1. The name comes from the Nuahatl word ahuacatl, which means “testicle,” for how the fruit, which usually grows in pairs, hangs from the tree
2. George Washington is the first English-speaker to make note of the “agovago pairs,” during a trip to Barbados
3. Crafty California growers once tried to goose sales of the exotic and pricey avocado by denying its aphrodisiac properties—sales spiked (fyi, despite all this testicle business, avocados are not aphrodisiacal)
4. Today Americans eat an average of four pounds of avocados per person, with 80 million pounds consumed on Super Bowl Sunday
5. The Hass, with its buttery flesh and firm texture, is the most popular avocado grown, a Mexican-Guatemalan hybrid developed in 1926 by a California postman named Rudolph Hass
6. The avocado, like the olive, is the very rare fruit that gets fattier instead of sweeter as it ripens
7. Speed up ripening by putting the fruit in a paper bag, adding a banana or apple if available; avocados, which are also rare in being a fruit that doesn’t ripen on the tree, should not be refrigerated until after they’re ripe
8. High in healthy monosaturated fat, the avocado is also high in protein (for a fruit), fiber, potassium (more than a banana), and vitamin E and the B vitamins
9. Burying the pit in guacamole will not prevent exposed avocado flesh from turning brown; it’s an old wive’s tale. Acid—lemon or lime juice—will help, or cover directly with plastic wrap, smoothing out the air bubbles.
10. If you only know guacamole, try this next time you have a perfectly ripe avocado: split in half lengthwise, twist apart, and dig into the lovely yellow-green flesh with a spoon, finally getting to know its subtle, nutty, faintly herby flavor and unctuous mouthfeel
Plus, #11: Guacamole is also from the Aztec, ahuacatl and molli, which means avocado and mixture, and so is not some Tex-Mex creation but a pre-Colombian treat. Have one fool-proof recipe in your back pocket—here’s one if needed.