There’s no denying that America has a deep fondness for dips. And that holds especially true for guacamole. While traditionally associated with Mexican food, guacamole has become a standalone star at holiday parties, gatherings for sporting events and much more.
In fact, in the lead-up to football’s big game in early 2015, fans in the U.S. ate an estimated 120 million pounds of avocados. Guacamole’s not just a tasty side, but a great way for eager young chefs to practice their culinary skills with a recipe loaded with history – and plenty of flavor to boot!
When tackling guacamole, keep in mind these five handy tips:
“Ripe avocados make for the best guacamole.”
1. Choose the best avocados
Rick Bayless is a longtime chef of Mexican cuisine and author of several Latin American-centered cookbooks. Speaking with Bon Appetit, he explained that the most important part of guacamole is having quality avocados. Specifically, you want avocados that are firm and ripe. If you press on the bulbed end of the avocado and it reacts accordingly, then you know they’re perfect for guacamole. Your avocados should also contain the brown stem at the end; this is a natural seal to help maintain quality.
2. Control ripeness
As The Kitchn explained, there are a few tricks you can use in case your avocados aren’t quite perfect. If they’re overly ripe, you can stick the avocados in the fridge for a day to maintain that perfect level of ripeness. If you want to speed up your avocados ripening, keep them in a bag with a banana, which somehow cuts the process by a day or two. Finally, always buy more avocados then you need. You can always pick and choose parts from various avocados to make your guacamole.
3. Focus on the details
According to Pop Sugar, there are a handful of hacks can have a huge impact on your guacamole. For instance, you may want to dice the avocado while it’s in the shell; that way, you save time on the mashing process. Either way, you want to mash before you combine the other ingredients, as it helps ensure a proper blend. Finally, if you want to have extra creamy guacamole (and who doesn’t?), it’s a good idea to add in some olive oil. Just a few drops can make all the difference.
4. Add in some spice
Avocados are clearly important to your guacamole, but that doesn’t mean you can forget a few other essential add-ins, courtesy of Food Network. Herbs are just as important, and something like scallions, chives or cilantro can add new texture and flavor. You should also add lime or lemon juice, which cuts the avocado’s natural acidity and makes the final dish all the more nuanced. And if you like your guacamole with a bit of kick, spices like habanero or serrano peppers can do the trick.
5. Serve right away
While chefs argue about the specifics of guacamole – like whether to add in salt, for instance – there is one rule they all agree on: serve your guacamole right away. If people haven’t started dipping in within an hour, then it’s not truly fresh guacamole. Luckily, the addition of lime juice can usually push the freshness up to a few hours.