Beyond Guacamole

avocado

I love avocados. Not just because they taste and feel so pleasant to eat, but also because they’re so damn freaky.

You can’t just decide you feel like eating avocado because chances are there’s never a perfectly ripe one around exactly when you want one. At the grocery store they’re either all in a big over-ripe pile or in a big, green, hard-as-rock pile.

So you buy a green one and wait. It could take a day; it could take 5 days. You never know when the avocado will decide it’s ready to be eaten. Wait a little too long and it’s all slimy and brown. Don’t wait long enough and it’s all hard and woody.

If you’re really in love with avocados you can buy one every 3 days or so and then you’ll have a pretty good chance of having a perfectly ripe avocado on hand close to the time you actually want one.

And when it’s perfectly ripe, there’s almost nothing better. Creamy, buttery avocado in guacamole;  on a sandwich;  in sushi;  in a whole variety of salads; in place of mayonnaise in egg or tuna salads;  in gazpacho; or straight up with a little lime juice.  Mash it with lemon juice, salt & pepper and spread on warm toast. Make great ice cream, milk shakes or smoothies.[1]

salad

 If you only want half an avocado one day, slice it in half around the pit with the peel on; twist and separate the two halves. Loosely wrap the half that still has the pit embedded in it in some wax paper. As long as the pit is in the fruit you can save it like that for a day or two. I only found this out a short while ago and wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

The pit apparently has magical preservative powers or something. And, speaking of which, what’s the deal with that pit anyway? It’s huge.  It’s got to be good for something besides sticking toothpicks in and suspending over jars of water to make it grow into a tree, right?

Well…if you cut it open, you can sometimes get a milky substance out of it that becomes red when exposed to air. The Conquistadors used this stuff as writing ink way back in the 16th Century. You can, too.

pit

Anyway, because of that large pit, avocados are considered something of an evolutionary anachronism, according to wise Internet resources.

There is no animal large enough to eat avocados and disperse its seeds by pooping it out all over town like they with other large fruits. Not since the Pleistocene era have there been animals large enough to poop out  avocado pits. If humans hadn’t taken over the cultivation of avocados they’re now be as extinct as the Giant Ground Sloth – a famous pre-historic avocado lover. 

ground-sloth

 There are almost 300 calories in one avocado with 75% of those calories coming from fat and yet avocados are said to help promote weight loss! How could this be? I don’t know, look it up. This is not a scientific blog.  I have heard, though that it has something to do with the fact that they’re very high in monounsaturated fats.

The avocado fruit, tree bark and leaves are toxic to most animals and can be unpleasant for people with latex sensitivities.

The Aztecs worshiped avocados as a sex and  fertility fruit. The word “avocado” comes from the Nahuatl (Astecan) word “ahuacatl” which means testicle.

Aztec virgins were confined indoors during the harvesting of the testicle fruit so they wouldn’t be accidentally deflowered by them or something.

 I reckon Aztecs either  had much smaller avocados back then or testicles have shrunk a great deal over the centuries and that’s why Aztec guys always wore those long robes instead of jeans.

aztecs321

Centuries later, people consider avocados to be an aphrodisiac and a remedy for erectile dysfunction. Nice, god-fearing people were once forbidden from purchasing or consuming avocados out of fear of becoming raging sex fiends. It’s true.

And finally and most interestingly, the Spanish word for lawyer, “abogado” (or avocat in French or avvocato in Italian or even advocate in English) comes from the same root as the Aztec word for testicle. 


 [1] If you have any new and exciting avocado recipes, I’d love to hear about them.

UPDATE: I wasn’t going to include this recipe initially because it sounds unpalatable to me, but I’ve been told by others that it sounds amazing, so here it is. A variation on key lime pie using avocados and much, much easier:
Avocado Pie
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 medium sized Hass avocado
  • 3 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • heavy (whipping) cream, whipped without sugar
  • graham cracker pie crust made with brown sugar (use recipe on box of graham crackers)

In a blender mix milk and avocado thoroughly and then blend in the lemon juice. Pour this IMMEDIATELY into the graham pie crust as it sets very rapidly! Add unsweetened whipped cream ontop and refrigerate for a few hours. (This pie is so sweet to start off with that unsweetened cream works well).

