With a dark, bumpy rind and a smooth, greenish flesh, avocados are America’s favorite superfruits. They blend easily in dips, salads, smoothies, and desserts and have a long list of health benefits for people of all age groups. Before you pick up your next avocado, we want to make sure you know everything there is to know about these fruits. That’s why we’re going to share with you plenty of incredible avocado facts today.
Let’s get started!
1. Avocado is a kind of berry
We know what you’re thinking: the berries you usually come across are all tiny-sized and have multiple seeds, don’t they?
Well, while most berries are small and have many seeds, it is the avocado’s fleshy body (pericarp) that makes the botanists categorize it as a berry. In this light, avocado might just be the only single-seeded berry that we know of!
2. Avocado is also referred to as alligator pear
Although avocados and pears are not related fruits, because of their similar shape and rough, leathery rind, they’re also called alligator pears. Some of the other names for this fruit include vegetable butter and butter pear.
3. Avocados have an interesting history behind their name
The naming of avocados has a rather long and interesting history. Long, long ago, the shape of avocados was compared to men’s testicles. This is how the Aztecs started calling them ahuacatl, an Aztec term for testicles.
Then, the Spanish modified it a little and started calling them aguacate, a term which is still very much in use in the Spanish language. It was in the 1600s that the name of these fruits was transliterated into English, and the term avocado came into existence.
4. Avocado has Mexican origins
While avocados are commercially grown in over 60 different countries today, these fruits find their roots in the southern and central regions of Mexico.
In fact, the country is still the largest avocado producer globally, accounting for over 30% of the total yearly production. Furthermore, the national fruit of the country also happens to be avocado.
5. Avocado is a tropical fruit
Many of you might already know this, but fruits that grow on trees that are endemic to the tropics (regions close to the Equator) are called tropical fruits. And because the avocado trees are endemic to the tropical regions of Mexico, it makes avocado a tropical fruit.
6. Ample sunlight is essential for the growth of avocados
As we’ve just discussed above, avocados are tropical fruits, which is why it needs plenty of sunlight to grow and bear fruits. Therefore, while you can use their pit to grow houseplants, those plants will remain fruitless until they’re exposed to sunlight.
7. Humans have been eating avocados for a long, long time
While the English name for the avocado may have appeared in the 17th century, humans have enjoyed this fruit from much earlier.
Scientists have discovered the oldest avocado pit in the world in the Coxcatlan Cave of Tehuacan Valley, Mexico, dating back to around 9,000-10,000 years.
In fact, humans, more specifically the South Americans, have been growing avocado trees for even longer, known to begin around 5,000 BC!
8. Avocado has a lot of diversity
This might come as a surprise to you, but there are over 500 different varieties of Avocados grown globally, all of them showing variation in their size, shape, texture, and rate of maturity.
9. Hass Avocados: the most popular avocado variety in the world
While it is difficult to remember the names of all 500 Avocado varieties, we’re sure you must be familiar with Hass Avocado, which happens to be the most popular avocado variety in the world.
Hass is one of the larger and heavier avocado varieties, with the mass of a single fruit ranging between 300-400 grams. It has a rough-textured, dark green rind and soft, buttery flesh inside.
Hass avocado owes its popularity to its nutty flavor, longer shelf-life, and higher yield than most other varieties. It is named after Rudolph Huss, a Californian mail carrier who also happened to be an amateur horticulturist.
10. Avocado has more Potassium than even bananas!
Ask anyone around for a Potassium-rich fruit, and they’ll automatically mention bananas. But are bananas indeed the richest source of Potassium in the fruit family? Not really.
While 100 grams of ripe banana contains 326 milligrams of Potassium, you’ll find 485 milligrams of it in the same amount of avocado. So, the next time you see someone loading up on bananas for the sake of Potassium, throw an avocado their way instead.
11. Avocado is a climacteric fruit
Are you hearing the term climacteric for the first time? Allow us to explain.
Climacteric fruits are those fruits that mature on the trees but ripen after they’ve been plucked, as opposed to the non-climacteric fruits that are done ripening on the tree itself and slowly begin to rot after being plucked.
The avocado belongs to the first category, with some other examples of climacteric fruits, including apples, mangoes, bananas, cantaloupes, peaches, and so on.
12. Avocado has a poisonous pit
While removing the seeds or pits from fruits is the first thing we do while eating them, when eating an avocado, you need to be more cautious. It is because avocado’s pit isn’t just a choking threat but also poisonous.
Yes, you read that right. The pit of these tropical fruits contains small amounts of a fungicidal toxin called persin. And while a single pit will not be lethal to humans, several pits will certainly be. This is also why pet parents are advised to keep their pets away from avocado pits.
Apart from the pit, Persin is also found in the outer skin of these fruits, as well as the stems, bark, and leaves of the tree. In other words, only the flesh of the avocado is the edible part of their trees.
13. Avocado pits and peels can produce natural dye when boiled
Do you fancy dying your tees? Then the persin-rich pits and peels of avocado that you were planning to throw away might be of great use to you!
Both the pits and peels of these fruits, when boiled in water for about an hour, release a soft pinkish hue that can be used as a natural dye for clothes.
