Botany at the dinner table: Avocado

Avocado is a berry and the main ingredient in guacamole.

Avocados are a berry (yes, a berry!) in the Lauraceae (laurel) family and sometimes called an alligator pear. Some members of the laurel family include bay leaf, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and sassafras. The botanical name for avocado is Percy Americana. sex Persia Consists of or evergreen trees that produce berries.

Many people think of avocados as drupes, as are cherries, peaches, and olives. Fruits classified as drupes have very hard shells around their seeds. This hard covering is called the endocarp, and is often referred to as the pit. On the contrary, avocado is a berry because its inner shell is soft and has a smooth texture.

Avocados are native to Latin America and the Caribbean. Mexico is the largest producer of avocados in the world. In the United States, California is the largest producer of California avocados in the spring through fall.

Here are some fun facts from the Michigan State University Extension about avocados:

  • Avocados are rich in nutrients.
  • Avocado is the only fruit that contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat – the good fat.
  • Avocados act as a nutrient booster, helping you absorb fat-soluble nutrients like Vitamin A, D, K, and E.
  • Avocados have been grown for thousands of years, dating back to 500 BC
  • There are more than 400 types of avocados grown in the world, but the Hass grown in Mexico and California are the best known.
  • According to the University of California, Haas avocado got its name from a postal worker, Rudolf Haas, who purchased a seedling from a farmer in 1926 and filed a patent for the variety in 1935.
  • Hass avocados do not begin to ripen until they are picked.
  • California grows 90% of the avocados grown in the United States
  • Polyphenol oxidase in avocado cells causes an enzymatic reaction that turns the fruit brown after it has been cut. When the fruit is oxidized, it does not look good, but it is still safe to eat. To prevent avocados from “turning brown,” you can squeeze a little lemon juice onto the pulp of the fruit.

Avocado is the main component of guacamole. Guacamole has become so popular in the United States that it is estimated that the United States consumed 105 million pounds of Guacamole at Super Bowl Sunday in 2022. The downside to this delicious treat is that the United States and Canada’s appetite for guacamole and avocado is leading to deforestation in Mexico.

Here are some facts about guacamole:

  • Guacamole is a Mexican dish. The name comes from the classic nahuatl āhuacamōlli, which literally means “avocado sauce”.
  • The ancient Aztecs invented guacamole, and they called it ahuaca mole.
  • Molli Nahautl meant “crushed thing” while ahuactl refers to the testicles, or the seeds of the fruit remind them of testicles.
  • Created on April 6, 2018, the largest Guacamole meal weighed 8,351 pounds and took more than 350 people to prepare.

Are you ready to try your delicious guacamole? Try this recipe from


Beginning to the end: 20 minutes

stakes: 6


3 avocados (large, ripe)

1 tomato (medium), seeded and cut into cubes

1/2 white onion, diced

1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro (1/3 bunch)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Half a teaspoon of black pepper


  1. Cut three avocados in half lengthwise; Remove the cores and scrape the avocado pulp with a spoon. Place in a medium, flat-bottomed bowl and mash avocado with a potato masher until thickened.
  2. Squeeze lemon juice directly over the avocado while preparing the rest of your ingredients.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, onions and chopped coriander. Season with half a teaspoon of salt and a quarter of a teaspoon of black pepper.
  4. Stir just until blended and serve.

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