The name avocado comes from the Nahuatl word ahuacatl
, meaning testicle. The Spanish conquerors called it Indian pear. Mexico is home to 20 species related to the common avocado Persea Americana
, varieties that include the Mexican avocado (Persea americana var. Drymifolia
) which is smaller, with green, purple or black skin; the Antillean
(Persea americana var. Americana
) which is the largest and features a black or green shell, matures early, and is also known as a pagua; and the Guatemalan
avocado (Persea americana var. guatemalensis
) a globular, green or black, hard, grainy, fruit with tough, thin skin and fibrous pulp.
cultures made distinctions between three types of avocado (as documented in the Florentine Codex
), aoacatl, quilaoacatl
, which may have corresponded to those listed above.
avocado tree is woody, and features aromatic bark and elongated leaves; its flowers are green and small; the pear-shaped fruit bears a center pit; green to yellow flesh, a buttery consistency and nutty flavor; avocado is rich in minerals, vitamins A, D and E, and its oil contains phytosterols, making it fit for consumption, and also for preparing creamy soups, soaps and cooking oil. September to November is prime avocado season.
fruit was domesticated in Mexico around 7000 BC, harvested as food by pre-Hispanic peoples and known to the world at large since the sixteenth century. Today it is cultivated in subtropical regions of Mexico’s central and southern highlands. Michoacán is the largest producer of Hass avocados (a hybrid of Mexican and Guatemalan varieties), exported not only as fresh fruit, but in the form of guacamole, paste, frozen halves and crude oil.
Mexico’s regional cuisines, avocados are eaten fresh as garnishes or decorations in countless dishes (broths, soups, rice, ceviche, fish and/or shellfish cocktails, pozole, roasts, tortas
and other sandwiches); they are the base for guacamole and other sauces that accompany antojito
corn-based snacks; they show up in salads, cold soups and dressings; and Mexicans have even integrated them into ice cream and desserts (made with milk). The leaves (usually toasted) are an essential aromatic in several regional cuisines, used for cooking beans or for preparing tamales, adobos