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49 responses to “Beyond Guacamole

  1. They sell this on the beaches of Brazil:

    Get a bunch of avocados
    Throw in lime juice and sugar (to taste)

    Mix smooth. Chill.

    It’s vegan lime pudding!

  2. Smashed a “Palta” (as it is also called in Spanish), as you do with mashed potatoes.
    Mix it with a bit of lemon and salt, as desired.

    Perfect dip sauce for your Tostitos and a beer!

    Have a great day XUP!

  3. Okay. This post perfectly illustrates the reason I love your blog: It’s funny as hell AND I learned about 75 things while reading it. I will be moving this onto my list of Top Five Favorite XUP Posts! Of course I can never bring myself to move something else off, so that list is like 47 posts long at this point. SO?!?

    And now I will obviously be having guacamole at lunch today. Ole!

  4. I love avocados too, especially in sandwiches of all kinds (except banana sandwiches). I grow avocado trees in my windows and I even subscribe to an avocado newsletter.

    However, I have a word of warning for any of your readers who might be avocado-uninitiated: do not cook them! Don’t boil them, fry them, roast them, bake them, or put them on a pizza. They release a horrible toxic taste when cooked.

  5. I love this post! I learn so many things by reading your site. 🙂

    One of my favorite recipes involving avocados is a “salad” I make using mangoes and avocados.

    You’ll be shocked by the non-perfectionist nature of this “recipe,” but here it is:

    Cube some avocados.
    Cube some mangoes.
    Mix.
    Mix in a little lime juice (optional).

    It’s REALLY good, and has been a huge hit when I’ve served it at parties.

    In fact, I’m not sure how well the leftovers keep in the fridge, because there never are any. 😉

  6. Dave – Thanks, that sounds like an amazing summer thing. Much better than ice cream which always makes me feel a little ill

    Bandobras – I like my explanation of avocado as a pre-historic fruit much better

    TTP – Or some tequila! (since you already have the lemon and salt). Thanks. I really do prefer my avocado as simple as possible.

    Lesley – I learned a lot just writing this post. And then we all went Tex Mex for lunch! Ole right back atcha.

    Charlene – Thanks. I figure there’s nothing like a food blog post to ring in the weekend.

    Zoom – At last! Something we agree on!! Interesting. I’ve never thought of cooking them. They must be the only food around that you can’t cook. I can’t think of anything else offhand that gets horrible when you cook it. Even avocado soup is cold and just blended. They really are the freakiest thing.

    CP – Both mangoes and avocados don’t do well when stored once they’ve been peeled, so it’s just as well that the salad gets eaten right away. I’ve seen this salad with a little red onion and/or coriander and or chives and/or olive oil added as well.

  7. i really enjoy coming here and learning stuff. seriously, if i could attach a line to my brain i would. it probably means there is something wrong with me, wanting to learn stuff all the time.

    i’m not a big avocado eater but hte husband enjoys them. i do like the guacamole that comes from them. as for the issue of their ripeness, do brown paper bags work to move their ripe further? i do that with peaches.

  8. This post is pretty damn near perfect. I love guacamole and avocado in all its forms. And now I think I love you. In a totally non-creepy stalker-y sort of way of course.

  9. Pingback: Avocado trivia

  10. i hate avocado.. blech..

    not a big guac fan.. ill eat my friends cause her recipe is amazing. and we are usually half corked when we eat it

    otherwise.. blech.. im a texture weirdo and that is one i dont like

  11. Violesky – Okay, so if you have an avocado tree, do they all ripen at once like the ones you buy from the grocery store do? Then what do you do, eh?

