Happy National Avocado Day!

Happy National Avocado Day!

July 31 is National Avocado Day, an informal holiday celebrating the popular green fruit easily mistaken for a vegetable. Avocados have had a place at American tables since they arrived in the 1800s, and have a number of superfood-type features as well as being good sources for vitamins E, C, and Vitamin K.

A Brief History Of Avocados

The very first avocados are said to have been planted in Florida in 1833 by a horticulturalist named Henry Perrine. There are too many different types of avocados to name here–more than 50 were grown in Florida alone! Florida avocados are divided into summer, winter, and fall varieties and have brighter skins than the California varieties.

The most popular avocado in the United States is the Hass avocado which was found in La Habra Heights in California back in the 1920s. At first, people weren’t keen on the darker green skin of the Hass variety; in the 1950s Hass only amounted to about 15% of the market.

Compare that to the 21st century where Hass avocados represented more than 90% of the total crop of commercially harvested avocados in California. Overall, about 400 million pounds of avocados are harvested in California each year. Florida and Hawaii produce the other avocados grown domestically.

When it comes to avocado production, did you know the United States is the second largest producer after Mexico?

And that production today is mostly in California–some 90% of all avocados commercially harvested in the USA come from over five thousand California-based growers. A typical avocado grove in the U.S. is approximately 13 acres, with a single tree producing as many as 500 fruits per year. 

Health Benefits Of Avocados

Avocados have multiple varieties, the same as tomatoes, apples, and oranges. They grow in multiple shapes, colors, and sizes. Some are round, some are oval, and the edible portion of the fruit may range in color from yellow to yellow-green. This fruit is loaded with health benefits.

The avocado is considered a superfood. The fruit is full of Omega 3 and monounsaturated fat, they are good sources of Vitamins including C, E, and K, and they contain oleic acid, which is a type of healthy fat. Other nutrients in avocados include:

  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Folate
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Lutein
  • Beta carotene
Avocado Facts

Avocados are safe to eat, but like many other foods, there are procedures for food prep and handling that can help prevent salmonella, listeria, and other foodborne outbreaks. After purchase or harvest, wash your avocados under running water before doing any food prep or dining. Do this even if you plan to remove the outer skin.

When preparing avocados, follow “clean, separate, cook, and chill” food safety procedures for best results.

  • Avocado trees are native to central and northern South America.
  • Avocado trees do not require extensive pruning, but they are kept at or below 20 feet high to avoid potential wind damage.
  • Avocado trees never go dormant.
  • Avocados are harvested by hand.
  • Avocados begin to ripen immediately after being picked.
  • Avocados are susceptible to carrying certain food-borne diseases such as Listeria.
  • Avocados can be eaten raw but care should be taken with washing and handling the fruit to avoid spreading or contracting Listeria.
  • Colorado State University reports that between 2000 and 2020, some 14 avocado-associated outbreaks were reported to the CDC. Two avocado-related recalls occurred in 2018 and 2019 due to possible contamination of Listeria monocytogenes.
  • Colorado State University reports avocado outbreaks and recalls include Salmonella as well as Listeria monocytogenes.
  • The Food and Drug Administration has improved the testing of avocados and related products.
  • Types of avocados include Hass, Pinterton, Lamb Hass, Carmen Hass, Gwen, Reed, Mexicola Grande, Stewart, Holiday, Pryor (aka Fantastic), Opal (aka Lila), Fuerte, Bacon, Zutano, Sir Prize, Joey, Winter Mexican, Brogdon, Wilma aka Brazos Belle, and Wurtz or “Little Cado”.

Source: thewickednoodle.com

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