Do you know what an alligator pear is? Probably not, because in the early 1900s the fruit known as the alligator pear was renamed to sound more appealing, more appetizing and more marketable. Today, we know the alligator pear as an avocado. This creamy, subtly delicious fruit has been making its way into Americans hearts with vigor over the past few decades. Just last year, Americans consumed roughly 4.25 billion avocados, doubling the consumption from 2005. With its high nutrition profile and many uses both in the beauty and culinary fields, it is not a wonder that the avocado has been gaining so much attention. In fact, September 16th has been officially marked as National Guacamole Day, celebrating the most beloved avocado dish of all.
Called a superfruit by some, the avocado is a unique fruit due to its high mono-saturated fat (the good fat) and protein makeup. Avocados are low in sodium and fructose but high in potassium, containing twice that of a banana, and essential vitamins and minerals such as fiber, vitamin K, B5, B6 and C and foliate. Additionally they are said to:
- Help maintain healthy cholesterol levels
- Lower the risk of heart disease
- Help the body efficiently absorb fat soluble nutrients
- Ease arthritis symptoms
- Reduce the risk of certain cancers
- Boost eye and heart health
- Promote weight loss
How to Eat Them
Avocados can be eaten every which way, but the first step is making sure your avocado is ripe. Typically avocados will take 4 to 6 days to ripen. You can tell when they are ripe by gently pushing down on them. A ripe avocado should give a bit when you add pressure but it if the avocado is too soft that means it is probably over ripe and will be brown when you cut into it. If the avocado is hard it means it is not yet ripe. One trick is to flick off the tiny stem of the avocado. If it is green underneath that means the avocado is ripe. If it is brown underneath it is overripe and if the stem doesn’t come off it needs more time to ripen.
If you want to speed up the ripening process, place the avocado in a paper bag with a banana or apple. The ethylene gas released from the apples and bananas will cause the avocados to ripen faster.
Once you have your ripe avocado there are a million ways to eat it. At Margaritas we use avocados daily as the main ingredient in our handmade fresh guacamole. We also use them to top of our burgers, add a subtle burst of flavor and nutrition to our salads or added to any of our tacos, burritos or enchiladas. If you are cooking at home, or not in the mood for Mexican (gasp), here are some other ideas:
- Avocado toast with hummus, cucumber, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes
- Eaten right out of the skin, sprinkled with salt and pepper
- Egg and avocado breakfast sandwich
- Cobb salad
- Avocado green sauce
- Avocado smoothie
- Fried avocados
- Rice bowl with eggs, beans and avocados
- Avocado soup
Thanks to the many naturally occurring oils in the avocado, it is praised for its many beauty applications, including:
The avocado also acts as a natural sunscreen and can be used to tame frizzy hair, treat dandruff, eliminate bad breath, treat dehydrated skin and act as a calming shaving cream.
Avocado Fun Facts
We now all know that the avocado is a versatile, nutrient dense, delicious fruit that once went by the name of alligator pear. But did you know that…
- Avocados were once a luxury food
- The pit of the avocado contains a milky red or black liquid that was once used as ink for writing
- The avocado pit ink can be used as a natural food dye
- The word “avocado” comes from the Aztec word, “ahuacati” which means testicle tree
- Ancient Aztecs believed the avocado promoted fertility
- The Mayans believed the avocado to be an aphrodisiac
- There was once a ban on importing avocados from Mexico to the United States. That ban was lifted in the late 1990s
- 95% of avocados consumed in the US are Haas avocados
- As of 2013 Los Angeles consumed the most avocados at 293.15 million followed by New York, Dallas and Phoenix.
At Margaritas we love avocados for their versatility, taste and nutritional value, which is why we sprinkle our entire menu with them. However, the avocado is at its best when it stars in our fresh-made Guacamole. Made continuously throughout the day, we take perfectly ripe avocados and mash it with some special ingredients to make it the perfect complement to anything on our menu. We also can add in extra ingredients too to make it just the way you want it! Have you tried Guacamole with Bacon? How about Corn or Pineapple Salsa?
We are a community oriented restaurant offering a wide variety of dishes, over 20 different margaritas and a vibrant south of the border feel. Make sure you mark your calendar for September 16th and come on down to Margaritas to help us celebrate National Guacamole Day! We will be making the guacamole fresh (As usual) and offering guests samples so they can taste the deliciousness of the mashed Alligator Pear!