    Leah – Yes, I understand you can put them in a paper bag with a banana to make them ripen faster. Learning is good.

    Loth – Och, go away wi’ ye, ye daft wee bairn. Next time you’re in the neighbourhood we’ll get together and have an avocado love fest, yes?

    Nat – It’s almost unanimous. Do they make you feel sexy?

    Olivia – Thanks. I never know where I’m going either. And yes, avocado trees are very easy to grow. Stick a couple of toothpicks in the pit and suspend it over a jar of water until it starts to sprout. Plant it and voila. They have beautiful green leaves. I wonder if zoom has any fruit on hers though? I’ve never managed that.

    Milan – No, I didn’t know that. Was that supposed to be a compliment to him? Because I think I might feel uncomfortable if someone named a giant sloth after me.

    Jobthingy – You’re the only non-avocado afficionado so far. I guess you’re not too worried about missing out on the aphrodisiac aspects of the fruit, eh? Ya, I didn’t think so.

  12. It would be a small tree.
    I’d invite you down to my island paradise and serve you salads and dips (for the fresh shrimp) … and soup.

    Cold Avocado Soup
    Put 4 ripe avocados (chopped) in a blender with the juice of 1 lemon and blend until smooth.
    Add 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (chilled) and a dash of cayenne pepper and blend until well mixed.
    Chill for at least 1 hour.
    Whip1 1/2 cups whipping cream until frothy and almost firm.
    Stir in the avocado mix to the cream.
    Add a bit of parsley and any salt & pepper to taste. (optional).

    The cayenne adds a nice little bite.

  13. Avocadoes are the best!! I usually buy them to add to sandwiches or salads; but invariably I end up standing in the kitchen eating them with a spoon as soon as I realize they are ripe. Maybe one day I’ll learn restraint and save half for the next day, now that I know to leave the seed in.

    As to cooking them, my sister-in-law puts them in stirfries, soup, and other baked dishes. They were delicious and the pieces maintained their shape and consistency pretty well through the cooking. This is pretty useless information, I realize, in that I don’t have any actual recipes; but at least you know you can cook with it!

  14. This is really not the way to go if trying to lose weight, but it is heavenly:

    I don’t do exact quantities, so just use your spidey sense:

    Two or three avocados
    Entire tub of Philadelphia Cheese (OK you could use light Philly if you’re really worried about heart disease)
    Splash of tabasco
    Wee slug of lime juice (lemon also fine)
    Salt and pepper

    And stick in blender til smooth.

    There you have it. Dip that you will probably not want to share.

    Dip in crackers, crudites, chips/crisps or face.

  15. Jefferson was a bit obsessed with giant extinct creatures.

    During one campaign, his opponent tried to give him the derogatory nickname: “Mr. Mammoth.”

  16. I heart avocados, and am deeply saddened by the current shortage here, caused by the fires which ruined part of the avocado crop. But the real reason I am commenting is to mention that if you squeeze a little lemon or lime juice over half an avocado for storage (pit or not), it will keep better.

  17. Omigosh, that cold avocado soup of VoiletSky’s sounds wonderful. I love avocados too. My favorite way to eat them is cut in half and stuffed with minced fresh shrimp. (Chop up the shrimp with finely chopped onion, some mayonnaise and lemon, and perhaps a teeny bit of Coleman’s mustard). Serve it in the avocado. It’s a great starter for dinner, or just a meal by itself with a hunk of Italian bread and fresh butter.

    My philosophy is, if you’re going to enjoy food, forget about the calories, but eat the way they do in France — anything and everything, but in smaller portions.

    Avocados contain fats that are good for us. Yay!

  18. Oh I just love avocados. I’ve never thought to sweeten them – may have to give that a try.

    One of my favorite recipes involves stuffing with them with rice and crab and tomatoes and baking them – soooo good.

    Love the tip about saving them with the pit too. Thanks!

