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Surprise! Good pre-made store bought Guacamole

SamuelAt Apr 8, 2009 04:31 PM

I was having a gathering on the fly and went to the local Supermarket for a few snacks to serve with drinks. I grabbed some tortilla chips and remembered that there was some guacamole available in the chilled area near the dairy. It is pre-packaged, so I have never paid much attention to it since I like to make my own Guac and I imagined pre-packaged would be brown with age or full of preservatives. One of the 2 options available was just that - full of chemicals. But the other one, Guacamole by a company named Santa Barbara, impressed me with the ingredients list. It reads as follows: Hass Avocados, tomato, onion, assorted peppers, salt, cilantro and garlic. Wow - no chemicals! The trick is that they vacuum seal the guac in a plastic pack inside the plastic container you see on the shelf. The guac is delicious. I have tried the "spicy" and another type, and they have the right texture - no soupy guac here! The spicy is not hot, but fresh tasting and you can add heat with hot sauce or better yet salsa if you want to. I recommend you check this out if you like Guac and have not seen! I would be curious to hear what other Chowhounders think.

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  1. c oliver RE: SamuelAt Apr 8, 2009 04:59 PM

    Does it have "chunks" of avocado in it? Most I've seen were smooth which is a turn-off for me. Do you remember the price? With avocados being so expensive generally, a good product might work. Thanks for the tip.

    2 Replies
    1. re: c oliver
      SamuelAt RE: c oliver Apr 8, 2009 05:46 PM

      I was looking for the price when I posted but did not see it. It was $3-4. There were not chunks of Avocado, BUT - that said - I like chunky too and this was thick. Not wimpy at all.

      1. re: SamuelAt
        c oliver RE: SamuelAt Apr 8, 2009 09:27 PM

        I'll keep an eye out. Thanks.

    2. alkapal RE: SamuelAt Apr 9, 2009 05:22 AM

      here's what it looks like, right? http://www.dagnyc.com/pd/DAg_Fresh_at...

      a product of mexico?

      1 Reply
      1. re: alkapal
        SamuelAt RE: alkapal Apr 9, 2009 12:03 PM

        That's the stuff. I imagine it is from Mexico or California, but I am not sure.

      2. Fritter RE: SamuelAt Apr 9, 2009 06:10 AM

        Lets see, Avocados are a buck a piece here so I can make a better product in five minutes for less money. Any time I can increase quality and decrease price then that's a very easy choice. ;)

        17 Replies
        1. re: Fritter
          Val RE: Fritter Apr 9, 2009 09:30 AM

          ack! $4.19 for a little container?! I guess I could see it IF all the avocados were rock-hard at the grocery store and you needed something very quickly, but even then.....can you make homemade from rock-hard avocados?

          1. re: Fritter
            bnemes3343 RE: Fritter Apr 9, 2009 09:38 AM

            I totally agree. Assuming you can find ripe avacados, this is so simple to make and I can't believe that any pre-made packaged product would come close. My quac recipe mashes 1/2 of one avacado and then chunks of another 2 1/2. I also use a little cumin. I've never heard of putting tomato in quac though...

            1. re: bnemes3343
              Fritter RE: bnemes3343 Apr 9, 2009 09:57 AM

              Tomato and onion is fairly common in recipes but I rarely use it.
              I prefer Just a little garlic, lime, Salt, avocado and a pinch of cumin. Maybe some cilantro and jalapeno if I have it but I like my Guac nice and simple. I find it best to buy Avocados 4-5 days in advance instead of relying on the store to have them perfectly ripe. Store them in a brown paper bag and they ripen up nicely.

              1. re: Fritter
                c oliver RE: Fritter Apr 9, 2009 10:04 AM

                For me, no garlic or cumin; always jalapeno and cilantro and lime. Use the back of a spoon to chunk it up so in the process some gets mashed but that's still pretty chunky.

