The avocado, sometimes known as the avocado pear, is a large evergreen native of Central America and the West Indies. Mature trees may reach a height of 20 metres with a diameter of 13 metres! Avocadoes have a very high food value due to a substantial amount of poly-unsaturated oil. They have a higher protein content than most sub-tropical fruits and contain appreciable amounts of vitamins.
Fruits mature on the tree but remain hard and inedible until they have been kept at room temperature for seven to 14 days after harvest. During this time the flesh softens and develops a buttery texture. If you harvest the fruit too early it will shrivel rather than softening and retaining its shape. The different varieties vary considerably in reaching maturity and cropping times. Some trees can begin bearing fruit in three to four years, others up to six years, with seedling trees taking ten years to produce fruit.
The major varieties are Fuerte, Hass, Sharwil and Reed. They are selected to be grown together because their maturity times follow in sequence, giving a constant supply of avocadoes for most of the year.
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