CAPSULE REPORT: Avocados are packed with fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. The only challenge is portion control when it’s turned into something as delicious as Yucatan Guacamole. Because of the climate and soil, Mexican Hass avocados are superior to California Hass avocados. Yucatan Guacamole, which uses the Mexican avocados, is so fine in texture, flavor and seasoning that we bypassed the chips—they just got in the way of the perfectly seasoned avocado flavor. Instead, we added those chip calories to our guacamole allotment. The Yucatan salsas are delicious, too. The products are available at retailers from coast to coast. This is Page 1 of a five-page article. Clickon the black links below to visit other pages.
We’ve been making guacamole since we were teenagers. It’s an easy recipe for a young person to make, especially one who has just learned the joys of Mexican cuisine. In our town, there is an authentic Mexican restaurant where the waiter mashes fresh avocados tableside in the traditional manner, using a molcajete, a mortar and pestle made of lava stone that dates back to Aztec times and earlier (see photo below). The guacamole is made to our preferred degree of spiciness.
While we didn’t have a molcajete at home, there was another bonus: We stuck toothpicks in the avocado pits and watched them sprout and grow tall and leggy, until we realized we would never have an avocado tree on our front lawn.
How we envy friends who live in California and Florida, who have lush avocado trees growing in their yards. They step outside, pluck a ripe avocado and eat. We need to buy our avocados from the market and wait for them to ripen before we can have guacamole. Read the ingredients on most ready-made guacamole containers: There’s a lot of “extra stuff” in with that avocado. Some brands have as little as 7% avocado; they’re primarily fillers and seasonings.
Sometimes, though, you find a product that’s ready made and really good, like Yucatan Organic Guacamole.
The inside lid of the one-pound container of guacamole announces that the contents include five or more organic avocados. Every batch is 95% Hass avocado, 5% seasonings and has no chemical preservatives. Amid the nice mash of avocado, there are actual chunks of the flesh of the fruit.* Sparks of red pepper are aesthetically pleasing.
Then you taste it. This is no shy guacamole: medium-spicy with jalapeño, onion, garlic powder and cilantro—although cilantro-haters won’t be put off by it, and cilantro-lovers will want to add a handful of fresh-chopped herb for flavor.
The molcajete, a mortar and pestle carved from
lava rock, was used by the Aztecs and earlier
peoples to grinding chiles and spices and for
other food preparation. Photo by Suzannah
Skelton | SXC.
Even without the added cilantro, it was delicious—and hard to resist eating the entire pound. (The spice-averse need not worry: there is also a mild-spiced All-Natural version, and the “authentic,” spicier version is available in All-Natural as well as the Certified Organic.)
The guacamole is so good that it deserved better than any tortilla chip we had around: It sent us on a tortilla chip-tasting expedition, which we’ll report on next month. In addition, we sought different ways to enjoy this savory fruit dip.
*The avocado is the fruit of a tree. However, since it is savory, not sweet, it tends to get grouped with the vegetables, like tomatoes. Another way to tell the difference between fruits and vegetables is that vegetables drop their seeds externally, whereas fruits contain their seeds inside (strawberries are the exception). Cucumbers and squash, e.g., are also biologically fruits, not vegetables.
By the way, there is no one, “authentic” recipe for guacamole. Recipes vary, and are based on the local availability of ingredients as well as personal taste.
Guacamole can be as simple as mashed avocados with salt, and if available, lime juice.
Other recipes add chopped onion or green onion, tomatoes, chiles (generally the milder serrano chile), red bell pepper and other seasonings (cumin, cilantro, black pepper, hot sauce, garlic).
Sour cream and/or mayonnaise are used in some recipes, but these are American adaptations and dilute the flavor of the avocado.
Fusion guacamole recipes add everything from Cajun spices to goat cheese and pistachios.