Worms and Flowers

Avocado:Conquistadors-Part 2 of 5

Posted in Avocado by Lzyjo on June 16, 2009

The first written accounts of the avocado come from the Spanish Conquistadors. In 1518 Martin Fernandez de Enciso was the first to describe the avocado to the old world. Written accounts also exist from Hernando Cortez and Fernandez de Oviedo. Oviedo described the fruits he encountered in Columbia.

In the center of the fruit is a seed like a peeled chestnut. And between this and the rind is the part which is eaten, which is abundant, and is a paste similar to butter and of very good taste.

In 1550 Conquistador Pedro de Cieza de Leon was the first to publish “Aguacate” as the Spanish corruption to the unpronounceable āhuacatl.

In 1672  Royal physician W. Hughes  wrote of the avocado during a visit to Jamaica,

One of the most rare and pleasant fruits of the island. It nourisheth and strengtheneth the body, corroborating the spirits and procuring lust exceedingly.

Sir Hans Sloane, the inventor of hot chocolate, (Thank you, Hans!) was the first person to use the English word  “avocado” in his catalog of Jamaican plants published in 1696. The colonists also found new uses for the avocado, including using the red-pigment from crushed pits as ink. Documents written in the brownish-red avocado ink still exist today.

Tomorrow I will be posting about evolution of the avocado from its cultivation beginning over 8,000 years ago, to its synergistic relationship with extinct mammals.


4 Responses

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  1. ourfriendben said, on June 16, 2009 at 12:23 PM

    This is such a cool series, Lzyjo! I personally hate avocados, since I find them slimy and can’t bear that texture, but as a fan of homegrown edibles it’s all I can do not to grow one from a pit anyway! Maybe there’s some way to incorporate them into something to disguise the texture. Ideas? Anyhow, can’t wait to read more about the history!!!

    Why, thank you, OFB. Although I never minded avocado in California rolls, tt took me a really long time to try guacamole, let alone enjoy it. I didn’t realize, but it is the garlic in most guacamoles that I don’t like. Much better with only salt and lemon juice. I couldn’t never eat a plain avocado though! If avocado is heated the tannins in it become unpleasantly bitter, so that why isn’t most always served chilled or room temperature. And you’re not the first person to dislike avocado. In India where it was introduced it never caught on because the people there prefer sweet fruits!

  2. mothernaturesgarden said, on June 16, 2009 at 4:25 PM

    I love avacados. Ineresting about the ink. Learn something new every day. Thanks.

    It’s funny how even the most commonplace things have a fascinating history! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. mothernaturesgarden said, on June 16, 2009 at 4:26 PM


  4. Faith said, on June 16, 2009 at 7:58 PM

    In Ca. we lived by avocado groves and I really miss good ones. They are so expensive anymore that I hardly buy them, and the ones here are not usually that good anyway.

    Looooooooove good guacamole, too. Yummy!


    WOW, it must be nice living out there, I saw some pictures of these huge industrial grove, very impressive! Most things sold in the produce section pale in comparison to real fresh produce.

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