Growing up in Cleveland and then Connecticut in the 60s and 70s, I don’t think I’d even SEEN an avocado until I moved to Chicago in the mid 80s. And I had never had guacamole until a party at the Chicago Botanic Garden, where the Mexican-American horticultural staff made it, complete with pits.
Once I moved to San Diego, avocados were plentiful, and good guacamole easy to come by. But I didn’t know how to make really good guac until I watched my friend Alex make it. Alex’s family is from Colima, Mexico, so I consider this to be authentic.
Many guacamole recipes call for raw onion and jalapeno, which I feel overpowers the delicate avocado flavor. So using salsa verde—made from roasted tomatillos, chiles, and onions—is the perfect answer. While you can use red salsa in a pinch, your guacamole will have a less-than-appealing color.Check out this post from Mimi Avocado for a primer on choosing and ripening avocados; her family grows avocados for a living. Avocados don’t ripen until they are picked, you can’t “soften” them if you cut them open too early, and sometimes you get a bad avocado that has hard spots inside. The trick is to ripen them naturally on the counter, or by putting them in a paper bag. Refrigerate them to hold them at the ripe stage for up to 3 days. If you add an apple or banana to the paper bag, they can ripen faster, as apples and bananas give off ethylene gas as they ripen.
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