Have you started growing avocados but don’t know when to pick them from the tree? I had this same question in mind when I started producing avocados as houseplants. But over the years, I gained enough experience to answer this question. In this article, I will write about when you should pick avocados from trees based on my practical knowledge.
You will find the months of August to September most ideal to harvest avocados. But do not pick all the fruits from trees at once. Pick a few fruits that are the largest and wait for a week. If those fruits ripen properly, become soft and readily eatable, then you can start harvesting avocados.
But keep in mind that the first few fruits you pick from the tree may not ripe as expected. If they shrivel, become rubbery, or even start to rot, you can easily conclude that the fruits of your mature trees are not yet ready to be harvested. So, continue to pick a couple more largest fruits after one week and keep testing until you get your perfect fruits to harvest. To know more about the avocado harvest season, time of maturity, ripening period, tests for harvest, etc. continue to read the rest of the article.
Harvest time for avocados produced at home:
If you produce avocado indoor, or in your garden, you are most likely to select any of these three varieties: West Indian avocados, Guatemalan avocados, and Mexican avocados. Your avocado fruits can be of many shapes, it can be round, pear-shaped, or oblong. The texture of the skin can also vary, it can be reddish-purple, deep purple, greenish-yellow, or simple black.
To harvest avocado, make sure you know your region and climate properly. Among many types of avocados, the Haas variety is one of the most commonly cultivated cultivars. It usually becomes ready for harvest during February, but it can even extend up to September. You may find the local weather, fertilization process, and flowering pattern of the tree responsible for a variety of outcomes.
As a home gardener, you should remember that the extended flowering of fruit might result in different stages of fruit maturity for your trees. So, you may face difficulties to determine the correct avocado harvest time. In this case, pick a couple of avocados from your trees and check if they are ripe enough. Once you get the correct fat content and softness from the sample fruits, you can be sure that the whole tree has enough ripe avocados.
Harvest time for commercially produced avocados:
You need to decide the harvesting time for each avocado cultivar by considering the time of year and the weight of the fruit. If you accidentally pick a lot of avocados while they are immature, it will result in a significant loss to your business. So, avoid harvesting any avocados when they are shriveled or rubbery.
If you live in the United States, especially Florida, your avocados will rip at warm temperatures of 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. For the West Indian avocados, make sure to maintain a temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit while storing them. It is also applicable to other Floridian cultivars. Don’t store fruits at any temperatures below these, otherwise, the skin and flesh will be discolored and produce unusual flavor.
Maturity Seasons of Common Avocado Varieties:
- January to March – Bacon, Santana
- April to June – Edranol, Hass, Mesa, Rincon, Ryan
- June to September – Anaheim, Hellen, Nabal
- July to October – Mac Arthur, Reed
- October to December – Bonita, Daily, Duke, Jim, Zutano
The range of seasons indicated above is the approximate months for maturity. You will find many seasonal and climatic effects in your region that will result in variations of maturity period. You can follow the above-mentioned months for avocado houseplants. But in the case of commercial orchards, you need to determine the oil content through a dry weight test. In this way, you can ensure better fruit quality in your house and market.
How to know if my avocados are ripe enough to harvest?
You will find several factors that can affect avocado harvesting. To know if your fruits are ready to harvest or not, first, you need to pick one or two mature fruits from the trees. After picking those fruits, test several factors and then find out if the rest of the fruits hanging on the trees have ripened or not.
1. Observe the skin color:
If your avocados are ripe enough, they should have uniformly soft flesh and readily eatable to consume. As you find varieties of avocados, taking color as an indicator of ripeness will not be a good barometer. Different varieties may show different color changes as time passes by. It can be from yellowish green to reddish-purple to black. It may have brown spots or dark spots. The seed coat can change color from ivory to dark brown too. For example, the Hass variety starts as dark green, then turns purple-black. If you are experienced enough, you can detect these changes easily to start picking fruits for consumption.
2. Check if they are soft enough:
Instead of getting soft, if the fruits shrivel and become rubbery, they are not ripe yet. Mature fruits have a good consistency, are not too tough, should not be bitter, and do not shrink outside. So, wait for a few more weeks to get the perfect softness and then harvest. To find out if the fruit is soft enough to eat, hold the fruit in the palm of your hand and squeeze gently. If the flesh moves with slight pressure it is soft enough to eat.
But if any crop has thick skin or hard shells, it will be tough for you to determine if they are soft inside or not. In this case, remove the button from the stem and gently insert toothpicks through the opening. If the toothpicks go smoothly through the stem without applying much pressure, you can conclude that the fruit is soft inside.
3. Check for adequate oil content:
If you leave the fruits hanging on the tree, the oil content inside the fruit will gradually grow higher. Remember, the higher the fat content, the better the fruits will taste. On the contrary, leaving them for too long on the tree can generate excess oil contents resulting in rancid fruits. But if you manage to pick fruits having the perfect oil content, the inside of the fruits will be smooth as butter and have a nut-like flavor.
4. Perform commercial dry weight test:
If you are a commercial avocado grower, you can perform a dry weight test on your fruits. A dry weight test measures the oil contents of your fruits that will help you to know the perfect time to harvest. As a commercial grower, it is very suitable for you to do this test because you grow avocados in a larger portion, and you need to prevent losses of early picking. If you find the oil content low, conclude that the fruit is still not ripe
How do I ripen avocados quickly?
If you pick fruits early from your avocado trees, there are high chances that they are not ripe enough. In this case, you have to apply some techniques to ripen those fruits. Of course, you don’t want to waste any fruits, do you?
Place the avocados you want to ripen in a brown paper bag. Close the bag properly. The storage temperature should be your room temperature. You can also use newspapers to wrap around the fruits if you don’t have any paper bags at your home. Hopefully, this will accelerate the ripening process naturally.
You can also add apple, tomato, or banana with the avocados for quicker ripening. In general, all ripe fruits contain a plant hormone known as ethylene. This ethylene hormone triggers the ripening of the fruits. When you wrap around the avocado fruits with a newspaper or bag, it traps the ethylene gas from going to the atmosphere. As a result, the ripening process becomes a lot faster.
Be sure to check the bag daily. Notice any color and smell changes. You can also apply slight pressure on the fruits to check the softness. In this way, you can fasten the ripening process of avocados.
Note that some people can advise you to microwave avocados. But please don’t do this, because microwaving fruits can make them a little softer, but it will not make them ripe. So, don’t ruin your beautiful fruits.
How to slow down the ripening process of avocados:
If you don’t want your avocados to ripen, or you want to eat them later, you need to extend the ripening period. To control this, put the fruits in the crisper area of your refrigerator. This will slow down the emission of Ethylene gas. As a result, your avocados will ripen slowly.
Avocado plants grow into evergreen trees and they give excellent fruits to your home. If you can grow avocados indoors, you can use them for seasoning in various dishes, salads, and soups. You can also make delicious guacamole. But all of these depend on the softness, color, and smell of the fruits. Therefore, you need to know when you should pick your fruits from the avocado trees. If you can take control measures to get the perfect avocados, you can surely enjoy many simple and delicious dishes at your own home.