Cooking Tips: Guacamole

It’s probably the case that not very many Bostonians are thinking about guacamole these days. After all, it’s been in the mid-thirties for the past few weeks and avocados shipped from distant sunny lands aren’t exactly cheap. Luckily, when I was home in sunny California almost three weeks ago, I got the chance to pick some avocados from my grandmother’s tree. It was overloaded with those small green orbs, four of which I carefully packed into my suitcase. After a few weeks in the window, straining for rays of milky winter sunlight, they ripened into black wrinkly delights with lovely creamy green insides.

If you couldn’t tell by the overly descriptive intro, my California roots have given me a deep love and respect for the avocado.

Anyway, back to the guacamole. I was in no way prepared to make guacamole when my little avocados became ripe, having exactly zero of the other ingredients required (cumin, cilantro, red onion, lime, etc.) so I opted for the kind of lame, but still tasty version.

Fake-amole by me
2 avocados
A heaping spoonful of your favorite salsa
A smidge of sour cream
Salt & Pepper

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a fork.

For a girl who claims to love to cook, it’s kind of pathetic, right? Please forgive me and don’t stop reading because I’m about to get to what I’m really here to tell you. It’s not exactly revolutionary, but it is useful.

I have heard all kinds of methods of keeping your guacamole from turning brown- adding lemon or lime, leaving the pit in, grilling the avocado first, and more, but I have only found one that really works. The reason avocados turn brown is because they are chock full of an enzyme called Polyphenol oxidase. To make it really simple, when this compound hits the air, a reaction takes place that turns your food brown. Acids like lemon and lime can slow this reaction down. So can the cool temperature in a refrigerator, but it will eventually happen. The best thing you can do is keep as much air away from your guacamole as possible. I place plastic wrap tightly against the surface of my guacamole and in a couple of days (if it lasts that long) it is still green and delicious!

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