The Chronicle Gambia

You Are What You Eat: Avocados

The idea behind this column is to promote the culture of eating what we grow and growing what we eat. It goes without saying that a healthy mind can only be found in a healthy body. There is also a saying which appears simple but is in fact deep in meaning, “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT”.

“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” -Ancient Earthian Ayurvedic Proverb

This week we will take a look at Avocado:


Avocados are fruits that grow on a tree and can be technically classified as a berry. They have a taste that ranges from rich, creamy and buttery to light and fruity, depending on the variety. There are many varieties of avocados, several of which are grown commercially. The Hass variety is the most popular commercially grown variety and has a deep, rich flavor. Avocados are ready to eat when they are slightly soft and yield to gentle pressure. The skin is peeled away and the flesh of the fruit is eaten. Avocados can be eaten by themselves or used for guacamole, sandwiches, salads, omelets, desserts and much more.


The avocado is native to the area stretching from the eastern and central highlands of Mexico through Guatemala, to the Pacific coast of Central America. There is evidence that avocados have been utilized in Mexico for 10,000 years. The Spanish Conquistadors were the first Europeans to discover the fruit, native to the Americas, which the indigenous people of Mexico, Central America and South America had been using for thousands of years. Martin Fernandez De Encisco wrote the first published account of the fruit in 1519, announcing its existence to Europe. Naturalist, Sir Hans Sloan, was the first to use the name “avocado” in a catalogue of Jamaican plants he published in 1696. During the 1700s, European sailors used the avocado as a spread for biscuits, which led to the name “midshipman’s butter”.

Avocado trees were introduced to California by 1856, when trees brought from Nicaragua were noticed growing near San Gabriel. In 1911, Carl Schmidt, a plant explorer, collected budwood of a seedling that eventually became the Fuerte. This variety was the basis of the California avocado industry for many years. Avocados were introduced in Florida by 1850, and, in the 1930s, autumn and winter varieties were adapted. While commercial varieties of avocados arrived in Chile from California in 1928, avocados have been growing in that country since colonial times. The avocado arrived in Indonesia in 1750, Brazil in 1809, Israel in 1908, and South Africa and Australia in the late 19th century. In the late 1920s, Mr. Rudolph Hass discovered what would become the Hass variety. It is currently the most widely grown commercial and popular avocado variety.

The Many Names of the Avocado

The scientific name for avocado is Persea Americana
The Aztecs first called the fruit aoacatl, which was later translated into ahuacatl
The most common English name for this fruit is avocado, modified from the early Spanish name aguacate or ahuacate
In Jamaica, and at one time in Florida, the common name was alligator pear
The common Dutch name for the fruit is advocaat or avocat
The German common name is abakate
The common name in Portuguese is abacate
A common name in some South American countries is palta, which is the name originally used by the Incas.
In the 1700s, it was called midshipman’s butter by European sailors.
Avocados are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Magnoliales, family Lauraceae.




Nutritional Information Amount per serving
Cholesterol 0 mg
Carbohydrates 9 g
Dietary Fiber 6 g
Fat 13 g
Calories 150 g


  • 4 ripe, Fresh California Avocados, seeded and peeled
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 drops hot pepper sauce
  • Tortilla chips


  1. Using a fork, coarsely mash avocado with lemon juice and garlic.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients to blend.

Serving Suggestions:
Garnish as desired and serve with tortilla chips.

*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about  8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Sources: The Avocado: Botany, Production and Uses

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