National Avocado Day
annually on July 31st (since 2017)
Model Meals on July 12th, 2017
Today we celebrate avocados! A fruit that grows on trees, avocados have a tough skin with a greenish or yellowish flesh inside, as well as a large seed. They can range in size from that of a hen's egg to up to about four pounds, depending on their variety. Some major varieties are Hass, Fuerte, Bacon, Zutano, Rincon, Mexican, Guatemalan, Booth 8, Booth 7, Lula, and Waldin. They are native to Mexico and to the area south of there down to the Andes Mountains.
The Aztecs are known to have eaten avocados. For a long period of time, avocados were only eaten in Central and South America and in the Caribbean, where they gained the name "alligator pear." In 1833, horticulturist Henry Perrine became the first to plant avocados in Florida. They were first planted in California in the 1880s. By the turn of the century, orchards were established, and avocados first gained commercial importance.
Avocado dishes began appearing in Mexican recipe books and restaurants in the 1920s. During this time, avocados really weren't popular in the United States except for in California, Hawaii, and Florida. More Americans began embracing avocados when they became a popular salad item in the 1950s. Guacamole also gained in popularity, largely on account of the El Torito restaurant chain. In the twenty-first century, the popularity of avocados has continued to increase. According to the Hass Avocado Board, avocado consumption doubled between 2005 and 2015 and quadrupled between 2000 and 2015. Today, the biggest growers of avocados are Mexico, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, and Columbia. They are also grown in Florida, California, Hawaii, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Israel, and some Pacific Islands.
Avocados are a good or high source of vitamins C, E, K, B1, B2, A, and potassium, and they are a rich source for omega-3 fatty acids. They are high in monounsaturated fats that are healthy for the heart. One of these fats, oleic acid, is also healthy for the skin. Not only can avocados benefit the skin by being ingested, but they can be used topically. The Aztecs used them in skin masks, and by the early twentieth century, they were being used in facial cleansers, creams, and lotions. This is still the case today.
Avocados are used in savory and sweet dishes all around the world and are almost always eaten raw. One of the most common uses for avocados is guacamole. It is made by mashing them and is used as a dip for tortilla chips. Avocados are spread on toast and tortillas, eaten in salads, and even enjoyed as desserts. In some countries, they are used in milkshakes or other drinks, and sometimes in ice cream. Avocado oil is used in salads and dips as well.
National Avocado Day was founded by Model Meals, a meal delivery service that focuses on sustainable agriculture and healthy eating. They work with local organic farmers and growers to create menus. Avocados are often used, and they decided to create a holiday because they liked them so much. They chose July 31 as the holiday's date because it is during peak avocado season in California.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by eating avocados! There are many varieties you could try and many different ways you could eat them. You could have some guacamole and chips or spread avocado on toast. You could also use avocados to make a salad or a dessert. Some restaurants give away free guacamole today, so keep an eye out for that. Another idea could be to use oils and lotions made with avocados.