Take a Photo – It’s Only an Avocado

Homemade guacamole (© Allison Bethea & Fire Horse Photographics)

Homemade guacamole (© Allison Bethea & Fire Horse Photographics)

Name the pear shaped fruit that many people around the world use for making a dip to eat with tortilla chips___________.

If your guess is avocado, then you are correct! In Mexico, the United States, and other parts of the world, avocado is used in recipes for making guacamole as well as other types of condiments and salads. But did you know that its existence dates as far back as 291 BC, where it was purported to have been buried alongside the mummies of Peru? Holy guacamole! What’s even more interesting is the word avocado is  derived from the Aztec name ‘ahuacati’, which means testicles. The Aztecs believed the pear shaped fruit when hanging from a tree resembled testicles, therefore naming it “the tree of testicles.” Eventually, ahuacati became avocado as it is mostly known today. (Editor’s note: Thank god for that! ~Allison).

By the 16th century, avocados were being transported all over the world. Today, the avocado fruit is utilized in the dishes of many cultures. For example, in Trinidad and other Caribbean islands, the avocado is known as zaboca. Trinidadians use avocados to make zaboca choka, which contains some ingredients similar to those found in Mexican guacamole (onions, habañero peppers, cilantro, and olive oil). Trinidadians eat their zaboca choka with roti, also referred to as pita bread. Here in the US, outside of Mexican-American restaurants, avocado is commonly featured in salads and on sandwiches.

The buttery fruit comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and color to include the following: Fuerte, Peruano, Lula, Ortega, Red Collinson, Alcemio, Ettinger, Gripiña 5, and many others. They are grown in tropical and subtropical regions, and in glasshouses in the more temperate zones. The avocado is very nutritious in moderation and its monounsaturated fats help reduce bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. Avocado is also high in protein and potassium and aids in building muscle tissue, bones, cartilage, and skin.

The next time you gather with friends, don’t forget to order an appetizer of guacamole to share, while educating them on your new found avocado knowledge. Better yet, make your own, have some tequila, and be sure to take some photographs. Enjoy!

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