The avocado is a large fleshy pear-shaped
berry. It has a single large seed surrounded by buttery pulp and a hard
skin. It is yellowish-green to maroon and purple in color. The avocado
tree is evergreen. It is shallow-rooted and there are no visible root
hairs. It has spirally-arranged leaves, variable in shape and size and
fragrant yellowish flowers.
Origin and Distribution of Avocado
The avocado originated in Central America.
The early Spanish explorers recorded its cultivation from Mexico to Peru.
It was taken to southern Spain in 1601. The fruit was introduced in
Mauritius in 1780 and it spread in Asia mostly in the mid-19th century.
Avocados are now grown in most tropical and subtropical countries
including South Africa and Australia.
Food Value of Avocado
The avocado contains more fat than any other
fruit except the olive. Its fat is of the highest quality, wholly free
from the unpleasant butyric acid with which many fats are contaminated. It
contains a sufficient amount of vitamin A to maintain high resistance
against bacterial infection, a quality possessed by few vegetable fats.
The protein of avocado is of the finest
quality and is much superior to protein of bread and other cereal foods.
Its composition is almost identical with that of milk. In fact, the pulp
of the fruit is so free from fiber that it forms, with water, a fine
emulsion which closely resembles milk in consistency and appearance. With
the exception of an excess of fat and the lack of vitamin C, it may serve
as a very satisfactory substitute for dairy milk. Prepared thus, the
avocado may be given safely to young infants and to the feeble invalids.