                1. re: c oliver
                  kchurchill5 RE: c oliver Apr 9, 2009 10:37 AM

                  A little garlic for me, but definitely some jalapeno, cilantro and lime. sometimes a little tomato and onion... really depends what I am serving it with. I made some for quesadillas I cooked the other night and very very good. I did add the tomato, some onion, etc which I really enjoyed with the quesadillas.

                2. re: Fritter
                  bnemes3343 RE: Fritter Apr 9, 2009 10:45 AM

                  Ah yes, forgot about the lime juice. Can't make it without it. I do use onion (maybe two TBS for 3 avacados. Never used tomatoes.

                  1. re: bnemes3343
                    kchurchill5 RE: bnemes3343 Apr 9, 2009 01:22 PM

                    Now and then, depends on the dish, but gotta have lime :)

                    I love a guacamole dip I make. A pretty small round pyrex type of pie plate but a bit deeper. Layer, pureed black beans mixed with a little red pepper flakes and garlic, then guac, then tomatoes and onions mixed, then sour cream, black beans, guac, tomatoes and onions and sour cream. Scallions and serve. No each layer is very thin, the thickest is the guac layer. Makes a very pretty easy quick dip. Very pretty with blue corn tortilla chips

                3. re: bnemes3343
                  SamuelAt RE: bnemes3343 Apr 9, 2009 12:07 PM

                  In my OP I said I bought this last minute because I had no time to make any and I was impressed by it. Nowhere there do I say it is BETTER than homemade. But who knows? Maybe some of you make lousy guac. Anyway, I see your point but my post was about being impressed by something I would not ordinarily buy.

                  1. re: SamuelAt
                    Fritter RE: SamuelAt Apr 9, 2009 12:29 PM

                    I'm sorry I missed that in your OP, whoops. I just try to plan ahead and use the brown paper bag trick. I've tasted so many of the frozen, pre-packaged guacs over the years and it's all just so meh.
                    Honestly in a pinch I just wouldn't opt for guacamole if my only choice was a product like this.
                    Nothing wrong with just salsa and chips or hummus is a five minute dip that works well for an impromptu get together.

                    1. re: Fritter
                      c oliver RE: Fritter Apr 9, 2009 01:01 PM

                      Re the brown bag trick, many decades ago I remember someone telling me that she needed to have dozens of ripe avocadoes for a luncheon. There was some kind of trick of putting them whole in a very, very slow oven. Ever tried that or heard of it? I've never done it myself cause I couldn't remember the details.

                      1. re: c oliver
                        Fritter RE: c oliver Apr 9, 2009 03:51 PM

                        I've never heard of that but hey ya learn something new every day! :)

                      2. re: Fritter
                        SamuelAt RE: Fritter Apr 9, 2009 04:00 PM

                        Fritter you are so right. Sometimes the things that are simple and have just a few ingredients are the ones that are most important to get "right" Nothing is better than homemade fresh guac, and nothing is better then chips and good salsa.

                        1. re: SamuelAt
                          Fritter RE: SamuelAt Apr 9, 2009 04:07 PM

                          Now you have me thinking about fresh home made salsa, chips and guacamole.! :)

                    2. re: bnemes3343
                      Scargod RE: bnemes3343 Apr 9, 2009 04:05 PM

                      Holy shit! It's not QUAC, it's GUAC! Besides the butchering of the abbreviation, I agree. An avocado is (skinned and gutted), between seven and eight ounces; for a buck or so. Guacamole takes so little time and effort to make. Fresh, chopped tomatoes and sweet (Vidalia) onions are not unusual in Texas guac...
                      PS: I'm not buying this pre-made, triple vac'd, pre-processed stuff, no matter what!
                      I've never had any of it that was worth a crap!

                      1. re: Scargod
                        SamuelAt RE: Scargod Apr 9, 2009 04:11 PM

                        Did I say QUAC? LOL. I don't see that but if I did, whoops. And have you tried the brand I mention? It's Vidalia Onion free, but you may like it. It's not bad. I agree, store bought is no substitute but I doubt this would have you spitting it out. It makes great Nachos with Nacho Cheez Whiz. (KIDDING!)