14. Avocado trees have surprisingly long lifespans
While a ripe avocado can only last about 3-5 days, even when stored in the refrigerator, the trees that they grow on are much hardier. The average lifespan of these trees ranges from 200 to 400 years!
Avocado trees reach maturity a little late, at around 10-14 years. But once they’re mature, they’ll bear fruits year after year for decades, with a single tree feeding several generations. These trees are also exceptionally tall, reaching the height of about 60-80 feet!
15. Avocado flowers can self-pollinate but prevent it
Did you know that the flowers of avocado trees have functional male as well as female organs? But the tree has a weird way of preventing self-pollination, wherein the male and female organs are never active together and take turns for it.
They have a 2-days cycle, where the female organs are functional on day 1 and the male organs on day 2. What’s even more fascinating is that every flower of a tree has a synchronized functional period to eliminate the chances of self-pollination further.
16. California is the avocado capital of the United States
As of 2020, the United States ranks tenth on the list of avocado-producing countries in the world. But do you know which state is responsible for it? California.
About 90% of the total domestic avocados produced in the country come from this state, making it the avocado capital of the country. The Californian avocado trees grow about 150 avocados every year on average.
17. L.A. has the highest avocado consumption record in the United States
While California ranks the top in the cultivation of avocados, Los Angeles has set the record in its consumption. Consuming over 300 million avocados in a single year, the people of L.A. eat the most avocados in the entire nation.
Dallas, New York, Houston, and Phoenix are closely following L.A. on the list now and might even replace it in the coming years.
18. Avocados can be used as a replacement for butter!
If you’re looking for a low-calorie replacement for butter, look no further than avocados. Yes, you read that right. The soft flesh of these fruits, with their buttery texture, can easily be used in any baked good in place of butter.
The difference between the calorific count of the same amount of avocado and butter is at least 300 kcal. Moreover, those who use avocado in baking have also found their final product to be moister.
19. The leaves of avocado trees are also used in Mexican cuisine
While avocado is integral to Mexican cuisine, did you know that their leaves are also a part of it? These leaves have a flavor similar to that of Anise and are used as a spice, particularly in bean dishes. In Mexico, these leaves are sold in both dried and fresh form and are often roasted before use.
20. Bananas can help avocados ripe faster!
If you’ve bought avocados that are still in the process of ripening, you can help speed it along by putting them in a paper bag with a ripe banana. In this manner, the ethylene emitted by bananas combined with avocados’ own ethylene release will result in a faster ripening of the fruits.
21. Avocado oil is ideal for high-heat cooking
While the smoking point of most cooking oils ranges between 200-230 degrees Celcius, for refined avocado oil, it’s over 270 degrees Celcius, making it ideal for high-heat cooking.
22. Avocado is healthy for your eyes
Avocados contain lutein, which is both a carotenoid and an antioxidant naturally found in your eyes. Their job (along with a few other carotenoids) is to protect your eyes from high-energy light rays, including the U.V. rays from the sun.
Lutein is also present in avocados and is known to maintain your overall eye health alongside reducing the likelihood of age-related eye issues like cataracts.
23. Eating avocados can help those who suffer from depression
In a survey conducted in 2022, it was found that the adolescents of the nation (aged between 12 and 17) have the highest rate of depressive episodes among all age groups. If someone you know in your school is going through the same, recommending them avocados might help.
24. Avocados can do wonders for your skin
We already learned about the presence of lutein in avocados and its function in the eyes. Well, this antioxidant does the same job for your skin, preventing it from sun damage and inflammation.
Furthermore, avocados also have a high monosaturated fat content, which improves the elasticity of your skin and prevents the appearance of wrinkles, making you look younger for much longer!
25. People with Arthritis must eat avocados!
Arthritis is a painful inflammatory disease that 1 out of every 4 U.S. citizens suffers from today. If someone you know is also a victim of it, the best fruit you could offer them is an avocado.
Avocado is one of the few fruits that contain Vitamin E, a micronutrient with strong anti-inflammatory properties that can do wonders for painful, swollen joints.
26. The North Americans use avocado as a vegetable
Despite being a fruit, the most common use of avocados in North America is in vegetable salads. This is why you might also commonly come across conflicts about it being a fruit or vegetable. On the other hand, in Brazil, people prefer to use mashed avocados in shakes, smoothies, sherbets, and ice-creams.
27. Guacamole is the most popular avocado dish in the world
Guacamole is an avocado-based dip or spread that originated in Mexico and is now popular throughout the world. The main ingredient of this dip is obviously avocado, with other ingredients being used, including salt, lime, onions, cilantro, and jalapenos.
The term Guacamole itself originated from an Aztec term ahuacamoli which translates to avocado sauce in English.
28. July 31st is celebrated as National Avocado Day
Because avocados are such superfruits that are just as nutrient-dense as they’re delicious, we’ve dedicated a separate day to celebrate their existence in our world. National Avocado Day is celebrated on the last day of July (July 31st) every year, as it marks the peak of the avocado season in the nation.
Wrapping it up
With this, we’ve reached the end of our article. Today, we learned so many interesting facts about avocados, straight from their roots in Mexico to the global popularity of guacamole. Which of these facts was the most surprising to you? If you liked it, please share it on social media.