How to Make Guacamole

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Guacamole can be as simple as avocado and lime juice or complex enough to require half your spice cabinet. As long as you have fresh avocados and a few minutes, you can create a bowl of guacamole that appeals to any palate. This isn't a refrigerator staple, however. The dip turns brown quickly, so make each batch as your stomach as needed.

Avocados 101

The quality of the avocados determines the quality of your guacamole. The perfect avocado feels heavy in your hand, has smooth skin and feels soft but not squishy when you gently squeeze it in the palm of your hand. If you buy avocados that feel rock hard, store them in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana for a few days, or until the flesh has some give. An avocado that has wrinkled skin or soft spots is probably rotten.

Prepping the Avocado

Using a sharp knife, cut around each avocado lengthwise, pressing the knife's blade against the pit at the center of the fruit. Twist the two halves apart and remove the pit by scooping it out with a spoon or by wedging the knife's blade into the pit and twisting until it pops out. Scoop out the avocado's flesh with a spoon and cut away any brown spots. For chunky guacamole, lightly mash the flesh with a fork. For a smoother dip, mash the flesh thoroughly with a fork or potato masher. Transfer the avocado to a large bowl and pour in your flavorings.

Basic Guacamole

To create your ideal guacamole, experiment with the traditional additions. For every two or three avocados, chop up and add one small tomato and one half of a small white onion. Mince and add one clove of garlic and one small jalapeno pepper. Squeeze one half of a lime into the guacamole, stir in a pinch each of salt and pepper and a handful of chopped cilantro. Taste the mixture and add more of any flavors until the dip tastes balanced. If you're pressed for time, add some salsa and lime juice to the mashed avocado. You'll get the tomato, garlic and onion flavor without all the work.

Extra Additions to Try

Once you've mastered the basic guacamole recipe, experiment with other additions. Most recipes include lime juice, but substituting or adding lemon juice maintains the acidity that guacamole needs without drastically changing the flavor. Roast the garlic or caramelize the onions before adding them to your dip, or use sun-dried tomatoes in addition to fresh. Add diced mango or peaches for a sweet take. Mix in grilled corn or bacon to add smoky notes to your guacamole, or stir in hummus or black bean dip. Add shredded sharp cheddar or crumbled Cotija, a salty Mexican cheese.

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