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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1299: XXX International Horticultural Congress IHC2018: VII International Symposium on Tropical and Subtropical Fruits, Avocado, II International Symposium on Jackfruit and Other Moraceae and II International Symposium on Date Palm

The avocados: Guatemalan food.

Authors:   N. Ledesma, D. Carter
Keywords:   Persea americana, West Indian avocados, Guatemalan avocado race, Guatemalan crops, superfood, nutrition
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1299.25
Abstract:
West Indian, Guatemalan and Mexican race avocados have been cultivated for thousands of years. A favorite of the Mayan people, they are native to Central and North America and have long been a staple crop of the people. This review includes recognition of the Mayan gardens present day from the expeditions in 2004 and available literature. Over half of the modern Guatemalan citizens are descendants of indigenous Mayan people, and today's Guatemalan kitchen gardens contain avocados. Guatemalan kitchen gardens are typically small cultivated areas where avocados grow with corn, cassava, banana and other short-term crops. A wide diversity of avocado seedlings are produced for home consumption and for sale fruit along roadsides. These include West Indian race avocados grown from sea level to 500 m altitude, and Guatemalan and Mexican race avocados in the higher altitudes. The West Indian germplasm from the warm, humid lowlands come in different sizes, skin color and shapes with mild flavor and lower oil contents than Guatemalan and Mexican race fruit. The avocado played an important part in the life and is used by them as food. A wide diversity of seedling avocados is combined with corn and beans as a foundation of their diet. The avocados are good source of potassium and vitamin D, fatty acids, vitamins, carotenoids and other phytochemicals. This valuable genetic resource should be conserved and used in breeding for the creation of new fruit and markets.

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