Updated: Jan 28, 2022
I'm convinced that if my high school Spanish teacher, Señora Lucas included a lesson of Aztec cuisine in her teachings I would've paid more attention. Shared an ancient guacamole recipe and I may have gotten perfect marks on my report card.
But, after my quick Google search about avocados, I realize why the Aztec cooking lesson of the same wouldn't have been approved for her lesson plans.
When the Aztecs discovered the avocado, they named it ahuacatl, which literally translates to "testicle" (insert wide-eyed emoji here). It is likely that the texture, shape and size of the fruit, as well as the way it grows in pairs, inspired the name of the avocado. TMI? Yeah, the lesson plan for Aztec cuisine (especially guacamole) would surely have died on Mr. Wargo's desk!! (He was my high school principal and would not take a lesson plan talking about testicles lightly).
But don't worry, I'll be more than glad to give you a brief history lesson on the family jewels.
¡Chicos, presten atención! (Por favor)
The delicious fruit had been growing in the wild for several millennia before being cultivated between 7,000-5,000 BC in the region of Mexico and Central and South America.
Avocados are popular in Mesoamerican society because of their superior nutritional value, high protein content and mono-unsaturated fat (that's the good fat). From my research, class, the humble avocado does carry a lot of sexual innuendo. But it may be a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg?
You see, the Aztec considered the avocado a love fruit, an aphrodisiac, capable of both increasing a man's virility and a woman's ability to become pregnant. Perhaps they prayed to Xipe Totec (pronounced Shee-PAY-toh-teck) the Aztec god of fertility for success in the bedroom or feasted on smashed ahuacatl prior to shagging (with productivity in mind). Chicken or the egg?
Avocados are a unique nutritious fruit that contains many of the relevant nutrients for humans, including fetal and infant health and development. They offer a variety of beneficial nutrients that can make a significant contribution to a nutrient-rich diet.
I spoke with Justin Ruta, Director of Global Sales at Avoworks who considers the avocado the greatest thing since sliced bread.
I called it the G.O.A.T. of the produce world. He laughed... I should've called US Patent and Trademark Office immediately.
"The avocado is the miracle fruit. A superfood. Due to its versatility it can be incorporated in breakfast, lunch and dinner or substituted for fats or as an emulsifier. With its nutritional value and now its ease of availability they are one of the most sought-after fruits in the United States. Eating whole foods including recipes with avocado is so great for your body. Working with Avocados from Mexico allows us to get avocado to market in a globally sustainable fashion while keeping a small carbon footprint and using naturally sourced water supplies."
Avoworks's website states the vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats you get from avocados help prevent disease and keep your body in good working order. The folate you get from avocados may lower your risk of certain cancers, such as prostate and colon cancer.
Avoworks also states avocados are a source of vitamins C, E, K, and B6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. They also provide lutein, beta carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids. Avocados contain high levels of healthy, beneficial fats, which can help a person feel fuller between meals.
*(avocados are NOT good for actual goats-so if you have a real goat, please don't feed it avocados).
Speaking of GOATs, did you know what the most consumed snack during the Super Bowl is? You betcha-- GUACAMOLE!
It’s estimated that 13.2 million pounds of avocado – approximately 26 million individual avocados – are sold in preparation for the game. As such, it's been predicted that eight million pounds of guacamole are consumed on Superbowl Sunday. I'll be making a batch, probably with 5-6 avocados. How about you?
Let's hope the AFC and NFC Championship games and the Super Bowl are just as exciting as the Divisional rounds of last weekend. Hopefully your GOAT is still playing in the games as you eat the GOAT of snacks-- guacamole!
Cooking Class with Carol
Things to Consider
Plan Ahead- The ripeness of the avocado is everything. Too hard and it's bitter. Too soft, it has no flavor. Avocados from Mexico have been a delight to work with. I have seen and purchased them at all of the local grocery stores, Giant Eagle, Market District, Wholefoods and Walmart.
Buy unripe avocados at least 3 days prior to your planned use. Ripened but not completely ripe one day before use. If the avocados are ripe, they probably need to be used as soon as possible or you run the risk of it overripening.
Skin- The skin should be slightly shiny and look hydrated. It will be dark green with brownish-yellow flecks.
Firmness- When you hold the avocado in your hand and gently squeeze it should have some resistance.
Weight- avocados should feel heavy for their size. If it feels light, it's already started to decompose inside. Leave it!
Flesh Color- when in doubt, open it up. The flesh should be yellowish green with a ring of pure green toward the outside of the flesh. If it looks at all unappealing, it's probably overripened. It can be used but discard any dark spots or mold. When in doubt, throw it out! Once opened, I like to use it immediately. It will start to discolor quickly unless acidulated. (You can dip (just the) top of your opened avocado in citrus juice to stop it from oxidizing too quickly, but unfortunately all avocados will eventually turn a dull and dreary brown if exposed to air for too long.
Lime- Fresh squeezed lime is a crucial part to the flavor profile of this guacamole. And it also will acidulate the avocado and delay the oxidation process that will cause it to turn brownish. I used to put lemon in my guacamole until about 15 years ago when Bobby Flay had a segment about guacamole and used lime. I was blown away and have never used any other citrus except lime. If you like lemon more than lime, by all means use it, just don't tell anyone you got the recipe from me. (wink wink)
Accompaniments- this is your time to shine. After you've made the mashed GOAT of a snack, the sky is the limit to what you can put in it. I prefer nothing except red onion for crunch, but for the sake of this blog, I will include several options for accompaniments.
Molcajete-- Mortar and Pestle -
It's not a must, but if you like to get guests or family members involved in preparing food, this is the funest way to do so. I had the same mortar and pestle for 10 years and recently purchased this authentic lava stone set that is wide and lends to easily smashing the avocados. Here's the link to purchase from our store.
Garlic- It's best to eat garlic in guacamole when it's been pulverized into a paste in the molcajete. The essence of the bite and pungent sharp and spicy taste diminishes when ground down, leaving a depth of flavor, or umami to your guacamole that is what I think makes it the GOAT.
Salt- is essential to help grind down the garlic into a mash. I prefer Maldon Salt. It’s salinity isn’t very strong so it’s forgiving and hard to over salt. You don't need much of it, but its abrasion is important to help with the breakdown of the garlic at the beginning of the recipe. Adding more salt at the end of the recipe is pure preference. Remember, your chips more than likely will be salted and may be all the extra salt needed.
2-3 ripe Avocados
2 medium sized garlic cloves
1 tsp. salt
juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 tablespoon)
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon finely diced fresh jalapeños
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
Your favorite nacho chips
Add salt and peeled garlic to bowl.
Grind until paste like consistency.
Cut avocado in half, lengthwise is easiest.
Remove stone. (see below on how to use it in food).
Using a large spoon scoop out the flesh and add to bowl.
Smash to desired consistency.
add lime juice
Mix well and taste for season. You may want to add more salt if desired.
Add accompaniments, mix well with spatula.
Serve immediately with your favorite tortilla chips. Save any leftovers for Avocado toast in the morning Enjoy!
If you don't have a molcajete or mortar and pestel, using a large bowl or food processor will work. Just don’t over process- authentic guacamole has some chunks.
The Avocado Seed - don’t throw the seed away- it’s the MOST nutritious part of the avocado. Here’s a great article about how to process it. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/eating-avocado-seed