The Avocado: a fruit that, in recent years, can be found anywhere and everywhere! Last month, we discussed where Nachos came from. This month let’s take a look at this extremely important ingredient.

Avocados have a green-skinned, fleshy body that looks very similar to a pear. When you break it down, an avocado is technically a large berry with a single seed. The fruit is grown from a tree of the same name believed to have originated in South Central Mexico. This partially explains why it has become such an important part of cultural Mexican foods.

While the avocado is believed to have originated in Mexico, the rest of the world has discovered how profitable the fruit can be. In 2017, world production of avocado was a staggering 5.9 million metric tons. Mexico led the way with 34% of all avocado distribution, but Mexico was closely followed by the Dominican Republic, Peru, Indonesia, and Columbia. In 2018, it was estimated that about 570,880 acres (92 square miles) of farmland were used for the cultivation of avocado in Mexico alone.  For reference, the City of Myrtle Beach is approximately 24 square miles.

The avocado has even been the root of international trade issues. In the early 90’s the enactment of NAFTA caused a shortage in the U.S. due to the government resisting the import. The argument was based around concerns of the what would happen to U.S. crops if Tephritidae fruit flies were introduced. Mexico attempted to calm concerns by inviting USDA inspectors to examine the crops, but the U.S. declined. The mentality was that California and Florida could supply more than enough to cover demand. However, eventually the expense of land, labor, and water in those high priced states, and Mexico’s willingness to blockade against U.S corn resulted in the U.S. government accepted the Mexican import.

Let’s move on to the more exciting things like the culinary uses of avocado. The list of items containing avocado has grown to the point you can get cook books that only contain recipes that use avocado. The most common dish that uses the avocado is the much loved Mexican dip known as guacamole. It has also become very common to see it spread on corn tortillas or toast.

But it certainly isn’t limited to being scooped by a chip. In certain countries, you will find the avocado frequently being used in milkshakes and being added to ice cream and other desserts. In Ethiopia, avocados are made into a juice by mixing them with sugar and milk. It is also common to see multi-layered fruit juices in a glass made of avocados, mangoes, bananas, guavas and papayas. Avocados are used frequently to make salads.

In Australia and New Zealand, you will find avocado served in sandwiches, with sushi, on toast or with chicken. In Mexico and Central America, avocados are a staple being mixed with white rice, in soups, mixed into salads, or on the side of chicken or other meats.

From a nutritional stand point, the avocado is rich in several B vitamins and vitamin K. It also contains a good content of vitamin C, vitamin E and potassium. Avocados are well-known for their diverse fats which is why you commonly see them used in a vegetarian diet.

Regardless of where it came from or how good it is, here at Nacho Hippo in Myrtle Beach we just like how it tastes and how it makes our tacos, nachos and tortilla chips even more enjoyable.