Ten things you never knew about… avocados

1. The avocado is also known as “avocado pear” or “alligator pear” but it’s not really a pear at all. 

2. In the past year, 96.7 million kilos of avocados were consumed in the UK. 

3. Sales here have almost tripled over the past five years. Over 6,000 avocados are now sold every hour in the UK. 

4. Until about 10,000 years ago, avocado trees flourished in South America thanks to giant sloths eating the fruit whole and pooping out the seeds. 

5. This resulted in widespread seed dispersal but how the avocado survived the extinction of the sloths is still a bit of a mystery. 

6. According to a study published this month, dogs can detect by smell the laurel wilt disease which has been killing avocado trees in Florida. 

7. Avocados are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan and cholesterol-free. 

8. The avocado was an Aztec symbol of love and fertility, as they grow in pairs on trees. 

9. Their name came from the Aztec “ahuacatl” and referred to their shape: the word meant “testicle”. 

10. Avocados are the fruit with the highest protein content, on average four grams per fruit.

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