food & drink

The rise of the avocado

Written by Barney

It’s a bizarre situation really, a few years ago, the avocado was barely a recognised fruit. Often known as the ‘avocado pear’ or the ‘alligator pear’, it sat few and far between on the shelves. Today it is the fruit. Apples, who? Oranges, what? If it’s not green with lots of inverted nipples, it’s not relevant. If you’re not wearing avocado related clothing, you’re applying it to your face as eye cream, if you’re not applying it to your face as eye cream, you’re applying it as an oil to your hair…and if you’re not doing that, you are most definitely eating it.

A lot of people would like to know the avocados secret. It went from zero to hero. From the occasional appearance as a prawn cocktail garnish, to the face of snapchats ‘basic’ sticker. A couple of years ago the avocado would have been a sticker to represent the unusual, the quirky, the unknown, yet today it represents basic.It is the basic bitch of the fruit world. I am surprised there hasn’t been an Instagram filter especially designed to ensure it always compliments the avocado in question.

Perhaps the reason for avocado mania could be that it’s convenient? But then again, it’s not. When you buy an avocado, you are essentially entering yourself into the avocado lottery. Avocados generally look very similar on the shelf, green and sort of oval. The difference is, they’re not so basic on the inside. Generally, what happens is, you buy an avocado that’s too hard to eat, so you leave it for a couple of days. There’s always that day when you know you could eat it, but you’ve just got that feeling that it’s going to be perfect tomorrow, so you wait. Turns out, it wasn’t perfect, and in fact you should have eaten it the day before.


They are basic AND unpredictable

Even if you won the avocado lottery in terms of ripeness, that isn’t usually the end of the gamble. Occasionally you cut into it to find a stone big enough to bowl with and only enough flesh to cover a crust. Sometimes you find a sort of stringy unappealing texture, and more often than not, at least some of the avocado is black.

So it’s not convenience. Maybe they’re cheap? But then again, they’re not. Avocados are expensive, and even more so now. Growing conditions are particular, and with some of the biggest crops affected by drought last summer and heavy rain in the winter, 2017’s yield was down. With a smaller crop, but a continuously increasing demand, prices are high. This is why avocados are sometimes recognised as the middle class fruit. The fruit for yummy mummies to give to little Wigbert to ensure he’s getting only the good kind of fat.


So avocados; the basic, unpredictable, risky, expensive wonder fruit

I think that’s unfair, and you may be surprised to realise that I am actually a fan of the fruit. Despite its basic image, its risky nature, and its price tag, the avocado has something about it. It’s high in omega 3, so basically a good fat that can reduce cholesterol, and contains more potassium per gram than a banana. It’s filling, and has enough flavour to be eaten on its own, though I think it’s best with goat’s cheese on toast for sure.

I do think that there is an element of loyalty that lies within an avocado lover. If you deem yourself pro avocado, you find yourself defending them against those who brand it as overrated. I think this can trigger a fall into the ‘accidental obsession’ category. In my first year of university, I had an avocado shelf above my bed, where I could order them from least ripe to most ripe to ensure my chances of winning the avocado lottery were increased. I was then given a mug with ‘AOD – avocado obsession disorder’ written on it for my birthday, and that was it, I was obsessed. It just so happens by chance, that I’ve ended up on a placement year between my second and third year at Uni, where, for the last 3 weeks I have tasted more than 70 avocados every day. Thank goodness it’s the good kind of fat, my cholesterol levels must be sub-zero.

Who knows how long the avocado will remain THE fruit of today. Perhaps its rapid climb to the top of the fruit hierarchy will be sabotaged by a new fruit that no one’s heard of. Or maybe, it will remain up there forever. All we can conclude is that, a bit like American presidency, even in the fruit world there is no reasoning as to why some things make it in the first place.