidation process.
The avocado is an atypical fresh fruit : it is an oleaginous fruit. It is attractive because of its nutritional properties.
Its content varies widely depending on variety and maturity : globally, the tastiest avocados are also the fattest ones, with a higher level of dry matter. Rich in lipids (14 to 22%), its energy intake ranges from 140 to 360 kcal for 100 g !
It also contains proteins, in small quantities, but with all of the essential amino acids. It is rich in vitamins and mineral salts.
The avocado can be enjoyed the following ways
- As a starter : the simplest way : perfectly ripe and spread on bread (the healthiest way to enjoy avocados because of the absence of cholesterol)
- With a vinaigrette or mayonnaise
- In a mixed salad
- In a guacamole, as a spreadable starter or dip for hot meals.
Avocado oil, extracted from the flesh of ripe avocados, is used in cosmetics.
See our recipes :
les fleurs d'avocatiers
sont nombreuses, toutes petites et peu mellifères
Les mouches participent à la pollinisation
Petits fruits après nouaison : la plupart
des fleurs sont tombées