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The Reed Avocado

If you ever have the opportunity to get your hands on a Reed avocado, don’t let the chance pass you by. Reed avocados are very similar to the world-famous Haas avocado but larger and greener. If you thought avocados were limited to the ones in your grocery store’s produce section, you’re about to have your horizons expanded!

Curious about how to find one of these avocados or maybe even how to grow your own? Then keep reading to learn all about the Reed avocado.

Closeup of a large, green avocado with smooth skin on a tree similar to the Reed Avocado.

History of the Reed Avocado

The very first Reed avocado seed was germinated in 1948 on the property of James Reed in Carlsbad, California. Reed named the avocado after himself, patented it, and started selling it starting in 1960. It was a slow for the Reed avocado catching on with growers and consumers, as it wasn’t grown by anyone other than Reed himself for a little over a decade.

In the early 70s, other San Diego growers started experimenting with the Reed. Popularity soared, and there were talks of selling it commercially in spite of its green skin. However, when the Haas avocado came along with its green to black skin, all thoughts of commercial success for Reed disappeared.

While it never made it commercially, Reed remains a favorite avocado for home growers, farmers’ markets, and specialty markets.

Characteristics of The Reed Avocado Tree

Reed avocados are one of the best avocado varieties for beginners to grow independently. Reed avocado trees are rugged, productive, and resilient and require relatively little maintenance. While the trees are fairly easy to grow, the fruit they produce is second to none, making the Reed avocado the perfect fruit for beginners and experienced growers alike.

Reed avocado trees tend to grow more upright than many other avocado varieties. They can grow up to 37 feet tall and are sometimes a favorite for commercial growers, thanks to their upright growth pattern. Their smaller lateral spread allows them to be grown closer together than other avocado trees, which maximizes space.

Characteristics of the Reed Avocado Fruit

Reed avocado fruits are some of the largest and heaviest of any avocado variety. Because avocados don’t start to ripen until after they’re picked, growers allow Reed avocados to get as large as 1 1/2 to 2 pounds. The skin of a Reed avocado is very shell-like, which makes them very difficult to peel.

Because of how large the fruits are, half an avocado is large enough for an entire batch of guacamole. The flesh is very soft to the point of being one of the most delicate of all avocado varieties. To determine whether or not your avocado is ready to eat, gently apply pressure with your thumb and feel for a slight give.

Woman holding two halves of a large avocado.

Taste and Flavor

Avocados, in general, have a very light flavor and aroma qualities. The Reed, however, is creamier and less oily than most other avocado varieties. It also has a nuttier, richer, and bolder taste than most avocados.

Avocado Pairings

Reed avocados are great when eaten by themselves, but they’re even better when properly paired with other foods. If you’re feeling ambitious and curious, try some of these avocado pairings.

  • Basil
  • Black beans
  • Blue cheese
  • Chicken
  • Chilli
  • Chocolate mousse
  • Crabmeat
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapes and grapefruits
  • Limes
  • Mangoes
  • Mint
Closeup of a chicken sandwich with avocado slices on it.
Avocado slices pair nicely with chicken in a sandwich.

In general, you can combine avocado with pretty much anything and improve the dish. Avocados don’t add a ton of flavor, so as long as you like the texture and health benefits, avocados are the perfect fruit to experiment with.

How to Use It for Cooking

Avocados are very versatile when it comes to cooking. You can smash and dash them up into avocado, or you can slice and dice them and use them as toppings. Avocados go great on top of hamburgers, sandwiches, and even certain types of pizza.

Avocados are also popular with breakfast dishes such as eggs, bacon and even spread on top of toast. It’s also becoming a frequent addition to sushi, smoothies, and soups. People also like using crushed avocados as a substitute for mayo, sour cream, and ice cream. The possibilities really are endless with avocados.

Avocado spread on a dark bread slice.

Recipes that Use the Reed Avocado

Tomato, Avocado and Grilled Corn Salad

Grilled Pork with Avocado Salsa

Chicken Fajita Salad

Mango Avocado Spring Rolls

California Burger Bowls

Avocado Bean Dip Recipe

Chunky Mango Guacamole

Guacamole Recipe

An egg baked in an avocado half.
An egg baked in an avocado half.

Can You Grow the Reed Avocado at Home?

Because Reed avocados aren’t sold commercially and can be challenging to find in stores, the best way to enjoy them is to grow them at your own home. As I previously mentioned, Reed avocados are one of the best avocado varieties for first-time growers because of how productive and low-maintenance they are.

Closeup of an avocado seedling sprouting from an avocado pit.

You can optionally plant your avocado seed directly into the ground, or you can start it in a cup and transport it to the ground as it progresses. In general, avocado trees need plenty of sunlight, water, and annual pruning. Check out this link for a complete guide to growing your own avocado tree.

Pests to be on the Lookout For

Humans aren’t the only ones who love avocado trees and the fruit they produce. Here is a list of common avocado tree pests to be on the lookout for. It’s important to take the necessary measures to protect your tree from these pests.

Common Avocado Tree Diseases

Like all trees and plants, avocado trees are prone to a number of diseases. Make sure to pay careful attention to your avocado tree and take note of any unusual changes that occur.

An avocado tree showing signs of disease.
An avocado tree showing signs of disease.

How to Prune and Care for your Avocado Tree

Pruning your avocado tree and caring for your avocado tree is the only way to ensure long-term growth and production. Never skip steps during the caretaking process, and you’ll be able to enjoy delicious avocados for years to come.

When to Harvest the Reed Avocado

Reed avocados, like most avocados, ripen between the months of May and October, making them the perfect summer fruit. They start to bloom during spring but aren’t ready for harvest until mid to late summer.

Health Benefits of the Reed Avocado

While avocados are loved for their taste and recipe potential, they’re also revered for their health benefits. They’re rich in nutrients, antioxidants and promote bone growth and strength. If you’re curious about more of the incredible health benefits that avocados provide, check out this link for a complete list.

Closeup of a sliced avocado half.

Where To Buy the Reed Avocado

While Reed avocados are large and delicious, they aren’t often sold in most grocery stores. The reason for this is because Reeds don’t turn dark as they ripen. They stay relatively green throughout the ripening process and only turn black in small sections that indicate bruising.

Commercial grade avocados are often handled roughly, and bruising would be extremely obvious on Reed avocados. Therefore, the best place to buy Reeds is at farmers markets or similar venues where they’re sold by home growers. However, there are certain locations and venues where Reed avocados are produced and sold commercially.

Final Thoughts About the Reed Avocado

Closeup of a large, green avocado with smooth skin growing on a tree.

Reed avocados truly are one of the tastiest and largest avocado varieties around. If you ever have the chance to get your hands on an individual avocado or a Reed seed, you’ll want to take full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the delicious fruit and even try growing your very own avocado tree!

Are you a lucky gardener with a Reed avocado tree growing at your home? We’d love to hear all about your experiences with this avocado in the comments section below! To read more about avocados, click here for all our avocado blog posts.