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The Reed avocado is one of the largest known varieties of avocado. The round fruit is about the size of a softball, and can easily weigh more than a pound. Its thick, green, slightly pebbled skin is easy to peel, and its flesh is a pale golden-yellow. It has a relatively large seed and seed cavity, but its robust size allows it to still carry a substantial amount of edible flesh. The texture is buttery, and the flavor is bold, rich and nutty. The productive Reed avocado trees are slender and upright, and although their height can be controlled with pruning, they are able to grow up to 37 feet tall.
Reed avocados are available at some farmers markets in the summer months and early fall, or even early winter.
Reed avocados, like all varieties, are scientifically referred to Persea Americana, and are botanically classified as a berry. They belong to the Lauraceae, commonly known as laurel, family, which also includes camphor, cinnamon, sassafras, and the California laurel. Avocado varieties are further identified as being either Type A or Type B, depending on the flowers’ opening times. The Reed avocado is a Type A variety. It is also known as a green-skinned variety, along with Zutano and Fuerte avocados, as the skin remains green even when ripe. Regardless of its obscure commercial availability, the Reed avocado is often touted as the best tasting avocado among avocado growers.
Avocados are known as a nutrient booster because they enable the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients from foods eaten alongside them. Avocados also provide many essential nutrients themselves, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid, and they contain more protein than any other fruit. They have a reputation as being high in fat, and they are in fact second only to olives in oil content among fruit, but the oil in avocados is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which is relatively healthy and can actually help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Reed avocados have such excellent texture and flavor that they are best eaten raw in their purest form. Try it on its own, or with just a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of sea salt. They can also be mashed with tomatoes, garlic and chilies to make a classic guacamole, or sliced with tomato and mozzarella and drizzle with olive oil to make a simple yet tasty salad. Reed avocados yield to gentle pressure when ripe, though their skin will remain green. They can ripen almost overnight, so be sure to check them daily for ripeness. However, if they are refrigerated immediately after ripening, they will keep extremely well for several days, as they are particularly hardy once refrigerated. Even after cutting, a Reed avocado can retain its freshness surprisingly well. Just keep the pit in the saved portion, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
Reed avocados are named after James S. Reed, a farmer who found the chance seedling on his ranch in Carlsbad, California in 1948. He patented the variety in 1960, and by the early 2000’s, Reed avocados were being cultivated on over 400 acres in California.
The avocado is a native of Mexico and Central America, and has been growing wild for at least 13,000 years, while humans have cultivated them for roughly the past 9,000 years. The Reed avocado was patented around 1960 in Carlsbad, CA, and was believed to be a chance crossing of two Guatemalan-type avocado varieties, anaheim and nabal. As a Guatemalan avocado variety, Reed avocado is a subtropical tree with a cold hardiness down to about 30 degrees Fahrenheit. It grows well in USDA hardiness zones 10 through 11, and makes a good backyard tree because it is often able to produce fruit without having a pollinizer variety planted nearby.
People have spotted Reed Avocados using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
Produce Spotting allows you to share your produce discoveries with your neighbors and the world! Is your market carrying green dragon apples? Is a chef doing things with shaved fennel that are out of this world? Pinpoint your location annonymously through the Specialty Produce App and let others know about unique flavors that are around them.