The name comes from an Aztec dialect via Nahuatl āhuacamolli [aːwakaˈmolːi], which literally translates to "avocado sauce", from āhuacatl [aːˈwakat͡ɬ] ("avocado") + molli [ˈmolːi] ("sauce", literally "concoction"). In Mexican Spanish, it is pronounced [wakaˈmole], in American English, it is sometimes pronounced /ɡwɑːkəˈmoʊliː/, and in British English, /ˌɡwækəˈmoʊli/. The name of the Guatemalan version has the final "e" omitted (Spanish: [wakaˈmol]).
Avocados were first cultivated in South Central Mexico to Central America and as far south as Peru. In the early 1900s, avocados frequently went by the name alligator pear.
The Hass avocado is the most popular varietal of avocado and is named after postal worker Rudolph Hass, who purchased the seedling in 1926 from a California farmer and patented it in 1935.
Guacamole has increased avocado sales in the US, especially on Super Bowl Sunday and Cinco de Mayo. The rising consumption of guacamole has increased due to the U.S. government lifting a ban on avocado imports in the 1900s and the growth of the U.S. Latino population.
Guacamole dip is traditionally made by mashing ripe avocados and sea salt with a molcajete (mortar and pestle). Some recipes call for tomato, onion, garlic, peas, lemon or lime juice, chili or cayenne pepper, coriander (also known as cilantro) or basil, jalapeño, and/or additional seasonings. Some non-traditional recipes call for sour cream as the main ingredient.
Due to the presence of polyphenol oxidase in the cells of avocado, exposure to oxygen in the air causes an enzymatic reaction and develops melanoidin pigment, turning the sauce brown. This result is generally considered unappetizing, and there are several methods (some anecdotal) that are used to counter this effect. Commonly used methods to counter this effect include storing the guacamole in an air-tight container or wrapping tightly in clear plastic wrap to limit the surface area exposed to the air.
As the major ingredient of guacamole is raw avocado, the nutritional value of the dish derives from avocado vitamins, minerals and fats, providing dietary fiber, several B vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin E and potassium in significant content (see Daily Value percentages in nutrient table for avocado). Avocados are a source of saturated fat, monounsaturated fat and phytosterols, such as beta-sitosterol. They also contain carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein (table).
Mantequilla de pobre (Spanish for "poor-man's butter") is a mixture of avocado, tomato, oil, and citrus juice. Despite its name, it predates the arrival of dairy cattle in the Americas, and thus was not originally made as a butter substitute.
Thinner and more acidic, or thick and chunky, guasacaca is a Venezuelan avocado-based sauce; it is made with vinegar, and is served over parrillas (grilled food), arepas, empanadas, and various other dishes. It is common to make the guasacaca with a little hot sauce instead of jalapeño, but like a guacamole, it is not usually served as a hot sauce itself. Pronounced "wasakaka" in Latin America.
Salat avocado (Hebrew: סלט אבוקדו) is a rural Israeli avocado salad, with lemon juice and chopped scallions (spring onions) with salt and black pepper added, was introduced by farmers who planted avocado trees on the coastal plain in the 1920s. Avocados have since become a winter delicacy and are cut into salads as well as being spread on bread today also with pita and flat bread. usually eaten in the villages of the coastal plain. It is also common today to add cumin before adding the lemon juice as well as feta cheese or safed cheese.
Prepared guacamoles are available in stores, often available refrigerated, frozen or in high pressure packaging which pasteurizes and extends shelf life if products are maintained at 34 to 40 °F (1 to 4 °C).
In response to the New York Times publishing a recipe for guacamole that includes peas, President Barack Obama tweeted "Respect the nyt, but not buying peas in guac. onions, garlic, hot peppers. classic."
Musician Jack White's recipe for guacamole, which was included as part of his contract for performing at the University of Oklahoma in 2015, was obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request from the university.
National Guacamole Day is celebrated on Mexican Independence Day, September 16th.
On April 11, 2013, 450 high school students in Tancítaro, Michoacán, Mexico set the world record for the largest serving of guacamole, which weighed 2,670 kilograms.