                        1. re: SamuelAt
                          Scargod RE: SamuelAt Apr 9, 2009 04:14 PM

                          OK, you made me laugh and spit guacomole all over my monitors!

                          1. re: Scargod
                            SamuelAt RE: Scargod Apr 14, 2009 07:19 PM

                            I see. I see!

                  2. b
                    beachmouse RE: SamuelAt Apr 9, 2009 10:33 AM

                    For store brand guac, I life Yucatan 95% Avacado, which manages to be the same price as the 95% sour cream and oil 'guacamole food product' at my local Publix. (and is frequently as cheap or cheaper than buying avacados to make my own out of season) Not super-chunky, but some noticable chunks.

                    They do use a little bit of ascorbic acid/citric acid/xantham gum at the far end of the ingredient list, but it's just enough to keep it from browning over the couple days it takes to go through a container. Which I don't mind so much since the other high avacado content guacs I've made and tried tend to brown so much quicker that I don't finish them before they go yuck.

                    1. Veggo RE: SamuelAt Apr 9, 2009 11:11 AM

                      So many fresh avocados stateside won't be ripe for 5 more days or they should have been eaten yesterday. It makes plans for fresh guac a bit of a challenge. Any green grocer in Mexico has haas "para hoy" (for today). Another compelling reason to be in Mexico...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Veggo
                        bnemes3343 RE: Veggo Apr 9, 2009 11:14 AM

                        You are correct. I generally try to buy my avacados several days in advance and just let them ripen in a brown paper bag. Going out on the day you want to make it is risky.

                        1. re: bnemes3343
                          mjhals RE: bnemes3343 Apr 9, 2009 12:15 PM

                          Agree with this, which I why I appreciated Sam's suggestion- I'm not a planner. It wasn't much of a problem when I lived in CA, there you invariably had a great selection from, "ripe right now!" to "eh, maybe next week". Now here in DC I seem to only find ones that seem to have no potential for EVER becoming ripe, they literally feel like stones. So I'm eager to try out Sam's suggestion, my attempts at homemade, now that my home is DC, have not been succesful.

                      2. Midlife RE: SamuelAt Apr 9, 2009 12:27 PM

                        Years ago our local Costco's & some markets (SoCal) carried a packaged product from Calavo. It was not chunky, and seemed to be almost 100% avocado, but it was very really good with the right things added, so (except for the lack of chunks) it was very much 'real'. IIRC, it came in cans like the large orange juice concentrates. I sometimes see other Calavo guac-like products in markets but they are all be pre-mixed with spices,etc.. . Anyone tried both old and new to compare?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Midlife
                          Boccone Dolce RE: Midlife Apr 10, 2009 06:14 AM

                          Never tried it the one you mentioned, but your post did remind me of this time I was in Costco and they had split pitted/peeled avocados shrink wrapped and frozen! I was FASCINATED and picked one up to read it when this guy comes running over and practically smacks it out of my hands, firmly suggesting I buy a bag of "nice, fresh avocados" three aisles over. Jeeze man, I was just LOOKING at it!!

                          1. re: Boccone Dolce
                            alkapal RE: Boccone Dolce Apr 10, 2009 06:27 AM

                            and i thought **i** was "nosy shopper-neighbor."

