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GOOD FOOD CHEAP: Easy Guacamole with Plum Tomato and Red Onion
My GOOD FOOD CHEAP recipes have a couple of goals: First, they're about GOOD FOOD, both in taste and in quality. Second, they're about cooking on the CHEAP - in other words, how do you take food that you love, and make it as inexpensively as possible?
We've recently been on a guacamole kick at our house. It started innocently enough when I spotted some prepared guacamole at my local supermarket, brought it home, and promptly devoured the entire 7-oz. package! Realizing that, at about $3.50 per box, that was some pretty expensive snacking, I began experimenting with making my own.
At first, I just mashed up the avocado and added a little seasoning - it was okay, but I kept twiddling with my recipe. I eventually came up with the following version, which has even converted my husband, who always politely declined the plain avocado recipe, into a guacamole-loving man!
- 2 ripe Hass avocados
- 2 t. Fruit Fresh Produce Protector
- 1/4 t. sea salt
- 1-1/2 T. red onion, finely chopped
- 1 plum tomato, small diced
- Cut open the avocados and remove the pits. Scoop the avocado into a medium bowl and mash well with a fork or potato masher.
- Add 2 t. of Fruit Fresh Produce Protector and stir well.
- Add 1/4 t. of sea salt.
- Finely chop the red onion; add to bowl.
- Small dice the plum tomato; add to bowl.
- Stir all ingredients together well.
- Serve your guacamole immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Here's some detailed information on the step-by-step process of making this recipe.
Preparing the Avocado
When making guacamole, make sure that your avocados are ripe. The skin should be black, not green, and the avocado will feel a little soft when you squeeze it. Normally, if I bring green avocados home from the store, it takes about 2 days for them to ripen on the counter. If you let them sit for too many days, they'll dry out, the skin gets hard and crunchy, and when you cut them open they'll have black spots in the avocado flesh - not a pretty sight. These usually end up being thrown away - a very sad thing, so make sure you use your avocados within a few days of bringing them home!
Avocados have a huge pit which you can sometimes pop out with your finger. However, for the times that the pit is pretty firmly lodged, there's a quick and easy technique for removing the pit so that you can scoop out the meat. Cut through the center of the avocado until you hit the pit. Continue cutting through just the meat all the way to the bottom of the avocado, on both sides of the pit. Pull the cut halves apart. The pit will be stuck in one of the two sides.
Use a large knife and firmly hit the avocado pit. The idea is to slightly embed the edge of the knife into the pit.
While holding the avocado half with one hand, lift up on the knife with the other hand. The pit should easily lift out. If the pit stays when you lift the knife, try rapping the pit again to firmly embed the knife.
The easiest and safest way to remove the pit from the knife is to rap the pit hard onto a cutting board. The knife will cut all the way through the pit and it will fall off the blade.
Once the pits have been removed, use a spoon and scoop the avocado meat into a medium bowl.
Mash the avocado well, using a fork or a potato masher. It doesn't have to be perfectly smooth - I just like to make sure there aren't any big chunks of avocado in it. Two Hass avocados will yield about a cup mashed.
Fruit Fresh Produce Protector
As soon as you've mashed your avocado, add 2 teaspoons of Fruit Fresh Produce Protector to the bowl and stir well. This will prevent your guacamole from turning brown for up to 8 hours, according to the bottle. If you don't have Fruit Fresh on hand, try adding some lime or lemon juice to slow down browning.
Also, since exposure to air is the cause of guacamole browning, you can prolong the green color by storing the guacamole with plastic wrap or wax paper pressed right down on the entire surface, and then sealing inside an airtight container.
At this point, toss in 1/4 teaspoon sea salt to your mixing bowl. You may want to adjust this up or down according to taste. I've found that some brands of tortilla chips are saltier than others, so this may affect how much salt you want to add.
I love the taste that red onion gives the guacamole, but I hate biting into a big chunk of onion. Here's the technique I use to prepare the onion to avoid having big chunks. When I cut the red onion, I cut one thin slice. The exact amount of onion will vary from batch to batch, but it will probably be about 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons.
I cut the thin slice in half, and then cut each half into small diced pieces.
And last, for good measure, I give all the diced pieces some extra chopping. Add your chopped onion to the mixing bowl. This particular batch yielded 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of onion.
To prepare the plum tomato, cut it crosswise into about 1/4" thick slices.
To continue, I usually stack 2 slices together. Then I make lengthwise cuts across the whole stack, turn the stack 90 degrees and again make another set of lengthwise cuts. Cut all your slices like this and you'll end up with a nice little pile of small diced tomato. Add this to your mixing bowl, and combine all ingredients well. Break out the tortilla chips - your guacamole is done!
Making It Good
Since all of the produce is used raw, this helps make guacamole a pretty nutritious snack. Using organic produce would raise the quality even more, unless (like me) you find that for some items, it may be price prohibitive.
Instead of table salt, which is processed at high temperatures, use sea salt. It is minimally processed.
For those who do not eat gluten, this guacamole recipe is gluten-free.
Fruit Fresh Produce Protector
Cost Per Serving
Making It Cheap
Your avocados will be the priciest ingredient, so shop around. I bought some for $1.24 each at my local Publix, and later discovered that Wal-mart had them for $.94. Local produce stands are also a good place to shop. One of my favorite produce shops had them for $.99 each.
Tomatoes will be the next most expensive ingredient. I use plum tomatoes because right now they are the least expensive tomato at my supermarket. Also, they have a pretty firm consistency compared to larger tomatoes, which helps when you're cutting it into small diced pieces. And one plum tomato is just the right size for throwing into your batch of guacamole. The most common variety of plum tomato in this area seems to be the Roma.
If you're purchasing Fruit Fresh for the first time, it may seem pricey, but just remember that it goes a long way - you'll be able to make 17 batches of guacamole with one jar! The same thing goes for sea salt - one container lasts a LONG time!