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How would you characterize what a good guacamole is?

Not much experience sampling, and therefore knowing, what a good guacamole is supposed to be like. So I'd like to know what you look for? What should a good guacamole be?

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  1. The best is the one that tastes right to you.

    1. To me the best is very simple. Good avocados, minced garlic and/or onion, cilantro (if you hate it leave it out- no substitutes) some chopped green chile of your preferred type, salt, and lime juice. lemon is a very acceptable substitute but please use a fresh one of whatever you use.

      You didn't ask, but what wrecks guacamole for me is cottage cheese, sour cream, canned/bottled salsa, and several other things but I feel sure that others will pipe in here. My mom made it with bacon once when I was a little kid, and I liked it, but haven't had that since and wouldn't put it into guacamole.

      5 Replies
      1. re: EWSflash

        I used to agree with you about canned/bottled salsa until I learned to use Herdez salsa caserea from a Mexican woman. It seems to take the place of the minced onions and tomatoes. I don't mince garlic, but rub the bowl with it, then sprinkle it with salt, add and mash the ripe buttery avocados, then add lime, chipotle powder, more salt if needed and chopped cilantro, but only if only if other people want it -- I'm cilantro-adverse for what seems to be genetic reasons.

        Mostly, I stand by what many others have said about putting it together the way you like it.

        1. re: chicgail

          One more thing: a good guacamole is not smooth like a puree. It should not be mixed in a blender or even a food processor. A good guacamole has chunks of avocado of different sizes in it that give it toothiness and texture.

          1. re: chicgail

            You are so right on about Herdez. I have been using this canned salsa since the '70s when we would buy it in Mexico by the case and bring it home. It's still a great salsa, but the canned version tastes way better than the bottled version. While traveling through TN last year, we found a Kroger's that was trying to unload their 28 oz cans for $1 each. I bought all 12 they had left.

          2. re: EWSflash

            FYI and completely off this topic: In "The Supper Book", Marion Cunningham has a spectacular bacon avocado salad recipe that is well worth investigating.

            1. re: jmckee

              Isn't that a great book? The recipe for beef and potato salad with dill pickles is also mighty tasty. Love her books.

          3. Quine's answer - how can one argue with that? Maybe I should add my personal preference. Fresh perfectly ripened buttery Haas avocados that have been depitted, the flesh scooped out, mashed with a fork or spoon to where the majority of the flesh is a paste, but with partial bits and chunks still there. Beyond that, it's up to you. A little minced garlic, some salt and even pepper, cilantro, lime juice, dice some chile for heat, dice some white onion and rinse in water/pat dry, and maybe some nice ripe tomato or even a couple spoonfuls of your favorite fresh salsa. I've had it with diced mango, even had some with poached diced shrimp or crab. The avocado is the star though, so just make sure you get some that are as close to perfectly ripe as possible.

            6 Replies
            1. re: bulavinaka

              Thanks for the descriptive thoughts thus far. I guess as a follow up I would ask whether the lime should be pronounced to the point where it has a distinct citrus flavor to it, or whether that's not supposed to be that noticeable, only serving to keep it freshly green in color.

              1. re: stratford

                I like guacamole with the juice of half a lime only. Also, not too much garlic...maybe 1/2 to 1 clove. You want to taste that buttery, ripe, green-tasting avocado interplaying with the salt. A little cilantro, a small amount of white onion and jalapeno, and a small amount of chopped tomato make it perfect. My advice: restraint.

                1. re: ChristinaMason

                  This is closest to how I make it, too. I definitely have to agree that the most critical thing is a really nice, fresh avocado. Chop the onion and tomato (and jalapeno if you use if) very fine. Mmmmm.

                2. re: stratford

                  The lime is not merely to keep the avocado from browning. It's for flavor.

                  1. re: Steve

                    Too right, Steve, The lime/lemon is a definite part of the flavor that comes straight to us from heaven when it's done right.