                            1. re: alkapal
                              LaLa RE: alkapal Jul 8, 2009 06:48 PM

                              seans sells them that way too...good for last minute tacos

                        2. n
                          nuendelcapecod RE: SamuelAt Jul 8, 2009 06:34 AM

                          I ended up at this website after searching "Santa Barbara Guacamole". I totally agree with the writer about how good it is for store bought and the type of packaging keeps it looking/tasting fresh. I wanted to find a source around here so I could have some to use in a pinch for friends stopping by. Can't seem to find a link telling which local stores might carry it. I live in Eastham on Cape Cod and we have Shaw's (Star Markets) and Stop and Shop, also a small local market called "Friends". Will be searching those but had no luck at Shaw's yesterday. In the meantime, four small underripe Hass avocados cost me $5.99 here yesterday but then, it is tourist season when prices go up across the board.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: nuendelcapecod
                            alkapal RE: nuendelcapecod Jul 8, 2009 06:41 AM

                            email them and inquire.

                          2. c
                            CocoaNut RE: SamuelAt Jul 8, 2009 07:47 AM

                            For anyone in TX with a Central Market in their area - GOOD guac! I don't know if they make it/stock it every day, but they were 2 weekends ago - in the produce area. Good stuff! Knowing that people's taste run amok - some had everything, some minus jalapeno/onion/cilantro. But it is fresh, no preservatives. Whatever isn't eaten the first day will be thrown out the next, so don't overbuy. The lime can only do so much.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: CocoaNut
                              Scargod RE: CocoaNut Jul 8, 2009 08:27 AM

                              To be clear, you are talking about getting the Santa Barbara stuff there, as mentioned by the OP?

                              1. re: Scargod
                                CocoaNut RE: Scargod Jul 8, 2009 08:42 AM

                                No, I'm talking about the no-name brand by TX based Central Market - freshly made as you stand there and watch them slice, dice and mix it the oversized Molcajete (mortar and pestle) then package in 1/2 or 1-pint containers.

                                Good pre-made store bought Guacamole as titled by the OP.

                            2. kchurchill5 RE: SamuelAt Jul 8, 2009 09:32 AM

                              Funny story ... I went to a BBQ this past weekend, 4th and all and took my two dishes. Last minute my friends asked if I could pick up avacados, theirs had got way too soft. Well stopped by Sweetbay local grocer. Picked up a container of pre made quac. Took it to my friends and put it in the serving bowl for them. Everyone raved!! Unlike some parties there were a couple of caterers there and 1 chef. They were the first who raved and told me (they thought I made it) it was the best ever. I had such a hard time saying NO I can't take credit, but I thought it was so funny. They loved it. 3.99 I think and I admit ... it was quite good. I like mine a bit more chunky, but pretty damn good for store bought.

                              I have heard of a few others available, but none around here. I can't say that in any way it was bad. Not to salty, lemony, just good. Honestly I was surprised.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: kchurchill5
                                alkapal RE: kchurchill5 Jul 8, 2009 03:23 PM

                                kim, what brand at sweet bay?

                                1. re: alkapal
                                  kchurchill5 RE: alkapal Jul 8, 2009 05:17 PM

                                  OMG I wish I had the container, it was in with the fresh cheeses, salsas and specialty sauces they had. It was the only guac they had. I can't tell you and wish I had the container. I am going there tomorrow and will try to remember to get the name. It really was decent. Pretty good for buy ahead guac which is hard. I promise to try and post back. I enjoyed it as well. I want to remember as well for next time. I love making my own but when there are no fresh ones this was next best.

                              2. l
                                lgss RE: SamuelAt Jul 8, 2009 06:05 PM

                                We like the TJ's guacamole.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: lgss
                                  Sharuf RE: lgss Jul 9, 2009 03:29 AM

                                  I do too. Get it regularly, but wish they wouldn't put that layer of tomatoes salsa on top. I don't know how TJ does it, but it never turns brown, even if it takes me a week to use it up.

                                  1. re: Sharuf
                                    alkapal RE: Sharuf Jul 9, 2009 03:51 AM

                                    check to see if it's laced with citric acid...
                                    i'll try and remember to look for it at tj's.

                                    1. re: Sharuf
                                      lgss RE: Sharuf Jul 9, 2009 04:37 AM

                                      We get Avogado's Number guac at TJs, no salsa on it. It's in the refrigerated section and we generally freeze it.

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