  19. Violetsky – It’s a deal! First one with an island paradise of their own throws a huge avocado party!

    Nancy – I’ve never seen a recipe for cooked avocado and Zoom says it’s disgusting. I’m afraid to ruin a good avocado by cooking it if it doesn’t turn out well. I can’t see how an avocado could be enhanced by stir-frying or baking it. What happens? Does she use a hard green one, maybe and the cooking softens it up?

    MisssyM – Sounds great. Creamed goat cheese is a little easier on the arteries and adds a nice flavour. I want this now, but of course I have no ripe avocados on hand.

    Milan – Well, it’s better than being obessed with White House interns or Hollywood bombshells, I guess.

    Meloukhia – Excellent point. Lime juice and avocados just go naturally together. And I’m finding it so interesting that everyone who’s commented here LOVES avocados, except one who hates them. It doesn’t seem to be a take or leave it kind of fruit.

    Jo – Absolutely! Both your philosphy of eating like the French and your great recipe. I remember a restaurant we used to frequent way back that always served a crab salad in a half avocado shell. The crab was mixed with mashed avocado instead of mayo (doesn’t really need both), a little lemon and some chopped chives. All I ever needed after that was maybe a little bread and cheese and a glass of wine

    Kimberly – Again with the baking?? Were they hard avocados you baked? I can’t imagine what would become of them if you baked them when ripe. Thanks for the recipe. I’m going to try every one

  20. Mmm… Crab salad in avocado sounds pretty good right about now! My poor Sodexho-filled stomach is grumbling.

    I believe I love the “avocat” “avocado” root thing. “Testify” and “Testes” — same deal. Apparently in either Ancient Greece or Rome (can’t remember which) citizens would hold their testicle when giving testimony (only men were citizens). I wonder why avocados were associated with testicles though…

  21. I love avocados too. I just bought five yesterday. I hoping I will be able to eat all of them in a salad each day or else I will be making guacamole. The French love my guacamole although I have really americanized it.

  22. La Canadienne – Because they look like testicles? It’s always the most obvious answer. I hadn’t even thought of the tesify/testicle connection – every cool, thanks. Avocados totally rock.

    Aggie – Ah, thank you! So many avocado lovers. We really need to arrange a guacamole party.

    Linda – There’s French guacamole, too? Please tell me how the French make guacamole. Were the avocados you bought all at different stages of ripening or are you just hoping they will magically ripen one after another? (I always do and it never works)

  23. Yes, the avocado! My sons 3rd real food he ever tried! LOVE THEM!!!

    Speaking of recipes, you mentioned a while back about GOOD/filling vegetarian recipes… can I please bother you for some/links/ideas?!?!

  24. Oh goodness, this post has made me so hungry. And so craving of guacamole… Mmmm…. I’m with La Canadienne – how I despise Sodexo.

  25. XUP if you can’t wait for nature to ripen your avacados (or other fruit for that matter, bananas, melons… cut up an apple into 8’s or 16’s (even better) any apple will do. Throw the sacrificial apple into a brown paper bag along with the avacados, close the bage and place on your kitchen counter for a day, 2 max you will have the PERFECTLY ripest avacodos ever.

  26. Count me among the minority here of people who cannot abide the strange beasties. It’s a textural thing for me… they are slimy in the mouth and I cannot bring myself to swallow or even explore the taste. I feel deprived of a wonder of nature but cannot help it.

    My chiropractor says to mash them with dark cocoa and honey for a vegan chocolate pudding. Um. Someone else can try that one for me.

