12 Jul 2013

Avocado or Palta

*LA PALTA or AVOCADO*

Originated in the state of Puebla, Mexico. The native, undomesticated variety is known as a criollo, and is small, with dark black skin, and contains a large seed. The oldest
evidence of avocado use was found in a cave located in Coxcatlán, Puebla, Mexico, that dates to around 10,000 BC. The avocado tree also has a long history of cultivation
in Central and South America; a water jar shaped like an avocado, dating to AD 900, was discovered in the pre-Incan city of Chan Chan. The avocado (Persea americana) is
a tree native to Central Mexico,] classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae along with cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel. Avocado or alligator pear also refers to the
fruit, botanically a large berry that contains a single seed. Avocados are commercially valuable and are cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the
world. They have a green-skinned, fleshy body that may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped, or spherical. Commercially, it ripens after harvesting. Trees are partially self-pollinating
and often are propagated through grafting to maintain a predictable quality and quantity of the fruit. The avocado is a climacteric fruit (the banana is another), which means it
matures on the tree, but ripens off the tree. Avocados used in commerce are picked hard and green and kept in coolers at 3.3 to 5.6 °C (38 to 42 °F) until they reach their
final destination. Avocados must be mature to ripen properly. Avocados that fall off the tree ripen on the ground. Generally, the fruit is picked once it reaches maturity;
Mexican growers pick Hass-variety avocados when they have more than 23% dry matter, and other producing countries have similar standards. Once picked, avocados ripen
in one to two weeks (depending on the cultivar) at room temperature (faster if stored with other fruits such as apples or bananas, because of the influence of ethylene gas).
Some supermarkets sell pre-ripened avocados which have been treated with synthetic ethylene to hasten ripening. The use of an ethylene gas "ripening room", which is now
an "industry standard," was pioneered in the 1980s by farmer Gil Henry of Escondido, California, in response to footage from a hidden supermarket camera which showed
shoppers repeatedly squeezing hard, unripe avocados, putting them "back in the bin," and moving on without making a purchase. In some cases avocados can be left on the
tree for several months, which is an advantage to commercial growers who seek the greatest return for their crop; but if the fruit remains unpicked for too long it falls to the
ground.



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