How do you like your guacamole?
Do you like it spicy or mild? Chunky or smooth? Lots of garnish or mostly avocado?
Personally, I prefer spicy, chunky and with lots of red onion, tomato and jalapeno garnish. Almost like a salsa that happens to have avocado in it.
I also like fresh garlic and cilantro in mine, but rarely get to have them because my wife, Sandi, won’t let me put them in our guacamole because they give her heartburn. And guacamole is her number one favorite food, so we have it pretty much at least once a week.
Don’t even get me started about the store-bought varieties, especially those in the
squeezable plastic bags. I’m not sure those are really avocados, let alone actual guacamole. We are lucky enough to live in an area with a number of Hispanic grocery stores so there is excellent authentic guacamole for sale within walking distance 24/7/365. But we hardly ever buy it.
Why would we? It’s so easy to make! And we love ours!
To me, guacamole needs to be made fresh and eaten, well, if not immediately, then at least the same day that it’s made.
The ingredients to guacamole can vary, but one constant is avocado. You can find fresh avocado at your produce store year round, but the quality and price varies greatly depending on the time of year. Not surprisingly, summer and fall bring the best and least expensive avocados. During winter and spring, you will pay an arm and a leg for hard, under ripe fruits.
To tell if an avocado is ripe, gently squeeze it between your thumb and forefinger. If it gives just a little, it’s perfectly ripe. If it gives a lot, it’s overripe and unusable. If it
doesn’t give at all, it’s under ripe. You can still buy it if you’re not planning on using it for a couple of days – just set it aside unrefrigerated and it will ripen on its own.
If you want to speed up the ripening, try putting it in a paper bag overnight. This works pretty well. Some people suggest putting a banana in the bag to really speed things up, but to me that just makes the avocado taste like banana.
Another trick (not recommended) is to put an under ripe in the microwave for 30 seconds. This definitely will soften it, but because it’s still under ripe, the flavor won’t be there. So what’s the point?
Most of the avocados in the United States come from southern California and are the Hass variety, which all originated from a single tree planted in 1926 by mailman and amateur horticulturist Rudolph Hass of La Habra Heights, California.
But you also will see different varieties – including some gigantic ones — from Mexico, where the plant originated. One last fun fact: The US is only the third largest producer, behind Mexico (predictably) and Indonesia (who knew?!).
There are an infinite variety of guacamoles, from soupy liquids to barely diced chunks. And the ingredients can include anything you want – fresh vegetables, fruits, even beans. I saw once saw Rick Bayless (celebrity chef and TV show host) eat guacamole that had grasshoppers in it!
Mine rarely has insects in it. It does have garden fresh tomatoes and jalapenos (at least in the summer), as well as diced red onion and fresh squeezed lime juice.
2-3 medium avocados
Juice of ½ fresh lime
½ medium red onion, small dice
2 tomatoes, ribs and seeds removed, diced
1 or 2 jalapenos, ribs and seeds removed, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed (if my wife’s not around)
A few sprigs of fresh of cilantro, roughly chopped (ditto)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut avocados in half and remove large seed from center. Use a spoon to remove meat into mixing bowl. Mash with potato masher or fork. Fold in remaining ingredients to desired consistency. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes (if you can stand it) to let flavors meld. Serve with tortilla chips.
Lime juice will keep the avocados from oxidizing (turning brown) for a little while, but eventually the guacamole will start to brown, so eat it quick. Who am I kidding? In our house, guacamole has never lasted long enough to turn brown! It’s too delicious.
Great for parties. Great as an accompaniment to Mexican food. Great on its own. Guacamole is one of our favorite and most frequently made dishes.
Oh, man, I’ve gotta go make some guacamole!