Unrefined avcado oil is considered to be one of the most healthful vegetable oils one can consume. It is a multi-purpose oil that can be used for culinary purposes (it is exceptionally high in Vitamin E as well as monounsaturated fats), suitable for dressings and sauces as well as frying, due to its high smoke point of over 490 degrees. Organic avocado oil is also an excellent “carrier” oil for other flavors; avocado carrier oil is ideal for infusion with various herbs. In addition to its suitability as a comestible, unrefined avcado oil is also excellent for use as a cosmetic and the repair of damaged skin.
Bulk avocado oil comes from the fruit of the same name. The scientific name of the tree from which we obtain organic avocado oil is Persea Americana. It is native to the Caribbean coast of Mexico, and was apparently known to pre-Incan peoples of present-day Peru. The word avocado itself is derived from a word in the Nahuatl language, ahuacatl, which literally means “testicle.” This is most likely a reference to the shape of the fruit; among the Aztecs, avocados were believed to confer fertility and have aphrodisiac properties.
Europeans could not have known of the benefits of organic avocado oil much before 1500; the first written descriptions of the fruit dates from a Spanish geography text written about 1520, and the first English accounts were not published until over 180 years later.
Although not initially raised to obtain bulk avocado oil, the plant itself was first exported abroad in 1750, when the first avocado trees were planted in Indonesia. It arrived in Brazil about fifty years later; by the 1890s, avocado groves had been established in Rhodesia (present-day Kenya) and Australia. It was introduced in Lebanon and Palestine (present-day Israel) in 1908.
Today the plants that are the source of healthful organic avoado oil are grown primarily in Mexico, California, Australia, New Zealand and Kenya.
What Is an Avocado?
Although it grows on a tree and has a pit, it is actually considered a berry; that is, the source of bulk avocado oil is a fruit produced from a single ovary which ripens into a fleshy, edible pulp surrounded by a skin. Seeds are embedded within this pulp.
Botanically, the avocado is a member of the laurel family, along with the bay tree and cinnamon. There are over a dozen types of avocados grown today; however, the most common varieties are the hass avocado, which is a black-colored fruit with a pebbled skin texture and a bulk avocado oil content of approximately 19%, and the pinkerton, which has a smooth green skin.
Unlike most types of vegetable oils which are derived from seeds, organic avcado oil is extracted from the fleshy pulp of the fruit.
More About Avocado Oil
As mentioned earlier, avocado carrier oil is fine for creating different flavored oils. Although fine for humans and other primates, organic avocado oil contains a fatty acid known as persin, which can be highly toxic to domestic animals, particularly dogs, cats and horses.
Although avocados are a perennial crop in those regions in which they are grown (they can survive temperatures down to 26 degrees Fahrenheit), organic avocado oil can be expensive as relatively little of the crop is actually pressed for oil. It does however compare quite well to olive oil for taste and body; true gourmands consider the extra cost for organic avocado oil well worth it.