  27. Helen – I don’t even know where to begin. Check your bookshops for some general veg cookbooks with recipes that don’t use tons of ingredients and that have simple basic meals. Try to get a book written in the country in which you live. Different countries have some very different vegetarian ingredients you can’t always get anywhere. The Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes Cookbook (Robin Robertson) is great when you have to feed people who enjoyed their meat & potatoes (there aren’t really any meat recipes). Websites are tricky because you can’t always rely on the recipes. People will post all kinds of crazy stuff and you don’t realize until half way through your cooking that the recipe isn’t going to work. This is a good webite though: http://www.vegcooking.com/. Other than that we eat the same things everyone else eats except substituting other stuff for meat. TVP is a good substitute for hamburger for instance and we use it in chili, spaghetti, stews. We have mac & cheese only home made; we do eat fish, so we have at least one fish meal a week. Beans are a good staple, too. One of my fave’s is a variation of pasta fagioli. Sautee chopped unions in olive oil with a little oregano and basil, salt & pepper, add a can of beans (Ilike the mixed beans but whatever you like will work), throw in some garlic – lots of garlic!! And a can of tomato sauce, a little water and let it all simmer for about 30-40 minutes or so. It should be a soupy consistency. Cook some short pasta like macaroni. Serve in soup bowls with the pasta, maybe some nice bread and a salad on the side.

    Davis – Down with Sodexo!! Learn to cook!!

    Olivia – Keep us posted.

    Kitty – I’ve never tried this, but I have heard it works. I’ll have to try it some time – thanks.

    Susan – Does your chiropractor say why he wants you to eat avocados?? The chocolate totally would kill the deliciousness of the avocado. I would mix it with whipped cream and honey. Mmmmmm. I’m very sad for you for not enjoying the avocado. You and Jobthingy both dislike them for the same reasons.

  28. I love avocado. Oh and when you make guacamole, you can do the same as when you want to keep a half avocado: leave the pit in the bowl and it won’t oxidize.

    I love them with balsamic vinegar… Mmmmmm

  29. Jazz-that is a supremo top tip-I hate you can’t keep left over guacamole without it going brown. If this works I’m nominating you for the Nobel prize for something.

  30. Jazz – Two very excellent ideas. I love balsamic vinegar. Finding a really good one is as exciting as finding an new, really nice bottle of wine

    MisssyM – I love it when blog commenters interact. What is in those pits I wonder? And could they be used to preserve other things too?

  31. I am an avocado lover of the sort who buys them every few days so there is always one on hand, and yet I learned things I never suspected I needed to know from this post. Thanks, I think!

  32. Violesky – Was it this blog post? Did it ring your pavlovian avocado bell?

    DaniGirl – That’s what I’m here for. Doesn’t it make you appreciate those gorgeous green globes even more?

    Reeky – I’ve got one ready to go tonight, too. I almost cut it last night, but it just didn’t seem quite perfect yet. Mmm ..can’t wait.

  33. I love avocados too. Here’s my favourite recipe for avocado salsa:

    1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered vertically
    1 ripe Haas avocado, diced
    1/4 cup finely diced red onion
    1/2 tsp minced garlic (I use jarred)
    1 tsp honey
    2 tablespoons lime juice
    1/4 tsp ground cumin
    Gently combine all ingredients and then try to keep from eating the whole bowl. Better yet, make a double batch.

  34. Lynn – Honey, eh? Interesting. But where’s the cilantro? I can’t have salsa without cilantro. It’s okay if I modify, right?

    Violetsky – Oh good!

  35. Nice comments on avocados.

    I love word origins, however, I beg to differ on your lawyers and testicles connection. There is one, but not this.

    “vocare” is the Latin word for “to speak” as in “vocal”. “Ad” means “to”, so “advocate” is to speak for someone or thing. “Avocatto” is an Italian variation of the Latin original. How lawyers are related to testicles, is that “testify” is related to “testicle”. A male testifying before the court would grab his crotch to pledge that he was telling the truth, on penalty of ending his family line.

    The fact that a Nahuatl word sounds like an Italian lawyer is a coincidence between two totally unrelated language groups. “Taco” sounds yummy to us, but in Japanese, it’s also yummy, but only if you like to eat octopus, since that is their name for it. And yes, they enjoy taco pizzas with tentacles.

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