Distinctly Mexican in origin, this simple, classic guacamole is served throughout Mexico as a side to tacos, rice, beans, or simply with fried corn chips. This version is customizable and ready in less than 10 minutes! Enjoy fresh for the best taste!
Where does guacamole come from?
Guacamole (say it like wok-a-MO-leh) comes from Mexico, specifically originating in the central states of Tlaxcala, Puebla, Morelos, Guanajuato, and Zacatecas. The word guacamole comes from the Náhuatl word ahuacatmulli which means avocado sauce or avocado mole (ahuacatl = avocado and mulli = sauce or mole). The most traditional preparation uses mashed, ripe avocados mixed with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and green chile peppers.
A brief history of the avocado
For most people, guacamole is synonymous with its main ingredient: the avocado. Did you know that avocado trees are native to the Americas? There is evidence of the avocado in Central America and Mexico dating back for more than 50,000 years. And cultivation of this fruit dates as far back as 7,000 years BC.
Pre-Hispanic cultures commonly consumed avocados. Some cultures considered the trees sacred and that the fruit provided power and virility to those who consumed them. The Náhuatl word for avocado (ahuacatl) also means testicle, likely due to the avocado’s resemblance to the body part and its aphrodisiac qualities. Its aphrodisiac quality is one of the reasons that the fruit gained popularity throughout the world after the Spanish conquest of Mexico and parts of Central America.
Several varieties of avocados exist, with slightly different shapes, seed sizes, skin colors and textures, and levels of fat. Today, Mexico grows at least 20 different species of avocado.
Selecting and preserving avocados
Like mangoes, the way to tell that an avocado is ripe is by feel. An avocado that gives slightly when squeezed is ripe. Anything rock hard is not ripe and anything mushy is past its prime.
With that said, finding perfectly ripe avocados at your local grocery store may be a bit challenging. I remember the frustration of only finding avocados that were rock hard or that were mushy.
Save yourself the frustration and buy your avocados a few days in advance of when you need them. That way you will have time to let the avocados ripen if needed.
If you need to speed up ripening, one tip from Larousse Diccionario Enciclopédico de la Gastronomía Mexicana author Ricardo Muñoz Zurita is to wrap them in newspaper and leave them at room temperature. Once the avocados are ripe, you can store them in the fridge for several days until you are ready to use them.
How to keep avocados from browning
How to keep avocados from browning is a challenge. Avocados are delicate fruits that don’t keep well once cut and exposed to air. Therefore, I highly recommend that you cut the avocado just before using them.
If you must cut an avocado in advance, lime juice will slow the oxidation, but will not completely prevent it. It is commonly believed that leaving the avocado pits in the guacamole will slow the guacamole from browning. This is false. So, if you are in the mood for guacamole or are looking to make it for your next get-together, make it just before you plan to serve it.
Is guacamole healthy?
The short answer is yes! Guacamole is made of a variety of vegetables and its star ingredient, avocado, has lots of health benefits like:
- Vitamin C (antioxidant contributing to healthy immune function)
- Vitamin E (antioxidant that protects body tissues from damage)
- Niacin (aids digestion and helps convert food to energy)
- Potassium (offsets harmful effects of sodium on blood pressure)
- Magnesium (regulates muscle and nerve function)
- Folate (supports healthy brain function)
- Dietary fiber (helps reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity)
- Dietary fat (helps with the absorption of nutrients and stores energy)
- Vitamin K (supports blood clotting and bone health)
How to prepare guacamole
Guacamole is super simple to prepare. First, chop and prepare your ingredients. Then, scoop the avocado flesh into a bowl and gently mash it with a fork. Next, add the other chopped ingredients, the lime juice, and the salt, and mix until everything is incorporated. I like my guacamole to have texture, so I make sure that the ingredients are softened and slightly mashed, but not smooth. If you like your guacamole smoother, you could use a blender to mix everything together.
Traditionally, guacamole is prepared in a molcajete, a Mexican pestle, and mortar made from volcanic rock. If you have a molcajete, try it to make your next guacamole! The molcajete can then serve as a beautiful, traditional serving bowl for this classic Mexican dish.
Simple Classic Guacamole
- 3 large ripe avocados (about 700g or 1.5 lbs)
- 2 medium roma tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 3/4 cups diced)
- 1/4 large white onion, diced (about a heaping 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, seeds and veins removed, finely chopped (optional)
- Juice of 3 limes or more to taste
- Salt to taste
- Pit and scoop avocado flesh from skin. Place in a medium bowl and begin to mash with a fork until mixture is softened, but not smooth. You want the dish to have some texture.
- Add the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, pepper (if using) and salt
- Combine ingredients with a fork until evenly incorporated
- Adjust salt if necessary