I’ve seen a disturbing American trend lately: individually packaged single serving sized every things. As if we needed yet more plastic, yet more packaging and extra layers of processing. Sure the idea of smaller, perfect sized portions, on demand, is appealing, but I refuse to go the direction of waste. So when I moved to Peru and found that nature was already doing this, naturally, I was ecstatic.
“Paltas Fuertes pequeños” are small seedless avocados (paltas) of the Fuerte variety that, due to improper pollination, do not develop a seed and remain small. And, I’m so glad they have a pollination problem because they are ideally suited for single servings. I absolutely love these “Cocktail Avocados” as they are sometimes marketed because you can slice open one end and pop out the nutty, buttery flesh right onto a sandwich or atop a quick salad. They are great for bagged lunches, picnics, or traveling because you can squeeze it right into your mouth without any fuss or muss. When ripened they taste the same as the larger, sexually mature fruits they grow right alongside.
Peru has aspirations to become the world leader in organic, avocado exportation in the current decade. Unfortunately, only a certain small percentage will be the seedless variety, unless they figure out a way to force mis-pollination, which I’m not necessarily advocating, though I do think about it. I see a few reports about limited availability in the US, Australia and Europe, they are easy for me to get and hopefully you will be able to get them when you want also. Think of the health benefits and opportunity to get kids to handle whole foods again!
Peru’s most popular avocado is “Fuerte” however many varieties are grown and “Hass” is no exception. Due to its worldwide culinary popularity, Peru is planting and beginning to make major gains in Hass production. It is likely that genetically all avocados originated from Mexico, though they have been in Peru for certainly thousands of years. Their popularity among pre-Incan cultures, such as the Chimú, is evidenced by art forms such as an avocado shaped water jar, dating to before 900 AD, which was discovered in the city of Chan Chan an archaeological site in the Peruvian region of La Libertad, outside Trujillo, Peru.
My love and memories of the avocado are rooted in my childhood, in Southern California where we would eat avocados regularly from neighbors trees. If you have ever had a tree, you will know that when productive they can produce massive amounts of fruit. Here, in Huancayo, a single avocado costs about 20-40 cents, however, only a few hours away in the jungle, you can buy 10 kilos (22 lbs.) for $6. And, we do get the full 10 kilos! The last time we got them I made three kinds of avocado ice-cream and frozen yogurt (which is really good!).