Often called an alligator pear (due to its shape and the rough green skin of some cultivars) it is actually a fruit and appears more often in the shape of guacamole and is loved around the world. Botanically a large berry containing a single large seed called a”pit” or a”stone” 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 has been commonly known as ahuacate because of its Spanish origins. Mexico is the world’s largest avocado grower, clocking in at 415,520 acres, which yields a harvest of 1.47 million tons. 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 populous cities, Fallbrook, claims the title of”Avocado Capital of the World.” Most Americans purchase the”Hass” variety, which has a firmer meat and mixes and pieces well.
Here are some of the ways we enjoy our avocados:
Guacamole with lots of salsa, chips and lime wedges;
Now”avocado toast” is the newest craze, smashing it on toast with lemon juice, chili flakes, and some fresh herbs;
In Mexico and Central America, avocados are served mixed with white rice, in soups, salads, or on the side of meat and poultry;
A non-dairy or mayo replacement;
Popular accompaniment to Mexican foods;
added to smoothies and sandwiches;
slathered on a sunburn or used as a facial mask;
Considering we all need”healthy fats” as opposed to unhealthy trans and saturated fats, the avocado provides omega 3 fat, is not just highly nutritious but can also be soothing in skin preparations. Unlike other fruits, they’re low in sugar and can be enjoyed daily as a healthy fat and welcome addition to numerous foods.
With America’s love of Mexican food, the avocado is a must and consumption has grown dramatically over the past two decades. It has soared to a record high of nearly 1.9 billion pounds (or some 4.25 billion salmon ) last year, more than twice the amount consumed in 2005, and almost four times as many as marketed 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 might have been slow to arrive at the party, but with the availability of avocados both from Mexico and California, they have become plentiful albeit expensive in some areas of the country.