I don’t often make grand generalizations but I want to say that everybody loves guacamole. At least that’s how it seems to me. It’s one of those fun, inviting appetizers that people are always happy to see when they come to your house for dinner. I’m a big fan of avocados, in general. They taste great and have a rich buttery consistency. In addition, they’re extremely healthy – packed with lots of vitamins and fiber, and high in monounsaturated fat, which is the healthy kind of fat.
Avocados don’t look or taste like the typical fruit, but they are fruit and they grow on trees. The avocado tree originated in southern Mexico, where the invention of guacamole, by the Aztecs, has been traced to the early 16th century. (Though I’m not sure they could have enjoyed it as much as we do now, since they didn’t have tortilla chips or Margaritas back then) Mexico is where it all started and Mexico is still, by far, the world leader in avocado production, yielding more than 1 million metric tons of the fruit per year (according to FAOSTAT). The USA is among the top ten avocado producing countries with a yield of about 200,000 metric tons per year.
Due to the fact that avocados ripen after they’re harvested, you’ll often find rock hard ones at the store that have a ways to go before they’re ready to be eaten. I generally buy ripe avocados up to a day ahead and store them in the fridge, which keeps them from getting overripe. An avocado is perfectly ripe when it’s pretty firm but has a little give when you press on it with your thumb. Don’t buy avocados if they’re mushy or have any indents because they’re probably past their prime. After I cut them in half and remove the pit, I like to score them with a knife, so when I spoon them into a bowl, they’re easier to mash.
If you’re wondering where I got the fun tiered chip and dip server, it was a hostess gift from my friend Sheryl who tipped me off that she found it at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I hope you have a great 4th of July weekend!
- 5 perfectly ripe Haas Avocados
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
- 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and pressed or finely diced and mashed with a pinch of salt, using the curved part of a fork.
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
- *Fresh salsa add-ins
- 1 small ripe tomato chopped fine
- ½ medium white onion, chopped fine
- ½ bunch or finely chopped cilantro (or to taste)
- *Note: a great substitute for the fresh salsa add-ins is 3 tablespoons of your favorite tomato salsa. This works extremely well and is especially helpful when good fresh tomatoes aren't available. You can still add extra onion and cilantro.
- Cut the avocados in half. Remove the pit and scoop the flesh into a medium sized bowl. Pour the lemon or lime juice on top right away to prevent browning. Mash with a fork or a masher to your desired consistency. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Serve immediately.