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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It is fatty with a distinctive and subtle flavor, smooth and has a creamy texture...

A sumptuous description like this, can only fit the description of one of my top ten favourite fruits. I am of course talking about the avocado, an amazing fruit native to Mexico
The avocado (Persea Gratissima or Persea Americana), originated in the state of Puebla, Mexico. The oldest evidence of avocado use was found in a cave located in Coxcatlan, Puebla, Mexico that dates around 10,000 BC. The avocado tree also has a long history of cultivation in Central and South America, a water jar shaped like an avocado, dating to AD 900, was discovered in the pre-incan city of chan-chan
The word "avocado" comes from the Nahuatl word ahuacatl ("testicle", a reference to its shape)Avocados were known by the Aztecs as the "fertility fruit". In some countries of South America, the avocado is known by its Quechua name,Palta. The Nahuatl ahuacatl can be compounded with other words, as in ahuacamolli, meaning "avocado soup or sauce", from which the Mexican Spanish word guacamole derives.
The Spanish brought this fruit to the English. The early Spanish explorers discovered the Aztecs enjoying avocados, but it was long considered a tasteless food.
Avocados can not only be tossed in salads or mashed for dips like the popular guacamole, but are also used alongside a variety of breads, desserts, main dishes and non-culinary creams.

Although the prime season for avocados is late winter/early spring. They are readily available in markets year round

How to choose avocados
A ripe avocado will yield to a gentle pressure when held in the palm of the hand and squeezed. The flesh is typically greenish yellow to golden yellow when ripe. The flesh is prone to enzymatic browning and turns brown quickly after exposure to air. To prevent this, lime or lemon juice can be added to avocados after they are peeled, but a good advice is to use them right before eating them because nothing will stop them from deteriorating

Most common types are:
Bacon, Fuerte, Gwen, Hass, Pinkerton, Reed, and Zutano, with many chefs having particular preference for the Hass variety

Interesting facts of avocados
Avocados are generally served raw, mostly because heat makes the avocado turn bitter so the suggestion is, if you need to cook an avocado do it for a brief period of time only. Prolonged cooking induces a chemical reaction in all the different varieties of avocados that renders the flesh inedible

Both green and dried leaves of the avocado tree can be used for wrapping tamales, or seasoning for barbecues and stews. Dry leaves will keep for several months on a tightly-closed container

The avocado plant was introduced to Indonesia in 1750, Brazil in 1809, the Levant in 1908, and South Africa and Australia in the late 19th century. Since the 15th century the largest producer is Mexico, particularly in Uruapan in the state of Michoacan

Avocados did not become a commercial crop until the early 1900s

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