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Avocado From A to Z: 26 Interesting Things to Know

Avocado From A to Z: 26 Interesting Things to Know

Tasty and juicy, avocado is one of the most versatile ingredients you can use in your recipes: here are 26 avocado facts and figures you maybe still don't know.

By FDL on

Appetite suppressant. A scientific study has proved that the consumption of at least half an avocado in the course of a meal helps suppress the appetite longer in the hours to follow.

Billions. The worldwide consumption of avocados is truly remarkable. In the United States alone – a country whose culinary tradition does not contemplate this ingredient - , its popularity has soared in the past 15 years to reach an annual consumption of around 4.25 billion. This year, on Super Bowl Sunday alone, 53.5 million avocados were devoured!

Cholesterol-free. The fat content of avocado belongs to the so-called “good” fats which help lower “bad” cholesterol. It is therefore good for the heart, as demonstrated by a study published early in the year in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Din-dins. Simply perfect as a baby food after mother’s own milk: just reduce it to a pulp and serve!

E vitamin. This is just one of almost 20 vitamins and mineral salts contained in each portion of avocado. It is an essential nutrient for man and a powerful antioxidant – together with vitamins A and C, while vitamin B combats infections and disease and vitamin K is good for bones and blood.

Fat substitute. It can be used to replace oil and butter in many recipes for oven-baked products – such as brownies. Two spoonfuls of avocado contain 50 calories, compared to the 204 calories in 2 spoonfuls of butter.

Guacamole recipe. The most famous avocado-based recipe in the world dates back to the ancient Aztec civilization and its traditional method calls for the use of a 'molcajete', a typical Mexican pestle and mortar for mashing and mixing the ingredients.

Hass. This is the best-known avocado variety – and considered by many to be the best –: dark, with a knobbly skin (hence the name of the fruit, ‘alligator pear’) and pear-shaped. Other well-known varieties are Ettinger and Fuerte smooth-skinned avocados and Nabal with its characteristic round shape.

Intoxication. There is not much danger of being affected by pesticide intoxication when eating avocados: its thick skin protects the pulp. According to the Environmental Working Group, avocado is one of the ‘cleanest’ fruits – and vegetables.

Juice. Avocado can also be served as a drink, often mixed with milk, like a sort of milkshake. In the regions of Southern India it is frequently mixed with spices – the version with cardamom is particularly worth tasting.

Kenya. In certain countries, such as Kenya and Nigeria, avocado is eaten 'as nature created it’: without any type of dressing, just like any other fruit.

Low sugar. The sugar content of avocado is very low, especially when compared to most other fruits.

Mexico. The homeland of avocado and the number one producer of this fruit in the world. It originally came from central Mexico and the first archaeological proof of its existence dates back to 12,000 years ago. Today, Mexico accounts for 45% of the international market, followed by Chile, Indonesia and the United States.

Nutrients. The nutrients of avocado are concentrated in the flesh attached to the skin (and stone): it is important not to lose them when preparing the fruit. Instead of scooping out the flesh with a spoon, remove the peel delicately.

Or. Sweet or savoury? Throughout the world, the choice has often been a question of: either, or. For instance, in Portuguese speaking countries such as Brazil, it has always been enjoyed as a dessert mixed with sugar and lime whilst the Spanish-speaking countries of South America have always used it as an ingredient in savoury recipes. Globalization and the recent planetary obsession for avocado is gradually transforming ‘or’ into ‘and’.

Picnic & BBQ. A luxurious sandwich ingredient and an excellent accompaniment for barbecues: just cut it in half and grill it for a couple of minutes before serving with olive oil, sea salt and herbs.

Query. How many avocado-based recipes exist in the world? An amazing number: if you search the most popular recipe sites, you come up with almost 2,000 results on and over 2,500 on!

Raw. The best way to eat avocado is raw. Most varieties do not take kindly to the heat and may only be cooked very briefly before they start to taste bitter. Some cultivars even become uneatable; in any case it is always unadvisable to cook avocado at length.

Superfood. Avocado is rightly considered to be one of the superfoods offered by planet Earth. As well as vitamins and minerals – ranging from potassium to folic acid – it supplies all the important proteins and has more fibre than most fruit and vegetable varieties.

Testicle. In the Aztec language, the word 'ahuacatl', from which 'avocado' derives, means 'testicle'. In fact avocado is an aphrodisiacal food conferring energy and virility; it is rich in vitamin B6 which facilitates the production of hormones and this amounts to sexual passion in the case of men.

Unripe. It is perfectly alright to buy avocados when they are still green and hard, and then let them ripen for a few days in the house. Putting them into a paper bag speeds up this process, even more so if they are in the company of a banana.

Vinaigrette. Avocado makes an excellent ingredient in vinaigrette sauce: it adds flavour and extra nutrition to your salad dressing.

Waste. Don’t throw the stone away! It is easy and fun to grow a plant and you will eventually be able to eat your home-grown avocados. What is more: the avocado peel and stone can be used to make a natural textile dye: surprisingly, it turns pink and not green. And then of course, compost, tea and smoothies can be made from the stone and some people even swear that it stops guacamole from going black if you place one in the middle…

Xxx. This fruit’s reputation for being aphrodisiacal has spread through different countries and ages. In the twenties of the last century, an American advertising campaign denied such powers on the grounds of reverse psychology: as the admen hoped, the public fell for it and secretly started to consume the forbidden fruit.

Young. Avocado is an extraordinary antioxidant as well as having great moisturizing properties, which makes it an excellent ingredient for home-made beauty products. Mash it to a pulp and use it as a nutritious face mask or as a mask for dry and damaged hair.

Zaboca. This is the Caribbean name for avocado, particularly in Trinidad and Tobago, where 'zaboca choka' is the Caribbean-style guacamole, spiced up of course by delicious Scotch bonnet peppers, an autochthonous variety of chilli pepper.

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