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Thursday, June 24, 2010

To Eat an Alligator Pear

When I first looked at the armored skin on this beast of a fruit, I could see how it seem to relate to the alligator. Hosting a rough protective skin. Dark Black, pebbly rich color. Often called aguacate by the early Spanish as they explored the new world. Rudolph Hass would even patent his variety in 1935. The fruit, known as the alligator pear is also called the avocado.

Although, while it often is believe the fruit gets a slang name of Alligator pear from it's appearance, it likely is from the incorrect enunciation of the word aquacate meaning avocado.

However, California farmers can be credit to the word Avocado. In 1914, they had faced a marketing problem. First, ahuacate was too hard for Americans to pronounce. Worse, it was the Aztec word for testicle, named for its shape and reputation as an aphrodisiac. Then there was the other unappealing name: "alligator pear."

The farmers came up with a new name: avocado. They informed dictionary publishers of the change — and that the plural was spelled "avocados," not "avocadoes" — and named their own group the California Avocado Association.
Avocados are believe to be over 10,000 years old growing in tropical areas from South American to the northern territory of Mexico. First written about in 1518 by Martin Fernandez de Enciso. By the late 1800's the seeds would be planted in California and Florida whereby the USA ranks third in world farming of avocados.

The delicious fruit is often treated more as a vegetable. It has great nutritional value. A high intake of the fruit has a beneficial effect on blood serum cholesterol levels. Specifically, after a seven-day diet rich in avocados, hypercholesterolemia patients showed a 17% decrease in total serum cholesterol levels. These subjects also showed a 22% decrease in both LDL (harmful cholesterol) and triglyceride levels and 11% increase in HDL (helpful cholesterol) levels.

Avocado is also known to promote healthy skin and hair. Although many people use it as a facial mask, it is most beneficial when eaten. It has an ancient reputation for inducing sexual prowess. The Aztecs, whose name for the avocado was ahuacatl, which means testicle, used the avocado as a sex stimulant and believed so deeply in its sexual nutrients that virgin women were forbidden to leave their houses during avocado harvest days. Avocados are a good source of potassium and folate, nutrients important to circulation and heart health. The Department of Urology at the University of Michigan Medical Center states that heart health is essential for erectile health. The avocado is also rich in essential fatty acids and certain B vitamins.

I enjoy eating avocado in many different recipes. Be it alone or as California Bacon Sandwich, Texas size salad, or as Guacamole with any combination of Tex-Mex foods. So the next time your shopping for avocados, ask if they have Alligator Pears.

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