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Stringy avocadoes--what can we do?

  • b

Has anyone else noticed that avocadoes are not what they used to be? Growing up in the 80s, making guacamole was always my task. Avocadoes always seemed then to be either ripe or not-ripe. I don't remember the horrible stringiness I often find in avocadoes today. Today the avocado I opened was full of brown-colored strings, particularly unpleasant. (I'm on a special diet which avocadoes are a big part of, so I'm particularly frustrated by this situation.)

I know I should just complain to my supermarket, but does anyone have any large-picture perspective on this issue? Do you know what causes the strings or how we can tell the growers that this is not okay? I'd rather pay more for good avocadoes.

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  1. What variety are you buying? The "Hass" avocado - the smaller, darker, more wrinkled one - doesn't seem to have the fibers you mention, or at least the ones that I get don't have them. I have noticed stringy fibers in the smoother, light-green skin variety, which I think is called "Florida". I generally don't buy avocadoes if that's the only variety offered.

    1. I associate stringy avocados with being over ripe. I don't know the names of avocados, but I buy the dark bumpy skin avocados. I get "strings" when I keep them too long.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Alan408

        I definitely only buy the Hass variety--the small, dark, bumpy ones. I feel like I've cut into several that were just ripe enough, yet stringy. But perhaps they were overripe and I am remembering incorrectly. I'll try firmer ones in the future.

        1. re: Alan408

          I agree with Alan408. I only buy the Hass (the Florida ones make me shudder). Too bad these are the only varieties widely available. Anyway, if the Hass gets overripe, it gets stringy. Nothing to do but throw it away and get some new avos.

          I also blame the big grocery stores that charge $1.99 per. They are letting a lot of avos go bad that way because people are reluctant to pay so much. Where I live there are tons of places you can get them cheaper.

          1. re: Alan408

            I found the answer!! Apparently stringy avocados come from young plants. Plain & simple. There's nothing wrong with the plants, they just simply haven't matured yet. This is why we're seeing it in most places; organic or not. The rise in demand has caused the need for more plants. Pretty much as soon as these new young plants start producing, they are harvested refused less of the plants maturity. We may have to wait a few years, or selectively research Californian farms with more established trees, but at least there's finally an answer!

            1. re: NinoKristie

              I have found some strange hard crispy bits in my avocado (it was ripe, btw). Did that ever happened to any of you? Never happened to me before ....

          2. p
            Pâté chinois

            I have experienced the same problem lately. Just today, I opened an organic Hass avocado that was dark (almost black) but very firm, thinking "if it's dark, it's ripe". It was not that ripe, but it was very stringy. I agree with you that it is very disappointing, especially when said avocado has sat on your desk all morning (and you've been yearning to slice it open).

            As for what can be done, however, I have no idea. Any green grocer around???

            Link: http://www.patechinoisco.blogspot.com

            1. I buy alot of avacados and the main problem I encounter is rich versus watery- and this is all within the Hass group- those Florida ones are pretty in theory and tasteless on the inside. I have not encountered the strings except in ones that I believe were improperly stored. I buy them fairly firm and have a ceramic lidded container that I put them in for a few days to ripen. This has worked out really well. This time of year the flesh here is SoCal has been on the watery side. I do find that the smaller ones are more likley o give a good yield. Te larger ones also have a larger seed so the proportionate amount is usually actually less.

              1. j
                Jane Hathaway

                I've had the exact same problem for about six months now and I can't figure it out. I buy a lot of avocados and it's driving me absolutely crazy. I usually buy mine at Whole Foods or an upscale local market that usually has wonderful produce. The has been happening no matter how ripe (or not) they are. They've been quite expensive lately as well. I remember they used to be plentiful and inexpensive around Super Bowl time, but not this year.

                The strangest thing happened last night though. My husband came home from Safeway with some puny little avocados that he had gotten for $1 each. They were not top quality, but they weren't bad at all - and no strings! Go figure.

                1. The best Hass avocados come from California, and, as you might expect, are seasonal. They have the best flavor, the most oil and generally aren't stringy.
                  When they are out of season, then we see a lot more imported avocados that come from Mexico or Chile. The Mexican avocados seem to taste pretty good, but the worst ones are the ones from Chile. The Chilean Hass avocados are inferior in every aspect. If I you get some bad ones, take them back to your market and show them! They usually will replace them. I know it's a hassle, but I don't like throwing away $2.00 for every one I bought!
                  Look for other avocados in the off-season. Fuerte is a good choice if they are available.

                  1. I've seen the stringy ones as well as slicing open a haas that feels perfect, and inside, the parts that aren't brown are ripe and tasty, but I end up scooping out a third to a half of the avocado. Guess I am resigned, like potatoes (with the brown stars inside) I just buy extra and hope I get the amount I need. Maybe avocados are best when in California.

                    1. I think it has to do with variety Some kinds are stringy, period. The strings just get dark when they get overripe is all. There are dozens and dozens of varieties out there, FYI, and sometimes there are no god ones to be had. And I agree with those above that just don't buy them when there aren't any dark rough bumpy ones- not saying there are no good ones that are smooth and lighter but i've never found any, they're nearly always watery and tasteless.

                      The best avocados I ever, EVER had I got at a little mercado in Mexico. They were small, dark, and total creamy heaven inside.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: EWSflash

                        Farmers Markets here in central CA are carrying more varieties, there are two smaller ones that might easily be confused with squash that are delicious, their season ended a couple of weeks ago but shortly after a variety called "Susans" (iirc) came in, lighter green mid-size but with edilble skin... yeah, I was skeptical at first, they were great. Best ever came from a friend's yard in Arroyo Grande, light green smooth thin skin the size of grapefruit with the most nuitty moist oily flavor ever, never had guacomole from Haas that could match them. Alas, he moved, the bastard!

                      2. I have found some strange hard crispy bits in my avocado (it was ripe, btw). Did that ever happened to any of you? Never happened to me before ...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: RoDia

                          If I remember correctly, it is the same material that makes up the seed of the fruit. I honestly do not recall what the cause is, but, yes, I have run into it. Sorry I could not have been more helpful!