What Are They?
are a fruit that grows on a tree and can be technically classified
as a berry. They have a taste that ranges from rich, creamy and
buttery to light and fruity, depending on the variety. There are
many varieties of avocados, several of which are grown commercially.
The Hass variety is the most popular commercially grown variety
and has a deep, rich flavor. Avocados are ready to eat when they
are slightly soft and yield to gentle pressure. The peel is peeled
away and the flesh of the fruit is eaten. Avocados can be eaten
by themselves or used for guacamole, sandwiches, salads, omelets,
desserts and much more. See our recipe section for great Avocado
ideas, or use your imagination.
The avocado is native to the area stretching from the eastern and
central highland of Mexico through Guatemala to the Pacific coast
of Central America. There is evidence indicating that avocados have
been utilized in Mexico for a period of 10,000 years. The Spanish
Conquistadors discovered the fruit, native to the Americas, which
the indigenous people of Mexico, Central America and South America
had been using for thousands of years. Martin Fernandez De Encisco
wrote the first published account of this fruit in 1519 and announced
its existence to Europe. Naturalist Sir Hans Sloan was the first
to use the name avocado in a catalogue of Jamaican plants he published
in 1696. During the 1700’s European sailors used the avocado
as a spread for biscuits, which led to the name midshipman’s
butter. Avocado trees were first introduced to California before
1856. A tree brought from Nicaragua was noticed growing near San
Gabriel. In 1911 Carl Schmidt, a plant explorer, collected budwood
of a seedling which eventually became the Fuerte. This variety became
the basis of the California avocado industry for many years. Avocados
were introduced to Florida before 1850 and in the 1930’s autumn
and winter varieties were adapted. Commercial varieties of avocados
were introduced to Chile from California in 1928, however avocados
have been growing in the country since colonial times. The avocado
was first introduced to, Indonesia by 1750, Brazil in 1809, Israel
in 1908, South Africa and Australia in the late 19th century. In
the late 1920’s Mr. Rudolph Hass, who purchased the tree from
developer A. R. Rideout of Whittier, California, first discovered
the Hass variety. The Hass variety is currently the most widely
grown commercial and popular avocado variety.
The Many Names of the Avocado
||The scientific name for avocado is Persea Americana.
||The Aztecs first called the fruit aoacatl, which was later
translated into ahuacatl.
||The most common English name for this fruit is avocado, modified
from the early Spanish name aguacate or ahuacate.
|| In Jamaica and at one time in Florida the common name was
|| The common Dutch name for the fruit is advocaat or avocat.
||The German common name is Abakate.
||The common name in Portuguese is abacate.
||A common name in some South American countries is palta, which
is the name originally used by the Incas.
||In the 1700’s it was called midshipman’s butter
by European sailors.
||Avocados are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class
Magnoliopsida, order Magnoliales, family Lauraceae.
The Avocado: Botany, Production and Uses