Go into any Mexican eatery, whether a fine, family oriented or fast food, restaurant and guacamole is on the menu. It is easily created, and a tasty condiment to add to any dish, or just snack with tortilla chips. The main ingredient is avocado, botanically a large berry containing a single large seed; in other words, a fruit. The soft, buttery “meat” of the fruit is contained within a dark leathery skin; pear shaped, but unlike Weebles, do fall down when stood up on its wide end.
While they are high in calories (50/ounce) and fat, the fat is monosaturated which is a “good fat” that helps to lower bad cholesterol. Per a 100-gram serving (2/3s of a medium sized) of avocado contains:
485 milligrams of potassium
81 micrograms of folate
0.257 milligrams of vitamin B6
10 milligrams of vitamin C
2.07 milligrams of vitamin E
…and the health benefits affect cancer and heart risks, depression, vision and pregnancy. However, a typical serving size is only 1/3 of a medium sized avocado, due to the high caloric and fat content. Too much, of a good thing, can be bad in the long run.
For 2022, if you have not noticed yet, avocados have become quite expensive, if they are available at all. Yes, another shortage has appeared, and troubles with the trucking and shipping industries are not the main reason. Thank the severe drought California, and Mexico, are experiencing, since they are the major producers of this fruit. The basic math, for growing them is, “On average, if we're producing 100,000 pounds per acre, that takes about a million gallons of water, so 100 gallons per pound, so it'd be about 50 gallons per 8-ounce fruit.” (https://www.turnto23.com/news/23abc-in-depth/why-are-avocados-so-expensive) Add fertilizer, pruning, picking, processing, labor force, and this becomes one pricey piece of fruit.
What is a consumer to do? Buy premade avocado products? The companies that make these products are having the same stock issues that supermarkets and local markets are having. A 6-ounce package of guacamole, which cost $3.99 in 2019, has doubled in price; and do not forget that preservatives are used in these products. Making it fresh, at home, is not as costly, but you have to be smart about storage. Avocados are not shelf friendly, and once ripened will go brown quickly. Lemon juice and salt can slow the decomposition, and adds flavor.
In our home, my husband is the avocado lover; personally, I think they are gross. However, I will make food items for him that I will not touch, and that is an example of love. I will make a huge batch of guacamole, put one cup in a refrigerator storage container just for his enjoyment, and then freeze the balance in snack size baggies (one cup/bag). That way, when he wants a snack, put on a meal, or in a wrap, it is available.
Guacamole (simple recipe and Roy loves it)
2 medium avocados1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 and ½ tsp. minced garlic
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup diced red onion
Pinch of ground cayenne pepper (more if you like it very spicy, or use diced jalapenos)
Smash up avocado “meat” and lemon juice with a fork or potato masher until desired consistency (smooth, or a little lumpy). Mix in garlic, salt, red onion, and hot pepper.
Makes 2 cups.
Avocados can also be frozen. Remove the meat from the skin, cut into slices, chunks, or leave the halves whole. Place on a baking sheet, lined with wax paper, and put in the freezer for two hours. Remove from the wax paper, put pieces in a freezer bag, label and date the bag, and return to the freezer. It will last 4-6 months dependent on whether preservatives were used, such as lemon juice and salt.
Besides making guacamole, or eating the avocado as is, did you know you can bake with them?
Due to the high fat content, and the smooth texture of the “meat”, avocados can replace butter or shortening in a baking recipe. Bread, cake, and even brownie recipes can be adapted to use avocados as the fat, instead of dairy or oil products.
As with many other breads, like banana and zucchini, loaves can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 3 months. The recipe I will give is for a dessert like/snacking bread. However, if a savory bread is desired, mix in the ingredients (cut the sugar back to ½ cup, only use the ¼ tsp. salt) from the guacamole recipe, and you have guacamole bread!
2 very ripe medium avocados (Equals 2 cups smashed)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour (add 2 Tbsp. for high altitude)
1 and 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9”x5” loaf pan with baking spray.
Cream together avocados and sugar until smooth; if a little lumpy, do not worry over it. Add the eggs and beat together thoroughly.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients with a spatula. The batter will be thick.
Let pan cool on wire rack before removing bread.
Makes 9 servings.
…and need a project for the kids? Try and grow your own avocado tree from the pit.