Puerto Rico is known for its extremely wide range of cooking recipes, and a reason for that is the avocados.
Puerto Rican avocados are one of the most versatile ingredients you could get. You can prepare guacamole as a meat topper; in fact, you make it spicier with Caribbean Trading’s sauces. For the sweet-toothed, light meals are also an option.
The possibilities are infinite!
The History of Puerto Rican Avocado
First off, the avocado, or aguacate, is not a native fruit of Puerto Rico, although it’s been around for a long time.
Avocados in Older Times
The oldest records of avocados are dated 10,000 years, in Mexico! Avocados were indeed harvested, transported, and eaten during the Holocene period (between 11,200BC-2,000BC).
The fruit only recently became insanely popular. It hadn’t been commercialized that match by Mexican native tribes. The only way it could’ve traveled across the world was with the arrival of the Conquistadores.
From the 17th century until the 20th century, avocados went unnoticed despite several efforts to promote the fruit’s popularity. However, in Puerto Rico, avocados from the 30s onwards had a huge rise in avocado trees and production.
Nevertheless, before the Guacamole boom in California, Puerto Rico wasn’t a big export country of avocados yet. Its international potential for exportation saw the light of day when Californian growers stepped in with their innovative plan.
After the Guacamole Boom
The California Avocado Commission (CAC), founded only by farmers, created a huge advertisement campaign. The idea was to promote the fruit during the Super Bowl. The project was a huge success and the US saw a huge growth in avocado sales and reach.
This, in return, made avocados very popular throughout the world. The Caribbean and Central American countries began mass production and exportation. In contrast, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic had a huge blow in the early 90s.
In 1989, the Pseudacysta perseae insect, also known as the avocado lace bug, was discovered in both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. These small creatures heavily damaged avocado production in the 90s.
These insects didn’t eat the plants, but the trees’ leaves, and left them in shambles. Many avocado trees never grew enough to be harvested due to how damaging the lace bug was.
The Dominican Republic, thanks to how favorable its weather is, quickly recovered and eventually became a leader in global avocado exportation. However, Puerto Rico didn’t fall back: the island grew to be one of the main export countries of the Caribbean region.
In spite of all the challenges production faced, Puerto Rican avocados remain a highly sought-after ingredient for many traditional dishes among Caribbean countries.
The Health Benefits of Puerto Rican Avocados
Avocados are not only well-known for their taste, but also for their healthy properties. They are one of the most healthy fruits out there.
Monounsaturated & Polyunsaturated Fat
Despite common belief, not all fat makes you gain weight. Avocados mainly consist of monounsaturated fat. Despite the fact it has approximately 160 calories, avocados are good against cholesterol.
Research shows that his fat, alongside the polyunsaturated fat, also helps reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL is what causes high cholesterol and, consequently, bloodstream issues.
The fatty acids in avocados, in contrast, provide you with high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is often called the ‘good cholesterol.’ HDL aids your blood vessels in clearing any LDL plaque and carrying it back to the liver in order to dispose of it.
This is the reason why avocados are so versatile: they only contain less than 2 grams of sugar per unit!
Nevertheless, the fruit is sweet, which means you can easily add it to sugary snacks without worrying at all! Some people eat it as is, too, so you may want to try it out as well.
High in Fiber
For adults, it’s advisable to have a daily intake of about 30 grams of fiber. For women, it’s between 21 and 25, and for men, it’s 30 and 38. Luckily for fiber enthusiasts, avocados typically contain 7 grams. This is a lot of fiber in just one food item.
In comparison, bananas only have 2.6 grams of fiber approximately per unit: only 12.4% to 6.8% of the recommended intake. Avocados have up to 33.3% to 18.4% of the fiber we regularly need.
A Nutritional Godsend
Vitamins and minerals are key elements in staying healthy.
It’s been scientifically proven that avocados are full of vitamins and minerals that promote a healthier body. Avocados have more potassium than potatoes, more folate (vitamin B9) than oranges, and more magnesium than grapefruits.
However, this is because of its large size compared to other fruits. We don’t discourage eating the other ones as they are pretty healthy as well. Nonetheless, avocados are one of the best all-in-ones fruits you can get your hands on.
Puerto Rican Avocado Recipes
If we’re talking about Puerto Rico, we need to delve into its traditional cuisine.
Avocados didn’t gain its today status by itself: delicious regional dishes also improved its public image a lot. Don’t miss out on these mouth-watering meals to enjoy your time in Puerto Rico to your fullest!
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about avocados is guacamole and for good reason!
Guacamole is one of the most world-spread dips in the world as of right now. Its spiciness and saltiness are perfect for white meat and salty snacks, like nachos. But guacamole is not inherently spicy like wasabi, it needs to be spiced up.
To achieve this, we have to smash the avocado with a mortar or a similar tool, and then add whatever ingredient we want.
For Puerto Rican guacamole, we need one tomato, one small red onion, half a cilantro leaf, salt, a clove of garlic, and 2 tablespoons of lime juice for every 4 avocados. Here’s the recipe in detail. Of course, you can add anything!
For those who don’t want to go through the hassle of making it, you can also buy guacamole or guacamole sauces!
Jerk Chicken & Avocado Salad
This is a famous recipe even outside of Puerto Rico: it’s a signature meal of the Caribbean culture.
Before we actually start cooking, there are some preparations in place. The chicken must be marinated the day before. After that, we heat it for a few minutes with jerk seasoning, rum or spiced rum, and a lot of lime juice.
After the marination, we can finally jerk our chicken. Since it’ll take a few hours, you can prepare the avocado salad in the meantime. Simply dice a few avocados and add red onions, grape tomatoes, a cucumber, garlic, cilantro, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Voilà! You’re ready to enjoy an amazingly delicious Puerto Rican dish! You can also check out our jerk chicken & avocado salad recipe for more information.
Caribbean Avocado Cucumber Salad
Avocado recipes are usually associated with salty courses, but what about sweet snacks? There are tons of sweet recipes you can prepare! Most of them are easy to make.
We’ll be using small glass jars as containers for this recipe. We first slice and dice one or two avocados and two cucumbers. Next, we add one scallion, cilantro or parsley, juice of half a lime or more, a bit of salt, and 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise.
You can change some ingredients for others, of course. For example, you can replace the mayonnaise and the cilantro with yogurt and dill. You can even make it a saltier dish!
We recommend this recipe for the summer and spring seasons. Puerto Rican avocado cucumber salad is a perfect snack on hot days! You can serve it as a side dish or as a standalone snack.
Avocado Deviled Eggs
Although deviled eggs aren’t traditional Puerto Rican snacks, the Caribbean version has become increasingly more widespread.
Deviled eggs can be traced back to Ancient Rome: at the time, it was a popular starter meal among wealthy Romans. The recipe didn’t change much from then: boiled eggs seasoned with spicy sauces and stuffed with cheese, raisins, and herbs.
The avocado variant is not much different from the original recipe. For stuffing, we always smash the avocado and add 3 teaspoons of lime juice, 1 of cilantro, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon to it. After boiling the eggs, you simply stuff them with seasoned avocado.
We highly advise you to try out other fruit-related recipes to make tasty Puerto Rican courses. There are many tropical snacks, meals, and drinks to relish. Avocados are not the only tasty fruit of our vast island!