Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Viewer Question Answered (Stringy Avocados)

It's time again to answer another viewer question. Periodically I receive emails from viewers of the Produce Picker Podcast searching for answers to their produce questions. I try to answer each of these emails as thoroughly as possible however only the person who has asked the question tends to benefit from the answer.

The purpose of the show as well as this blog has always been to share my knowledge with as many people as possible. To this end I'm sharing some of the emails I receive and my responses to them in the hopes of helping out others who might have the same questions. I hope this benefits all of you. Enjoy and always feel free to send in your own questions, comments, and/or tips!

Laura sent in a question about stringy avocados, she asks:

Just saw the avocado episode on MIRO - first time watching. all great BUT,
sometimes I buy several unripe avocados, wait for them to ripen and then refrigerate.
When I pull it out to eat, sometimes it is stringy and strange inside - as if it had started to grow or something and one that looks and feels identical is fine to eat! What's going on?
Thanks so much to Laura for sending in this great question. I have seen this before as well and yet it was a challenge to just come up with the answer on my own. So I put in a special inquiry to my friends at the California Avocado Commission and they provided me with a great answer to Laura's question, Erin replied:

The "stringiness" you describe is a relatively rare occurrence generally found in fruit from immature trees. Because the avocado has grown in popularity world-wide, so has the need for new orchards. On occasion young vigorously growing trees may produce a few fruit with fibers, mostly near the stem end. It is impossible for growers to predict which fruit is affected but we know that the phenomenon is relatively rare and passes as the trees grow. The fibers are natural cellulose and edible, although of course the texture of the pulp near the stem end may be less appealing when fibers are present. Simply pushing the pulp from affected fruit through a coarse strainer will separate the fibers from affected fruit. Using the mashed fruit in guacamole or dip recipes will allow you to fully utilize any fruit showing this phenomenon.

Thanks again to
Erin at the California Avocado Commission for the great insight.

As a parting note I commented to Laura that
her method of picking avocados unripe, letting them ripen on the counter and then refrigerating them until use, is a good one. Buying them unripe gives you a chance to get them before a bunch of other people get their hands on them, pressing all over your avocado thus bruising it before you buy it. Also placing them in the fridge only after they are ripe gives you a longer shelf life. So, good job there.

Thanks again to Laura and Erin for providing great content for this blog post. I hope everyone learned something about avocados and perhaps feels inspired to submit a question of their own or comment on this post. Thanks for reading!

Here's the Choosing Avocados Episode:

Ray a.k.a. The Produce Picker

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picture provided by Flickr user Will Merydith


Benjibenben said...

My girlfriend and I are currently living in Barcelona Spain and have encountered this about three times in a row so far. I know it says that its not a very common thing to encounter but its strange that it has happened three times already. I guess we just had a bit of bad luck.

Ray a.k.a. The Produce Picker said...

Hi benjibenben,

It might be something a little more than bad luck. Perhaps the orchard that these avocados are being harvested from is relatively new (in terms of its trees) and therefore producing these stringy avocados.

It could be your source, where you are buying them from, as well. If they are buying the cheapest on the market then they could be getting what they pay for. However since I don't think you can usually tell an avocado will be this way I'm guessing it's more likely that my first assumption is more accurate.

Maybe try buying your avocados elsewhere and see if that makes a difference. If you have been purchasing these avocados from different sources then that's quite a mystery.

Maybe you walked underneath a ladder or ran into one too many black cats:)

I hope your luck changes soon as I know avocados are one of the more expensive produce items to purchase.

Thanks for your comment!