An Alligator Pear is not a pear at all in the normal sense. It is an avocado. It is so named because of its pear shape and dark green skin. The scientific name for an Alligator Pear is Persea Americana, and it can only be grown in very warm climates, either tropical or subtropical. Most of the avocados produced in the United States are grown in California.
Today the most popular Alligator Pear in the United States is the Hass avocado. They originated in La Habra Heights, California. The avocado itself has a very long history, going back as far as 7000 B.C. It is thought that Mexican avocados, which are the ancestors of California avocados, were grown as far back as 500 B.C. The name of the fruit was actually changed to avocado from aguacate.
Judge R.B. Ord started the first avocado trees in California in 1871. Eventually, as more and more varieties were produced, a potential developed for the Alligator Pear or avocado to be come a money-making crop. The Hass Avocado was developed in the mid-1930s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that it became California’s leading avocado. Before then, the top choice had been the Fuerte. In California, just about all of the avocados grown are produced between San Luis Obispo and the border of Mexico.
That accounts for around sixty thousand acres of avocados and around seven thousand growers in California. An individual avocado tree can grow anywhere from 150 to 500 pieces of fruit every year, equaling between 60 and 200 pounds respectively. The Alligator Pear, like other pears, does not ripen on the tree. Once they are full-grown, avocados are picked by hand, and then ripen in just a few days. If the fruit is not picked at just the right time, it will fall to the ground and ripen there.
Over the years many people have avoided eating the Alligator Pear because of its high fat content. But recently, the view on that point has changed markedly. For although avocados are high in fat--almost 30 grams per fruit--that fat is monounsaturated, meaning it is “good fat,” the kind that lowers levels of cholesterol. Even the U.S government nutrition recommendations suggest that people eat more avocados because it is a healthy fruit.
Over ten years ago, the results of avocado research in one study showed that volunteers who ate avocado every day, lowered their blood cholesterol levels by as much as seventeen percent. Not only that, their levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol went down, while levels of HDL cholesterol or “good cholesterol” increased. In addition, avocados have been found to have a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other chemicals that do much to improve health.
Because of these findings, now the Alligator Pear, or avocado, can be added to a healthy diet plan without guilt.