                    1. re: EWSflash

                      I tried making a guac with lemon one day (when I had neglected to pick up a lime), and didn't like it; the lemon flavor just didn't taste good to me in the mix.

                      YMMV, of course; just pointing out that the flavor is different - they're not interchangeable.

              2. I just got back from L.A. -- boy, they've got great avocadoes all year long. Here in the Northeast they're awful in wintertime.

                An avocado should be lovely, ripe and have flesh with the texture of butter that's been out of the fridge about a half hour. I mash this and add 4 parts avocado to 1 part diced sweet onion and 1 part diced seeded tomato. Although I've nothing against garlic, I don't particularly care for anything but the tiniest whisper of garlic -- or better, none at all -- in guacamole. It just overpowers a delicately-flavored avocado. I use lemon juice (preferably from Meyer lemons) a bit of cilantro and salt and pepper. Lumpy texture is your friend.

                And of course your own tastes will guide you.

                2 Replies
                1. re: shaogo

                  I'm with you, no garlic, ever, it ruins avocados. But I do like to add some finely chopped serrano, maybe one pepper for two smallish avocados.

                  1. re: BobB

                    Third. Garlic has no place in my guac.

                2. Chunky. No garlic or onion. But, yeah, what you like.

                  1. I have had delicately flavored guacamole and complexly-flavored guacamole and like both. But when making it myself (which I do often since great avocados are available year-round in San Diego) I use perfectly ripe fruit mashed with salt and lime juice, nothing else.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Divamac

                      +1 Salt, lime and luscious avocado = perfection

                      1. re: Divamac

                        Loved reading everyone's thoughts on the guacamole they like! Never thought it could be so simple as avocado, salt, and lime juice without all the extra things that I thought I had to add. As a lot of people have said, it's about some good avocado to many.

                        1. re: stratford

                          I do like the avocado to shine, but also I don' want my guacamole to compete with my salsa or other sauce. I also like that I can adjust the guac to salsa to whatever with each bite. As BHAppeal says below avocado dip is a whole other beast and delicious in it own right. I'm not sure if these definitions are Californian though.

                      2. The pure stuff is hard to beat. For me that means as little as possible to get in the way of the avocado flavor. Add some salt, some lime, something for heat (salsa verde in convenient) and garlic. Definitely no 'white goop' or tomatoes.

                        Harris Teeter makes a very simple version that is great.

                        1. I fall in the category (also a minority, apparently) of those who prefer a signficant hit of heat, salt and citrus in my gwak. The Khantessa is a great guacamolessa and she suffuses the avacado with a healthy dose of serrano and lime.

                          1. Homesick texan has the best recipe for guacamole, in my opinion. Chunky. A little spicy. Delish.


                            1. fresh tasting, tastes like avocados predominantly and is slight lumpy with avocados. Any additions should complement the main ingredient, not overpower it, imho.

                              1. I grew up in a house with a commercial avocado orchard -- heck, the house was on Avocado Crest Drive. Agree that guacamole is always a matter of taste, but generally around our house it was ripe avocado scooped from the halved fruit, mashed with a fork and mixed with a little onion, some lime juice, salt, pepper and a couple of dashes of Tabasco if folks wanted it a bit hotter. Nice balance between chunks of avocado and smooth paste. It was always used as kind of a counterpoint to salsa -- the salsa was spicy, the guacamole cool and delicious. The texture also varied based on which avocados we used -- Haas, Bacon, Fuerte, and my favorite, the Mexicola, a small, thin, black skinned avocado with an incredible nutty, buttery flavor and very creamy texture. I never see Mexicolas in stores, but they are the best. In contrast to our guacamole, our avocado dip had bunch of stuff added to it -- garlic, cumin, curry, onion , lemon juice, salt, pepper, splash of Worcester sauce and a couple of tablespoons of sour cream. Very tasty in it's own right.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: BHAppeal

                                  Oh my gosh, I'm so envious.
                                  I want to get either a Mexicola or Bacon avocado tree, do you have any description as to their comparative tastes? Sunset mag gave the Bacon a more cold-hardy grade.

