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The Avocado- From Giant Sloths to Fast Food

The avocado, in one form or another, is now found on menus in every suburban fern bar, burger joint and taco stand. The history of this popular fruit is more complicated and interesting than most people know. The avocado, or at least the original species of avocado, traces its roots back to the Cenozoic Era. It spread across the Western Hemisphere in the digestive tracks of giant sloths, and other huge mammals of the day. (Yes, I’m deliberately being vague about how they were transported by digestive tracks, but I’m sure you can figure it out.) How it survived since the disappearance of most of the large mammals is a mystery that has been discussed in articles by the Smithsonian and studies by hundreds of botanists and archaeologists.

What is known about the avocado is how significant it became in the ancient cuisines of Mexico and Central America. Some estimates say the avocado has been domesticated since around 500 BC. By the time the Iberians showed up in the Americas the avocado was a staple. The first mention by the Europeans actually turns up in a 1519 Spanish text.

Today, it is most commonly seen in guacamole, sliced on burger s and sandwiches and even in one of those hyper-trendy smoothies. It is embraced as a super-food and healthy snack.

While health crazes come and go, the avocado seems to have a kept a place on the healthy snack charts. The avocado is high in vitamins B, K and C. It also contains “good” fat. So, I guess add those factors to such a versatile texture and flavor, the avocado isn’t going anywhere.

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