I am sure you have heard that avocados are a “super food” and that they are packed with all sorts of good stuff. Well, you heard right! Avocados are chock full of vitamins and minerals such as potassium, folate, and vitamin K. One quarter of an avocado has around 60 calories, and of those, 85% of them are made up of fats. But don’t shy away from this green gem because of those fats (mostly monounsaturated); they help reduce the bad cholesterol in our bodies, and that’s a good thing! Since I have been eating to avoid foods on my intolerant list, the avocado has become my friend. I use it in salads as a substitute for cheese – it has a smooth texture and gives substance to a plain garden salad. I have also used it as a spread. A ripe avocado can be spread onto a toasted piece of bread (in my case, gluten-free) and topped with sliced tomato and a little salt. And of course, I use avocado in guacamole. I love guacamole! And if I do say so myself, I make a kick-a$$ guacamole.
So, I was at the supermarket the other day to pick up some ingredients for guacamole and there was a crowd of people (okay, two) around the avocados and they looked bewildered. The Nutrition Educator in me piped up and gave a mini lesson to these ladies on how to pick a ripe avocado. So, I thought I would share how to pick a good avocado before sharing my guacamole recipe…
When looking for a ripe avocado, the first step is to notice the shades of green that you see. Some are a bright Kelly green, while some are a dark olive, almost black color.
You want to pick ones closer to the olive green/black color, especially if you want to use them sooner rather than later. The next step lies within the secret of the stem. The avocado should have a little nib of a stem left on it. A perfectly ripe avocado will have a stem that, one, comes off easily when you pull it off, and two, the fruit underneath is a light green. If it doesn’t come off easily, it’s not ripe yet. If it comes off easily, but it’s brown underneath, it’s over-ripe and won’t taste good. The avocado should also give a little when you squeeze it gently. If it’s hard, it’s not ripe, if it’s really easy to squeeze, it’s either over-ripe or bruised.
Once you find a few good ones, head over to the other parts of the produce section and get yourself a yellow onion, a bunch of cilantro, a lime, and a jalapeno pepper. Now it’s time to head home and get out a bowl and a cutting board and get guac-ing! (I don’t think that’s a word, but it should be!)
Time to make some guacamole! I want to start by saying that I don’t normally follow a recipe. I use anywhere between 2-4 avocados depending on how many eaters are around. I will do my best to give measurements for the scientific chefs in our midst, but add or take away amounts to your taste once you get the hang of it.
Easy and Delicious Kick-A$$ Guacamole
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/4 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 jalapeno pepper, chopped (or 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper)
juice from 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
Start with slicing open the avocados and removing the pit. There are two ways to remove do this: Hit your knife’s blade edge into it and then turn it and it will loosen, or squeeze the skin side of the avocado and the pit should loosen and you can pull it out, or it will pop out.
Next, finely chop up the yellow onion. On this day, I used two avocados and about 1/4 cup of onions.
Next, I chopped up the cilantro, about 2 tablespoons worth of it. Use more or less depending on how much you like it. I personally love cilantro, but there are people who think it tastes like soap (it’s genetic, you know!) so use less if some of those soapy cilantro people will be eating your guac. Now it’s time for the jalapeno pepper.
I used only the pepper itself and only 1/4 of it. If you like very spicy foods, add the seeds. Those are really spicy! I know, because I put one on my tongue to taste the difference in spice levels between the meat of the pepper and the seeds. Seeds won!
Time to start the assembly! Cross-hatch cut the avocados and scoop them out into a bowl like so…
This makes it easier to mix. Then add the onion, cilantro, jalapeno and salt to taste. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Next, squeeze half a lime into the bowl and get ready to mix…
Using a spoon, mix the ingredients until blended. I like my guacamole on the chunky side. If you like yours on the smooth side, keep mixing. You can use a pestle and mortar to pulverize your ingredients too. I have a set, but I find them heavy and hard to wash. The final product looks like this…
And that’s all it takes! Eat it with tortilla chips like the average Joe, or change it up a bit and use jicama or cucumber slices as guacamole vehicles. You can also vary the ingredients: Use red onions and chopped tomato for added color, or use a spicier pepper like the Habanero. Guacamole is a great way to eat avocados and your body will thank you for snacking on this wonderful super food. Yum!