There are so many things about the avocado. For instance, it is also referred to as “alligator pear” because, apparently, it was noted that many avocado trees grow near alligator habitats. The Aztecs called the tree “testicle tree” because the avocados, as they hang from the tree in pairs, look like dangling male testicles. They also — surprisingly — belong to the same plant family as the bay leaves, cinnamon and camphor. And of course, for those who do not know, avocado is a great butter substitute because of its creamy texture.
The avocado is native to Puebla, Mexico but it has managed to find its way across the globe in other tropical soils as well. Outside the Americas, the avocado is very popular in Asia and is usually consumed as a dessert fruit or shake. Of course, in the western hemisphere, avocado’s famous association is with the classic guacamole which is perfect as a dip or as a side dish.
Avocados are creamy in texture and have a subtle flavor that is neither sweet nor savory. It can be easily mashed and can be eaten straight from the skin. Its flesh is noted to easily turn brown due to enzymatic browning, and the common solution is to squeeze lemon or lime juice over the peeled fresh.
The world has many uses for the avocado. Vegetarians love this fruit although nutritionists are aware of its high monosaturated fat content. It is a great component for both savory and sweet dishes. Avocados can be enjoyed as a puree, as a juice and as additional slices to salads, sandwiches and even soups.
Many Asian countries like the India and the Southeast Asian nations love their avocados as a dessert. They turn them into milkshakes and as an ice cream flavor. In Ethiopia, they love to serve avocado as a juice with water and sugar, complemented with a slice of lemon. In Australia, New Zealand and Ghana, avocado is served with bread either as a sandwich ingredient or as a spread. The liqueur Advocaat from the Dutch-speaking populations in Suriname and Recife use the avocado puree as a thickener and flavor source.
In addition to its flexibility and exotic flavor, avocados are recognized for its nutritional value. Avocados are rich in potassium, vitamin E, vitamin K and the B vitamins. It is also quite high in fiber.
Avocados may be a too-exotic fruit for some, but its uses actually make this lovely fruit a great all-around ingredient. Simply mash it and sweeten it with sugar or a drizzle of honey and you’re all set. Or you can go as complex by turning it into a cake. Even though the avocado looks strange as it dangles from the tree, its possibilities as an ingredient are endless.