Avocados, especially when sliced and placed on toast, may have seemed like a fad in the early 2000s. But, happily, they are here to stay.
And to make sure they are paid the attention they deserve, they have their own day – National Avocado Day!
History of National Avocado Day
Originating in south-central Mexico, avocados have been around for thousands of years, but likely were not cultivated until around 500 BC. Even then, the first mention of this fruit in the English language wasn’t until 1696.
By 1871, the avocado had been introduced to the United States, where they grew particularly well in California. But it took some time – more than 100 years – for them to come into popularity in the US. This was probably because the fruit seemed exotic and most people really didn’t know what to do with it or how to get their families to agree to eating it.
The avocado industry had taken a big hit after the 1980s “low-fat diet” trend in the US, so in the 1990s, the industry worked hard to educate and do some creative marketing for the American population. The idea was to associate the avocado with Latin dishes which brought the fruit more attention, and the idea worked.
Once considered to be a strangely colored, weirdly shaped, bumpy fruit that people didn’t know how to cut, the avocado was presented in a new way and normalized. Sales increased, crop values spiked and the California avocado industry grew by leaps and bounds.
National Avocado Day is celebrated on the last day of July, at the peak of the avocado season in California. But, luckily, avocados can usually be found in supermarkets all year round for people who want to eat them in all of the seasons.
National Avocado Day was founded in 2017 and has been observed annually and gaining in popularity ever since.
National Avocado Day Timeline
Avocados are first cultivated
Having grown wild for thousands of years, avocados were likely first cultivated in Mexico.
Mummies are buried with avocados
As mummies are often buried with possessions they might need in the afterlife, some Incan mummies dating back to this time in Peru have avocado seeds buried with them.
Avocados are introduced to Spain
Having been native to Mexico, the fruit spreads through Central and South America before it is taken back to Spain, its first introduction into Europe.
Avocados make it to America
First making it to Florida, and then to California around 20 years later, California is now the leading producer of domestic avocados in the US.
Rudolph Hass Patents the Hass Avocado
Originally discovered in the late 1920s, Rudolph Hass works hard to propagate this small, dark-purple-skinned variety and it ends up being a big hit.
How to Celebrate National Avocado Day
National Avocado Day is the time to make a salute to this deliciously creamy and adaptable fruit. Check out some of these ideas for celebrating and enjoying the day:
Eat a Delicious Avocado
Since the popularity of avocados has increased as a food that goes far beyond guacamole, eating avocados has become second nature for many! A healthy snack on its own, or part of a nutritious meal, avocados can be eaten on toast, in salads, with eggs, in sushi rolls, in smoothies and much more.
Avocados are perfect for sharing so grab a friend, and a knife and begin slicing through that avocado in celebration of National Avocado Day!
Bake Using Avocados
Many people think that avocados are only for savory eating, but that’s simply not true. They can be used in many different recipes for baking sweet treats. It provides a healthy, vegan fat option that can often be used to replace butter, shortening and sometimes even eggs. Avocado can provide moistness with added health benefits
Try out some of these ideas for baked avocado treats:
- Avocado Brownies. Avocado and chocolate make a great pair! Try making healthy brownies with almond flour, maple syrup, avocado, eggs, coconut sugar, cocoa powder and a few other ingredients.
- Avocado Banana Bread. This delightful recipe is like classic banana bread – but better! It’s moist, tasty and doesn’t use any butter.
- Avocado Mint Fudge Bars. A healthier version of “grasshopper” cookies, this recipe has healthy ingredients like coconut oil, maple syrup, cacao nibs and peppermint extract. And they don’t need to be baked, just frozen.
- Avocado Ice Cream. This one might seem hard to believe, but avocados make a healthy and tasty alternative to ice cream. Combine the ripe mashed fruit with lime juice, milk, cream and sugar and blend them in an ice cream freezer or make them into avocado pops.
Try Growing an Avocado Tree
It’s not as difficult as it might seem! In fact, special contraptions can now be found in stores that are meant for just this purpose. Simply harvest the seed of an avocado, peel off the layer of dead skin, then poke it with toothpicks in a circle. Using the toothpicks, place the seed over a glass or jar that is filled with water, with the bottom in the water but the rest in the open air.
Place it in a warm place, let the roots grow, and change the water every few days. In a few weeks, a seedling will grow and eventually it can be planted into soil. It may take a few years (perhaps 5 or more) until the tree is ready to produce fruit, but it’s a great project and totally worth the wait!
Make Avocado Mixed Drinks
Who knew that cocktails could be so delicious and also have nutritional value? In honor of National Avocado Day, check out some of these ideas for making tasty cocktails using this delightful fruit:
- Avocado Margaritas. Keeping with the theme of Mexican food, use all of the same ingredients as a classic margarita, but add ½ avocado. It’s a deliciously creamy treat that is best enjoyed with tortilla chips and guacamole.
- Avocado Mojito. Adding avocado slices to mojito ingredients turns it into something a little bit more like a milkshake. Rich and creamy, with hints of lime and mint, it’s a refreshing summer drink.
- Avocado Daiquiri. Usually made with strawberries, substituting with an avocado creates a uniquely smooth drink with a kick of rum.
- Avocado Martini. This could really upset James Bond with his classic vodka martini, but who cares? Vodka, dry vermouth, dulce de leche, milk and sweetened condensed milk take this recipe so far beyond 007.
Create an Avocado Face Mask
Some skin experts have found that avocados contain ingredients that are super healthy for the skin! Instead of buying a mask at the store that is pre-made, pre-packaged and filled with preservatives, make your own at home. Blend together avocado, plain yogurt, honey, and lemon juice. Wait 20 minutes and then apply to your face to keep your skin young and healthy looking.
National Avocado Day FAQs
Are avocados good for you?
Yes! Avocados are a healthy food that contains vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.
Are avocados fruits or vegetables?
Because they have a fleshy pulp and a seed, avocados fit the classification of a berry, making them a fruit.
How to ripen an avocado?
The best way to get an avocado to ripen is to either set it on the counter and let it ripen naturally, or put it in a paper bag with a banana or apple.
Do avocados go in the fridge?
Avocados should be stored at room temperature until they are ripe and then put in the refrigerator so they will keep longer.
How do avocados grow?
Avocados grow as a fruit on trees, which can be cultivated from the pit of an avocado that has been eaten.