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Nimlioh avocados are one of the largest varieties of avocados. They are often bigger than the size of a softball, and they can weigh up to 40 ounces. Nimlioh avocados have thick, pebbly skin that matures from green to black, and will still be rather hard even when ripe. The pale green to deep yellow flesh is creamy and smooth, with no strings like some avocados, and with greater oil content than other common varieties. The medium-sized seed sits tight in the cavity inside the flesh, which offers a rich, buttery, nutty flavor with a noticeable sweetness.
Nimlioh avocados are available in the summer and fall months.
Avocados are members of the Lauraceae, or Laurel, family. They are scientifically named Persea americana Mill., and are botanically classified as a berry. Furthermore, there are three subspecies of avocados: Guatemalan, Mexican and the West Indian. Nimlioh avocados are of Guatemalan descent, characterized by their large fruits with pebbly, thick skins and fatty flesh. Nimlioh avocados are rare in the commercial market, and are only occasionally found at farmers’ markets in Southern California. They are also one of the few varieties that do not oxidize when the flesh is exposed to air.
Avocados are rich in dietary fiber, and are known for being a good source of monounsaturated fat, second only to olives among fruits in oil content. They have earned the nickname “nutrient-boosters” because they can enable the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients of other foods served in combination with the avocado. Avocados also contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and folic acid.
Nimlioh avocados are most commonly used fresh, although they can also be used in short cooked applications. They are well suited for mashing and pureeing, as their flesh is soft, creamy, and rich in oil, with very little stringiness. Mash avocados with lime, onion, tomato, cilantro, salt, and other spices to make guacamole, the traditional dip that originated with the Aztecs of Mexico. Nimlioh avocados can also be cubed, sliced, or halved and stuffed. The skin of the Nimlioh avocado is so thick and tough that it doesn’t give to pressure when ripe like most other avocado varieties. Instead, when ripe, a toothpick pressed through the skin will slide right through to the pit. Store Nimlioh avocados at room temperature until fully mature. Whole, ripe avocados will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator, while cut avocados will keep for a day or two.
In Mayan language, the term “Nimlioh” means "large avocado”. Nimlioh avocados originated in Antigua, Guatemala, where the locals call themselves Panzas Verdes, or “green bellies”, because of the region’s reliance on avocados and the good fats they provide as part of a healthy diet.
Nimlioh avocados are native to Guatemala. Budwood was sent back to the US in 1917 after the variety was discovered during a USDA research expedition to Antigua, Guatemala. It was first commercially grown in 1921, though cultivation efforts in Florida were abandoned a few years later due to poor production. Today it may be found growing in California, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.