Reed Avocados: Things To Know

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ReedHalfIt’s October, and here on the avocado ranch we’re eating Reed avocados.  Have you ever tried a Reed?  Have you ever seen them in a store or farmers’ market?   If you have, you know that Califoria Reeds are one of the largest,  creamiest, and most delicious avocados in the world!   We look forward to late summer and early fall every year because that’s the time to eat the Reeds.

{6/19/2014  Added Note: Our 2014 Reeds are early … ready to eat in June already!}

ReedTreeWe used to have lots of Reed trees, but we cut many of them down and grafted them over to Hass variety.   After they were cut to a 4-5 foot stump,  a tree specialist made a slice into the tree and implanted a piece of bud wood from another tree.   In this way we were able to use the root system already established, but grow a new tree of a different variety.  We were sorry to say goodbye to so  many beautiful Reed trees, but we had seen that the Hass variety was preferred by consumers and would bring us a better price.

It is expensive and labor-intensive to grow avocados, so we need to make enough money to pay for the water, fertilizer, and care throughout the year in order to stay in business.  Reed avocados were just not popular enough to bring a good price. In the photo you can see the difference between the tall Reed tree and the shorter young Hass tree that  was grafted onto a Reed stump.  Hass trees like to spread out and become rounded in shape unless they are planted close together…then they will grow tall and form a canopy.   Reed trees like to grow straight up, and don’t form a canopy as easily.  It’s fun to walk up to a Reed tree because often there are avocados within arm’s length to pick!

BabyReedsThis year’s crop of avocados are ready to pick, and next year’s crop is already growing on the tree!  Can you see the tiny ones in the background?

NewGrowthReedAs the baby avocados grow bigger, the tree puts out new growth like an umbrella to shade the new fruit from the sun.   Avocados bloom in the spring,  then the tiny baby avocados begin to grow.  It take all year for the fruit to reach full size and maturity so that it will ripen after it is picked.  The Hass variety of avocado is ready to pick from December until late summer.  These are the pear-shaped avocados with the bumpy skin that you probably see most often in the stores.   Reed avocados are not ready to eat until late summer…July through October in southern California.   When  all of our Hass avocados have been picked,  we know it’s time to start eating the Reeds.

 

Reed-AvocadoA Reed avocado is very creamy.   The skin is thick and leather-like.   To find out if a Reed is ready to eat, hold it in your hand and gently press your thumb.   It will not feel rock hard, but will “give” just slightly.  It “gives” less than other avocados with thinner skins,  so it’s easy to wait too long with a Reed.  They don’t turn black when they’re ripe either…so it takes a little practice to learn when a Reed is perfectly ready to eat.  A skill worth learning!

IMG_4811Late in the season, the fruit is very mature…higher oil content means the fruit is creamier,  the color is a deeper gold, and sometimes the root has already started growing out of the seed!  When the root is already growing like this one,  balance the seed over a  glass of water so the root can get a drink and watch it grow!  (push some toothpicks into the side of the seed to hold it on top of the glass)

IMG_4813One of the most exciting things about Reed avocados is that they come with their own bowl!    The skin is so thick and strong that you can mash the avocado right in the skin, using it for a natural bowl!  This has to be one of Mother Nature’s greatest accomplishments!  The ultimate fast food!  Just add salsa, or some seasoning…and dig in!

ReedAvocadosonTreeAren’t you glad you know something about Reed avocados now?  You may see them in stores like Whole Foods in September and October.   You will also find them in farmers’ markets in southern California.  A large Reed avocado can make enough guacamole for several people,  or provide sliced avocados for burgers and sandwiches.  Since they’re larger than other avocados,  we often eat only a half at a time.  Even if the leftover half turns brown on top,  just slice off the brown and enjoy the rest of the avocado underneath within one day or so.  We’re having them on hamburgers for lunch! Wish you were here to join us!

ReedonaBurger

 

P.S. and for breakfast:

Weekend Egg on Toast with California Reed Avocado!

EggandAvoonPizza

 

 

 

 

 

 

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108 Comments

  1. Hello Mimi. Stumbled on your blog while in search of Avocado budwood. I picked up interest in growing fruit trees lately. I planted a few avocados a few months ago. They are about two feet tall now and I am looking for Hass or Fouarte. I’ve never heard of Reed variety before but your presentation of it makes me wish to grow them also. My rootstocks were from random varieties that I cannot quite identify but they are all growing fine.
    Please could I get some budwood to buy from you. I live in Nigeria. Please let me know how to get them if you you do sell.
    Best regards
    Fred.

