Good news for Florida avocados, those who grow them, and those who eat them! A study from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Science has shown that Booth 7 avocados, a Guatemalan-West Indian hybrid from Florida will retain freshness longer with their new treatment and make it more marketable. It employs a combination of specific gases and liquids, ethylene and 1- methylcycloprene, to delay the ripening process and keep the fruit fresh for a longer period of time. Sometimes, the extended ripening process can negatively affect certain fruits, but this new method reported no negative effects on the taste, smell, or texture of the avocado.
During the testing period, the fruits were grown at the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida, and then treated at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Taste, smell, texture and other attributes were tested by 75 people during the 2008-9 avocado seasons. The results are considered extremely important because demand for avocados has been steadily increasing. In addition to flavor and texture, avocados lovers enjoy the associated health benefits of the antioxidants and the monounsaturated lipids.
The avocado industry isn’t using the treatment on these South Florida-grown avocados yet, but when it does happen, the distance they can be transported will increase significantly and subsequently increase profits.
Avocados from Florida are a significant part of Florida’s agricultural economy worth almost $24 million. Over 7000 acres are used to grow avocados, and close to 85% of the fruits are shipped out of the state.