A BRIEF AVOCADO HISTORY
Spanish explorers in Mexico encountered new foods, including avocados*. Martín Fernández de Enciso (ca, 1470-1528) was the first European to describe them, in a book written in 1519.
The Aztec name for the fruit is ahuacatl (ah-hwa-CAH-tay); the Spanish pronounced and spelled it it aguacate. The returning conquistadors brought avocado trees back to Europe [source].
In 1653, a Spanish padre, Bernabe Cobo, described the different varieties of avocado in Guatemala, Mexico and the West Indies.
Sir Hans Sloane, an Irish naturalist, is believed to have inadvertently coined the word “avocado” in 1696, when he mentioned the plant in a catalogue of Jamaican plants. He also called it the “alligator pear-tree” after the fruit’s pebbly skin.
George Washington was one of the people who described eating avocados in the West Indies. He visited the Barbados in 1751, and later wrote that the “agovago pears” were a popular food.
Avocados Come To The U.S.
Henry Perrine, a horticulturist, first planted avocados in Florida in 1833. However, they didn’t become a commercial crop until the early 20th century.
The fact that avocados on the tree looked like testicles (in fact, the Aztec word ahuacatl means “testicle”), and were purportedly an aid to sexual prowess, kept them off the tables of polite society.
In time, they gained acceptance. By the 1950s, avocados began to appear in salads; and avocados stuffed with chicken, crab or shrimp salad became a popular ladies’ luncheon choice.
Stuffed potatoes and squash also became known as “boats”; hence, the avocado boat.
Here’s more history of avocados.
We love avocado boats, and have compiled 25 different stuffings. Other recipes, including baked and grilled versions, cook eggs in the boats. But these options simply require a ripe avocado and the filling.
Whatever you choose, a garnish of fresh herbs—basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, thyme—adds an extra flavor dimension, Lovers of spice can add a sprinkle of red chile flakes or a spicy seasoning blend.
If we’ve overlooked your favorite avocado boat filling, let us know.
*Avocado, beans, bell pepper, cacao, chile peppers, corn, potato, pumpkin and other squash and vanilla are some others.
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