Floridians used to call avocados “alligator pears.” I think that name is right on the money. Shaped like a pear, with skin like an alligator. Once they were grown here commercially, the execs of the fruit industry decided we should call them avocados because people might be put off by the name alligator pear. Never mind that the word avocado was derived from ahuacate, the Aztec word for testicle.My great grandma never made guacamole with the alligator pears she grew, and I’m sorry for that. Back then many Floridians treated them more like dessert. They are a fruit, after all. One popular way to eat them was to cut them in half and remove the seed, then pour a little sweetened condensed milk into the cavity. Grab a spoon and dig in.
Florida avocados have a reputation for being the big, watery ones. That seems to be the case at the grocery store, but it’s unfortunate that all 50 varieties grown here have been lumped into that category. We chose three different varieties for our backyard. Some are hybrids of the Hass, and they’re equally rich and creamy.
If you’ve got an avocado habit, planting one in your backyard will pay for itself in no time. They’re often $2 each at the store. But I must warn you, it’s feast or famine. The trees are so productive, but all the fruit ripens at the same time. So after the vats of guacamole, it’s time to venture into the land of the alligator pear and experience the sweet side of this fruit. Popsicles! It happens to be Popsicle Week, which is my favorite blogger gathering on the internet. To find a million creative, beautiful popsicles for every day of the summer, check out Wit and Vinegar.
That’s where I learned the art of creamy pops. You might think you can pour just about anything in a popsicle mold and get a popsicle. Nope. If you go too creamy, they end up so soft they don’t come out as a fully formed pop. After some failed experiments (which I still ate), I found water and nonfat dry milk make a creamy popsicle that still freezes hard and comes out of the mold nicely. And they taste like key lime pie.
One more fun fact: See the two tiny avocados at the top of that photo? Those are called “cukes” (as in cucumber) and they’re from flowers that weren’t pollinated properly. You can eat them when they’re ripe. Mini alligator pears! Now that’s a marketable fruit.
Happy popsicle week, my friends!
- 2 cups diced avocado
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup nonfat dry milk
- 1/3-1/2 cup honey (to taste)
- 1/2 cup key lime or calamondin juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- little pinch of salt
- Combine ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a mold for 10 2-ounce pops and freeze for at least 6 hours.
- If you don't have a popsicle mold, see the link below for ways to improvise.