Disgust and disappointment were the only things a Taranaki teenager found inside a rotten avocado he sliced open last week.
Spotswood College student Michael Riley, 15, bought a pack of five avocados from a New Plymouth supermarket. He found at least two of them had black, mouldy-looking flesh.
"I opened one at home and what I saw was this white stuff. It kind of looked like it was spider webs but wasn't, but it stuck to the inside."
Suspecting it was not an isolated case of pestilence, he threw the remaining fruit out.
"It was horrid. It has really put me off avocados for good."
He said he had bought the avocados for $5 in a sale.
They had felt fresh and "looked pretty good".
He cut into the avocados the next day.
"It was just one day. If I had known in store that they only had one day left I wouldn't have bought them and surely the supermarket wouldn't sell avocados if they know that they only had a day left."
Michael wrote a comment on the supermarket's Facebook page and it replied saying the problem had been dealt with.
But a quick survey of avocados in several New Plymouth supermarkets showed the quality of fruit appeared low across the board.
Avocado NZ local market analyst Bevan Jelley said he was not aware of any complaints about avocados in the region.
"We do look at quality in Auckland and the Bay of Plenty, but the quality lately has been quite good."
He said Avocado NZ's technical manager, Dr Henry Pak, thought the issue with Michael's avocado was most likely due to the fruit having aged excessively.
"In other words, this avocado has probably been in cool storage for too long [possibly around 8 weeks]).
"Damage like this can be caused by rots that occur when fruit is stored for too long."
Mr Jelley said avocados generally had a shelf life of 4 to 6 weeks from the time they are picked.
He said most supermarkets had quality assurance processes to follow, but they varied.
While he said avocados were good this summer, he also said they were not as good as last year.
"The fruit are smaller in size and there are not as many of them as there were last year. That's partly due to the weather events."
He said the heat this summer could also make avocados ripen faster, but correct storage and handling was also important for longevity.
If you are having ongoing issues with avocados from the same store, you can contact NZ Avocado on 0800 AVOCADO (0800 286 2236).
AVOCADO TIPS Choose an avocado based on its colour because squeezing them causes bruising. Avoid extremely soft avocados with very dark skin or dented or flattened areas. This indicates bruised or old avocados.
Avocados will ripen in your fruit bowl but to accelerate the process, pop them in a brown paper bag and include a banana or apple. These fruits give off ethylene gas, which is a ripening agent.
Ripe fruit can be refrigerated uncut until eaten, but limit this to two or three days.
Cut avocado should be sprinkled with lemon juice, lime juice or white vinegar and placed in an air-tight container in your fridge. They should be eaten within a day or two.
If the top layer goes brown, you can simply scrape this off and you'll find the flesh underneath is perfectly fine.
Avocado can be pureed with lemon juice and frozen for up to four months.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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