  2. I have a Reed tree and don’t know when to pick them, they flower in february and by November they are large and look ready to pick but when I do they are still very hard inside and not soft. Am i picking them to soon?

    • Hi David, Reed avocados are mature enough to soften and have flavor between end of June and late fall. Avocados do not soften on the tree. They must be picked first, then it takes from 5 to 14 days for them to soften, depending on how mature they are. The oil content must be high enough for the fruit to soften and be edible. As the fruit continues to mature on the tree, the oil content gets higher and the fruit flavor develops. When the oil content gets really high the fruit will be very buttery, it might begin to drop from the tree, and it will soften in fewer days. By November your Reeds should definitely be ready to eat if not over the hill! Remember that you have to wait for them to soften after they are picked. Just leave them on the kitchen counter and check them each day. They avocado should “give” slightly when pressed in the palm of your hand. Hope this helps.

  3. Mimi do you know what advocado tree cross pollinates with a Reed. I’ve been told you need one that flowers at the same time.

    • It’s not necessary to have another tree to cross pollinate. It’s ideal because the more trees you have, the more bees will come. Since avocado flowers open at different times, the bees will pollinate even with just one tree.

      It is true that there are trees with “A” flowers and “B” flowers. Here is an article to help you understand this. Since Reed is an “A” type flower, you might want to get another tree that is a “B” flower. Hope this helps.

      http://ucavo.ucr.edu/Flowering/FloweringBasics.html

  4. Hi, I’m writing from Australia. I have a Reed growing in my backyard. You mentioned in your article that, “Avocados bloom in the spring, then the tiny baby avocados begin to grow. It take all year for the fruit to reach full size and maturity so that it will ripen after it is picked. ” So I have to leave the fruits on the tree for about a year before harvesting? Mine fruited last spring and I’m going into winter now. The few that I’ve harvested seem to shrivel on the table and don’t really get soft and taste bitter. I’m at a loss as to what to do ie when to harvest.

    • It sounds like you picked your avocados too early. Our Reeds flower in the spring and we pick them the following year in late June or July….so yes, it is 14 -16 months after flowering that the fruit is ready to eat.

  5. Thanks. I’ve left them on the tree this year and waiting till they’re at least 12 months after fruiting. A couple have fallen because of strong winds and even these ripened quite nicely after a couple of weeks and are edible and really creamy. Can’t wait to harvest the remaining ones on the tree as they mature properly.

  6. Hi Mimi, I wrote to you earlier this year – I have a Reed tree in my backyard and for the past 2-3 years, I’ve been harvesting too early and the fruits never really ripen properly. Any way, you told me Reeds have to stay on the tree for about 12 months. It’s spring time in Western Australia now, where I live. The Reeds have finally matured properly and we are having the best avos ever from our own tree, thanks to your advice.

    Now that we’ve left the fruits on the tree for nearly a year, I have another question. The new flowers are coming out right alongside the fruits. Do we have to harvest all the existing fruits to make room for the flowers to bloom and turn into new fruits? Or can we have the old crop alongside the new one to come? Will the old crop affect the growth of the new one?

    • I’m so glad you are enjoying your Reeds! No need to hurry to pick them unless you have hot weather or wind coming. The fruit will hang on the tree even during the bloom. Aren’t avocado trees amazing?

  7. I’ve been looking for a name, I think I found it. The Reed Avocado. I remember back in the late 50’s, my Grandfather had an avocado tree that bore round “very thin” skin almost blackish purple in color when ripe. They weren’t very large avocados, we actually most of the time ate them with the skin on that’s how thin the skin was. I could never find anyone that could remember the type I was talking about. I’m starting to understand that the Reed was grafted down over to the Hass variety, verrrry interesting. I’m glad I finally found an answer to my question why they are not known of.
    I’m 66years old and I remember our family eating the Reed Avocado with the skin on, I miss the flavor.

  8. Thanks so much Mimi Holtz am so happy to come across your blog.

  9. please Mimi,i really love avocados and am presently undergoing a project on avocados.Unfortunately, i face difficulties in idnetidying and naming the avocados i find in my locality, North West Region, Cameroon.

  10. Please i need help to be able to name Avocodos using the standard names such as Reed, Hass, Booth,Fuerte, etc for the avocados i find in my locality, North West Region Cameroon.

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