Often referred to as an alligator pear (because of its shape and the rough green skin of some cultivars) it is really a fruit and appears more frequently in the shape of guacamole and is loved around the world. Botanically a huge 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 America, namely Florida and Hawaii in 1833 and in California in 1856.
Before 1915, the avocado has been commonly called ahuacate because of its Spanish origins. Mexico is the world’s largest avocado grower, clocking in at 415,520 acres, which yields a crop of 1.47 million tons. And in the U.S. 95 percent of production is located in Southern California, with 60 percent in San Diego County, where one of its most populous 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.
Here are some of the ways we love our avocados:
Guacamole with a great deal 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 meat and poultry;
A non-dairy or mayo replacement;
Favorite accompaniment to Mexican foods;
Considering we all want”healthy fats” instead of polyunsaturated fat and saturated fats, the avocado offers omega 3 fat, isn’t just highly nutritious but may also be soothing in skin preparations. Unlike other fruits, they’re low in sugar and can be enjoyed daily as a healthy fat and healthful addition to so many meals.
Together with America’s love of Mexican food, the avocado is a must and consumption has risen dramatically over the past two decades. It’s jumped to a record high of almost 1.9 billion pounds (or some 4.25 billion salmon ) last year, over 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 town (no surprise there) with NY second, Dallas third and Phoenix fourth. For Boomers who grew up without them, particularly 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’ve become plentiful albeit expensive in some regions of the country.
If you’re fortunate enough to live in the Southwest, where they grow most abundantly, they could be had in a farmers market for fifty cents apiece and sometimes less. So enjoy this delicious fruit, and do not spare the new lime juice.