Guacamole remains a favorite dip for chips or topping for everything from tacos and burgers to salads and wraps. Making fresh guacamole will take longer than opening a pre-made package, but the homemade recipes often taste better and allow cooks to add their own blend of seasonings to the mix. Making guacamole a day in advance allows the flavors to blend and can save time in the kitchen the day of the party or potluck, but a little special care is required to keep guacamole as tasty as the minute it was made.
Purchase ripe avocados or buy them far enough in advance to give them time to ripen before using. Ready-to-eat avocados are just barely soft when pushed. Do not try to use rock hard avocados since no amount of mashing will create the right consistency for guacamole. At the other extreme, overripe avocados feel mushy when touched and may have an unpleasant taste and unappealing dark color. If uncertain when choosing avocados at the market, ask the produce clerk to select them for you.
Slice open the avocado by cutting lengthwise down the center. The knife will likely hit the large seed in the center, so don’t try to slice right through. Pull the two halves apart and discard the seed.
Scoop out the inside of the avocado with a spoon and place the fruit in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp. of fresh or concentrated lime juice over the top of the avocados and stir. Not only does this help to season them, it also prevents the avocados from turning brown.
Add seasonings. These can include 1 to 2 tsp. of salt and pepper, a pinch of chili flakes, 1 tsp. of cumin, 1 to 2 tbsp. of fresh salsa and 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro. Some cooks also like to add a dash of hot sauce, minced garlic or roasted chilies.
Mash the avocados and the seasonings with a fork or potato masher until the mix is well blended to the preferred consistency. Stir in 1 to 2 tbsp. of lime juice at the very end of the process.
Wrap the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or place the guacamole in an airtight container and refrigerate. When ready to use, stir the guacamole well before serving. A slight amount of browning may have taken place, but will blend in after stirring. Guacamole is best served within four hours of preparation, but can be made a day ahead. If you need to make it further in advance, freeze the guacamole in an airtight, freezer-safe container.
Nikki Jardin began freelance writing in 2009 and focuses on food and travel articles. She has been a professional cook and caterer for more than 20 years. She holds a degree in environmental science from Humboldt State University.
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