I started working on fruits in 1962. In this connection I travelled widely in India and all continents of the world. During this period I not only saw new fruits but also met a wide variety of people and had equaqlly wide variety of social and cultural experiences. I am going to share these with others in this blog.
January 12, 2017
AVOCADO - THIS EXOTIC FRUIT NOW BECOMING POPULAR IN INDIA
An average Indian consumer expects a fruit
to be sweet, or sweet plus sour or at the most all sour like a lemon.It should also have a flavour.He cannot imagine a fruit which is completely
tasteless and having no flavour at all.He may refuse to recognize it as a fruit.That is exactly how my family reacted when I
offered them avocados for the first time in Liberia, West
Africa.They were wondering
about these fruits, for which I had bought for half US dollar each. I had to
give them a lecture on the virtues and commercial importance of this fruit.I had also seen avocado for the first time in
only, though since long, I had been teaching the Course, “Tropical and Subtropical
Fruits” which contained a chapter on this fruit too.
But in spite of being devoid of taste and
flavour, avocado is liked and eaten by millions of people in various parts of
the world.In fact, it is a staple food
for millions in the Tropical America.
A fruit of avocado
Avocado was brought into South
India and Maharashtra about 100
years back.But nowhere, it is grown
commercially.The plants can be seen
only in botanical gardens or at the most in back yards of some homes.
is special about avocado?
Avocado (Persea americana) is a very unique fruit.Its pulp contains oil whose content may vary
from 15 to 25 per cent depending upon the variety.So this fruit has also been called “butter fruit”, as the pulp has a
buttery texture.The oil contained in
avocado is easily digestible and very good for health.So this fruit is highly revered for its food
value.Avocado has more calories than
A tree of avocado
fruits are eaten fresh with bread or in salads with salt, pepper and lemon
juice.Some like to eat after mixing the
pulp with sugar. The demand for avocados is increasing all over and it is
becoming an important fruit in international trade too.
Various parts of avocado tree such as
leaves, skin, fruits and seed are used for so many medicinal uses by the
tribals of tropical America.The fruits are also recommended to diabetics
as these do not contain any sugar.
oil obtained from avocado flesh is rich in vitamins
A, B, C and E. It has a digestibility coefficient of 93.8% and is high in monosaturated
fats.Clinical feeding studies have
shown that avocado oil can reduce blood cholesterol. So eating avocados is very
good for health.
will it grow?
Avocado is very a diverse fruit having
three races differing a lot with each other.There are over seven hundred named varieties of avocado, varying size,
shape and colour.Though it is basically
a tropical fruit, but it can grow under subtropical and even sub-temperate
conditions too. Cultivars from
Guatemalan race can bear a minimum temperature upto -3 C.The Mexican types are reported to survive
upto – 7 degrees Celsius.The varieties
from West Indian race, however, require tropical climate with high humidity at
the time of flowering and fruit setting.
Avocado fruits on tree
There definitely seems to be scope for
growing avocados.A rapid change is taking
place in awareness and life style in India.Food habits are changing and people are
becoming open to exotic fruits and vegetables.So it should not be difficult for any enterprising fruit growers to find
buyers for this fruit, which is so largely consumed outside India.Moreover, avocado is not easy to transport like
banana and chiku to distant markets.The
local growers may are therefore not expected face competition from the South India.
AVOCADO PIONEER OF
first avocado tree was planted in Himachal Pradesh by late Dr. Y.S. Parmar in
late seventies at his village farm at Bagthan, near Nahan. Dr. Parmar had great love for fruit
growing.There was a fruit research
station at Bagthan . I had worked there for two years and came into personal
contact with this great visionary.
Dr. Y. Parmar, the man who was the first to bring avocado to Himachal Pradesh
I happened to meet Dr. Y.S. Parmar only a
few months before his death in 1982.Though
terminally ill with throat cancer, he talked about horticulture.He proudly told me that his five years old
avocado tree had borne fruits for the first time.On my telling him that Bagthan was too cold
for this tropical plant, he laughingly remarked, “You college trained
horticulturists only have only bookish knowledge and cannot think beyond that”.
I was told by his son, Mr. Luv
Parmar, that the plant had survived and borne fruits for many years after his