Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Ben. Ben Wonders, “How was guacamole invented?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Ben!

What's your favorite thing to order when you go to a Mexican restaurant? Nachos? A burrito? Maybe some tacos? With so many delicious choices on the menu, it can be hard to make a decision.

Most of the dishes can be served with a variety of toppings and sauces. Some prefer spicy cheese queso. Others might prefer fresh pico de gallo or salsa. Many fans of Mexican food, however, will only settle for that tasty green treat with the fun name: guacamole!

What is guacamole made of and where does it get its green color? The answer to both of those questions is the same: the avocado. Its rich, savory taste might make you think the avocado is a vegetable, but it's actually a fruit (a large berry) with a single, large seed inside.

Avocados, known scientifically as Persea americana, first appeared between 7,000-5,000 B.C. in south-central Mexico. The Aztecs, who ruled central Mexico during the 14th through 16th centuries, were the ones who first invented guacamole.

When the Spaniards encountered the Aztecs in the 1500s, they discovered a delicious sauce made by the locals. The Aztecs called this sauce "ahuaca-mulli," which meant "avocado mixture." This is where the modern name guacamole comes from.

Avocado trees were eventually introduced into California in the late 19th century. Today, the most popular avocado used to make guacamole is the Hass variety, which was discovered in the 1930s.

The Aztec version of guacamole was made with mashed avocados, tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, and salt. Today, guacamole purists believe there are only three necessary ingredients: avocados, lime juice, and salt.

However, you'll find that many versions of guacamole exist. In addition to the basics of avocados, lime juice, and salt, you'll find other popular additions include onions, chili peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, tomatillos, and cumin.

Authentic Mexican guacamole is made in a traditional Mexican mortar and pestle called a molcajete. The ingredients are placed into the mortar and the pestle is used to grind them together into a chunky paste. Some people prefer their guacamole to be smooth, while others like their guacamole to be filled with larger chunks of avocado.

Although it tends to be high in calories, guacamole is still considered by many to be fairly healthy. Avocados provide several key nutrients, including vitamin K, vitamin A, lycopene, and oleic acid.

Guacamole is extremely popular in the United States, both in Mexican restaurants and as a dip served at parties. How popular? Today, the U.S. consumes over 4 billion avocados every year!

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