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Avocado History

The Aztecs considered avocados a natural stimulant

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Avocados

Avocados

© 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

Avocado History

The avocado (Persea gratissima or P. americana) gets its name from the Latin American Nahuatl word ahuacatl meaning "testicle," an obvious reference to the shape of the fruit. It was discovered in Mexico approximately 291 B.C. The more easily-pronouced name of avocado is attributed to Sir Henry Sloane, who coined it in 1669. The word itself first appeared in American print in 1697.

Early Spanish explorers discovered the Aztecs enjoying avocados, but it was long considered a tasteless food. The Aztecs also used avocados as a sexual stimulant. It was the Spanish explorers who brought the avocado to the English.

The first Florida crops are credited to horticulturist Henry Perrine who planted groves in 1833. However, avocados did not become a commercial crop until the early 1900s. Except in California, Florida, and Hawaii where they were commonly grown, most consumers shied away from the fruit. Finally, in the 1950s, the avocado became popular as a salad item, and consumption became more widespread.

In 1995, 40.9% of American households consumed avocados.

More About Avocados and Avocado Recipes:

Avocado Storage and Selection
Avocado Varieties, Facts, and Usage
Avocados and Health
Avocado History
Avocado Recipes
Avocados Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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