Avocado: There is nothing else like a perfectly ripe and delicious Avocado (Persea americana), the plant world’s response to Irish butter. It follows naturally that a lovely guacamole is pure heaven. Having given this proposition extensive study, my own thought is that the best guacamole is to be had in Mexico. For some reason the blend is better there than any I have encountered in the US. Maybe it’s ambience, or things taste better with the local beer and local tortillas. I believe, however, Cooks in Mexico use perfectly ripened fruit, adding very little else.
American Cooks deploy a lot of Avocados in dips and spreads, but I wager not enough genius has been dedicated to this fruit. We are denied the real potential.
Though we don’t utilize fruit from other plants in the family with Avocado, this Alligator Pear (a common name people used at one time) would still have company in a Systematist’s larder. Bay Laurel, Sassafras, and Cinnamon are kept in the same box.
You may encounter texts that claim Avocado is a Drupe, but that does not fit. There is no “stone” – which is the hard, inner layer of the fruit wall encasing the seed that defines a drupe. Avocado is a classic, one-seeded Berry, a Bacca.
As important as this Central American native tree has become in culinary scene, it might surprise people to know it is imperiled. An unconquerable disease, Laurel Wilt, is spreading through Florida and other Southeastern states, devastating populations of any plant in the Lauraceae, which includes the native Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) and Red Bay (Persea borbonia) as well as Avocado. Researchers at The Huntington work tirelessly to create protocols to protect our heritage of wonderful Avocado cultivars, in advance of the progress of the Wilt.