                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                    The Mexicola has a much creamier texture and buttery/nutty taste than a Bacon. They both do pretty well in cold weather (relatively cold weather from a California standpoint, i.e. a few 32 degree nights here and there in the winter and consistently in the 40s and 50s at night in the winter). The Mexicolas are worth trying to grow yourself because they are tough to find in markets -- at least that has been my experience. On the other hand, I can find Bacons pretty regularly. Mexciolas tend to be smaller than Bacons, and sometimes seems to be as much seed as fruit, but what is there is choice. Nice looking too -- smooth blackish purple skin. I suspect that the reason you don't see them as much in stores as other varieties is the seed/fruit ratio I note above, and the fact that they don't seem quite as prolific as other varieties. We grew Haas, Bacons and even some Fuertes for $$ and had dozens of each tree, but only 4 or 5 Mexicola trees to produce fruit for us. Great guacamole starts with great avocados. (Delicious on a BLT as well, or as we called them, BLTAs.)

                                2. No one has mentioned my secret ingredient. At the end I add a Tablespoon or so of tequila. Usually it's anejo, but reposado works too. Everyone always asks why my guac is so good.

                                  How about THAT!?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: chow_gal

                                    A tablespoon to how much guacamole? Thanks.
                                    To answer the OP...
                                    Chunky, fresh and simple. Ingredients can change if they meet the mentioned standards.

                                    1. re: Alan N

                                      I'm pretty much in agreement here and people RAVE about my guac. Fresh, chunky and simple is best. And I have seen people mix horrendous things with avocados and call it quac--MILK, mayo, cream cheese, Velveeta(!!), yeech yeech yeech. I just use red onion, chopped tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, Tabasco OR chili pepper, a little S & P and sometimes cilantro and sometimes not. I use a fork to mash chunky or a loopy potato masher if I'm making a lot.

                                      Taste is the measure. I think I may try the tequila next time, though. It will make me happy if nothing else.

                                      Although for the record, a Mexican friend (who uses buttermilk!) told me that guac, like moles, varies from region to region, so maybe that has something to do with it. Or maybe she was kidding.

                                  2. I like my Guac very simple...the more avocado taste - the better..
                                    No onion (or garlic ) for me as I feel it overpowers any other flavor..a bit of cilantro, tomato, lime and salt...mmmmmoh and good real chips! No Tostidos for me!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. I was lucky enough to have a huge avocado tree in my yard when I lived in SoCal, so I got to do a lot of experimenting . First and foremost, you ONLY use Haas avocados (some of the cheaper, awful, store made brands use Fuertes, the same avocados used in dog food as filler). I prefer mine pretty basic, using roughly a tablespoon of chopped white onion per large avocado, a couple tablespoons of chopped tomatoes (or, if I'm feeling lazy, a couple of tablespoons of Herdez salsa, which is full of chopped tomatoes), an oz or two of freshly grated sharp cheddar on top, a splash of lemon or lime juice, and garlic salt to taste. These are best served with freshly made tortilla chips and, if you're lucky, you'll have a local Mexican market that makes up their own, since it's a tedious, messy job.

                                      1. Since we are talking about avacados..... how come sometimes they are fiberous? Every now and then my avacado seems dry and it has strings in it. What's with that? Has is just been stored wrong? I just leave it in the fruit bowl on the counter. Also what about the ones that are all brown around the pit?

                                        I like mine with a little salt, garlic and lime juice. A smidge of cilantro too if I have some. OR if I have just made salsa I will pour a bit of the juice from the salsa into the guac.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: julesincoq

                                          I think it's like anything else--bad crop, under ripe, force ripened too fast, stored badly, mishandled, etc. You just have to be careful when you buy them and here in the mid west, they're best when they're cheapest, big and plentiful, so therefore in season, wherever they came from. Good shape and color and give at the stem but not too soft is the key.