“The avocado is a food without rival among the fruits, the veritable fruit of paradise.” So said early 20th-century adventurer and U.S. Department of Agriculture botanist David Fairchild when he introduced the gorgeous fruits to the United States. And he was right. Avocados are creamy, delicious, vitamin-heavy symbols of nature offering us the good life at a bargain price. All this, plus their versatile value for your body both inside and out make avocados well worth celebrating, as we do every July 31 on National Avocado Day.
National Avocado Day - History
Into the mainstream
Avocados become commercially available in the United States, with people mostly adding them to salads.
Welcome to the US
Horticulturist Henry Perrine first planted avocados in Florida.
The avocado is named
Naturalist Sir Hans Sloane named “the avocado or alligator pear-tree" in his catalog of Jamaican plants.
Avocado trees grown
Researchers believe that Mesoamerican tribes like the Inca, the Olmec and the Maya grew domesticated avocado trees.
Avocados eaten in Mexico
Archaeologists have found evidence that wild avocados were gathered and eaten in central Mexico.
National Avocado Day Activities
1. Break the guacamole barrier.
If you're creative in the kitchen, the avocado and the blender are your friends. Blend it with some bananas and cocoa powder and you'll have chocolate pudding. Blend it with some garlic, olive oil, salt and lemon juice, and you've got salad dressing. If you want to make something with a fresh healthy fat, reach for an avo!
2. Have an avo-makeover.
Mashed avocado with banana and olive oil make a great hair conditioning paste. Mash it up with some olive oil, honey, and yogurt and you have an ideal facial mask. Dry up the pit and grind it up with some avocado flesh and salt to create an exfoliating foot scrub. Treat yourself!
3. Nurture the pit and grow a house plant.
Just clean off the huge seed, pierce it with three toothpicks and submerge it right-side up in a glass of water. In about eight weeks it'll start to sprout, and when your avocado tree is six inches long, you can plant it in soil. Just be sure to keep it on a sunny windowsill. They love that natural light!
5 Tasty Facts About Avocados
1. Super (Bowl) treat
53.5 million pounds of guacamole are eaten every Super Bowl Sunday
2. Avocado equals berry
Because it's a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary, an avocado is actually a berry
3. Top nutritional fruit
Avocados contain the most protein and fiber of any fruit
4. Different types
There are 1,062 varieties of avocado
5. Colorful nickname
In Jamaica, avocados were once called "alligator pears"
Why We Love National Avocado Day
A. They're extremely healthy.
Avocados played a huge role in the health food revival in the US a generation ago, and for good reason. They're packed with potassium to keep your blood pressure lower, oleic acid for reducing inflammation, fiber for your metabolism, and antioxidants that keep your eyes healthy.
B. They'll make you look good.
Fresh avocados have some ancient anti-aging secrets inside of them. You can use both the luxurious, creamy flesh as well as the mineral-packed pit of the avocado to condition your hair, moisturize your skin, remove your makeup, and treat your wrinkles.
C. They're incredibly versatile in the kitchen.
Avocados are nothing if not a culinary imagination booster! We're not just talking guacamole and toast. You can use them as a base for salad dressing, chilled soup, ice cream, pudding, pasta sauce, bread, and lots more.