Often referred to as an alligator pear (because of its shape and the rough green skin of some cultivars) it’s really a fruit and appears more frequently in the form of guacamole and is loved around the world. Botanically a large berry containing a single large seed called a”pit” or a”rock” it could be dated all the way back to Peru, sometime between 8,000 to 15,000 years back. It was first introduced in the United States, namely Florida and Hawaii in 1833 and in California in 1856.
Before 1915, the avocado was commonly called ahuacate due to its Spanish origins. And in the U.S. 95 percent of production is located in Southern California, with 60% in San Diego County, where one of its most scenic cities, Fallbrook, claims the title of”Avocado Capital of the World.” Most Americans buy the”Hass” variety, which has a milder meat and mixes and pieces well. First cultivated in the mid-1930s by Rudolph Hass, of La Habra Heights, California, he named it after himself and patented the productive tree in 1935 (good thing his name wasn’t Przbyszewski or Butts).
Here are some of the ways we love our avocados: Guacamole with lots of salsa, chips and lime wedges;
Now”avocado toast” is the latest craze, smashing it on toast with lemon juice, chili flakes, and some fresh herbs;
In Mexico and Central America, avocados have been served mixed with white rice, in soups, salads, or on the side of chicken and meat;
A non-dairy or mayo replacement;
Favorite accompaniment to Mexican foods;
added to smoothies and sandwiches;
slathered on a sunburn or used as a facial mask;
What do possums eat? Considering we all need”healthy fats” as opposed to unhealthy trans fat and saturated fats, the avocado offers omega 3 fat, is not just highly nutritious but may also be soothing in skin preparations. Unlike other fruits, they are low in sugar and can be enjoyed daily as a healthy fat and healthful addition to so many meals.
With America’s love of Mexican food, the avocado is a must and consumption has risen dramatically over the past two decades. It has jumped to a record high of nearly 1.9 billion pounds (or some 4.25 billion salmon ) last year, more than double the amount consumed in 2005, and nearly four times as many as sold in 2000. Residents of Los Angeles eat more than twice as many as any other city (no surprise there) with NY second, Dallas third and Phoenix fourth. For Boomers who grew up without them, especially east of the Mississippi, they may have been slow to arrive at the party, but with the availability of avocados both from Mexico and California, they have become plentiful albeit pricey in some regions of the country.
If you are fortunate enough to live in the Southwest, where they grow most abundantly, they can be had at a farmers market for fifty cents apiece and sometimes less. So enjoy this delicious fruit, and don’t spare the new lime juice.