Friday, February 17, 2012

Why Won't My Avocado Ripen?!

A variety of California Avocados - 3 winters and 2 summers

So the avocados above were all picked during the winter - but two of them are not winter avocados. Who cares? You may -- read on to find out why one is going to be SUPER delicious and one will NOT be.

So here's what they are named (from left to right):
a. Pinkerton
b. Bacon
c. Lamb
d. Fuerte
e. and the "big guy" in the front is a newly named avocado called a Matthew Davis.

The Lamb and the Matthew Davis are both summer avocados. So how can you have a summer avocado in winter time?  There are two ways:

1. The Lamb was "overlooked" when the pickers picked this orchard and left a few of the Lambs on the tree - way, way up on the top branches. Avocados can "hang" on a tree for many, many months. They don't ripen until they are picked or when they fall off the tree. So finding a few avocados (especially Lambs, Hass or Edrinols) left on a tree is a special treat. They just keep adding oil and get yummier and yummier. (But if they are left too long - they can go rancid... so its a delicate balance here...).

2. The Matthew Davis is the opposite - it was actually picked in February -- but it isn't ready to be picked. If you can believe it, this avocado is only about 1/3 to 1/2 of the size it will be when ripe. It grows HUGE. It is also not ready to eat, because its oil content is too low. The flesh will never really ripen. It will slowly shrink along it's ridges and just rot. When avocados are picked too early, they just get wrinkly (usually from the top down) and stay rubbery.

So now you know! California avocados, all 500 varieties of them, grow year 'round here in the sunshine state. You do need an expert to help you know when they are ready to pick. You can find some of that info here at the Avocado Diva's website and by following me on FaceBook or this blog! Thanks for reading.

(P.S. -- If you'd like to find out more about the amazing Matthew Davis -- and how the customers of Avocado Diva helped save this variety - click on this link to read that blog story.)


  1. I think I have a Matthew Davis tree!

    I have a question, is it possible for the avocadoes to be ready to ripe over a year later? The first year we were in our new house, the avocadoes were ready for picking early May through September. In February 2011, we saw the tiny fruits budding. It is now April 2012, and they are finally (we think) ready for picking. Moreover, we have new buds at the same time! ??? Is that right?

  2. Hi Sammi -- (a) Yes, it takes a year for avocados to ripen - and some can hang on the tree for up to a year or more. They don't ripen until picked (unless they stay on for 18 months or more -- they "can" go rotten and fall or be eaten by a rodent). (b). It's absolutely normal for a avocado tree to have avocados on it (from the previous year) PLUS "baby" avocados PLUS blossoms to make the next year's crop. I would say to pick last year's crop soon - before the "baby" avocados get too big and you don't know which is which. (c) For the new avocados that you think are "ready for picking" - take off one (cut it, don't pull it) -- and let it ripen. If it shrivels up (not enough oil) - wait another 2 weeks and try again. If it ripens -- eat it and pick some more! Would you mind emailing me or private messaging me on Facebook ( I would love to know where you are at and if your tree just MIGHT be a Matthew Davis!! (PS -- M. Davis' tree ripens in summer).

  3. Sorry I did not respond to this sooner. April was a bit too early. It wasn't until June that we started to begin to eat the avocados. In June it was still taking 8 days to ripen after picking. In early August, it only took 3-5 days to ripen.

    We're in Los Angeles. I swear, I bought this house because of the mature avocado tree. LOL!