Florida Guacamole. Photo credit: Nicole Coudal
Florida Guacamole. Photo credit: Nicole Coudal
Florida Guacamole Avocados, other ingredients. Photo credit: Nicole Coudal
Florida Guacamole Avocados, other ingredients. Photo credit: Nicole Coudal

Fresh and spicy: Florida Avocado Guacamole

There are many ways to enjoy fresh Florida avocados, including tasty guacamole.

Florida avocados have beautiful, bright green color, smooth skin, and flesh that offers a delicate and slightly tropical flavor. They’re quite large, sometimes weighing up to one pound, so they can provide bigger yield and greater value when it comes to your food budget. When visiting Sarasota you can find these avocados in every grocery store and farmers' market.

Haas vs. Florida avocados

Like most avocados, these healthy fruits are packed with nutrients, but the Florida varieties have significantly less fat (even though it’s the ‘good fat’) and calories than their California (Haas) counterparts.  

Haas avocados are smaller, with bumpy skin that darkens as they ripen, and their flesh is very creamy and buttery. That richness is due to the higher fat content, which contributes greatly to flavor and texture. Both can be used in recipes, but if avocados are the primary ingredient (namely, guacamole), folks seem to lean toward Haas, and use their Florida avocados in salads and sandwiches.  

It’s sad that Florida avocados get a bad rap when it comes to guacamole, and there are lots of stories and blog posts out there to reinforce this point. As an example, an article in the Wall Street Journal notes that folks referred to them as “the pits” because their guacamole was watery and less flavorful … Too bad.

Florida avocado guacamole

For those who are satisfied with your Florida avocado guacamole, keep doing what you’re doing! But for those who wish it offered a little extra something, I may have an option for you. I recently took on the task of achieving creamier guacamole using Florida avocados and, luckily for me, a family friend has a tree in her backyard and was happy to share.  

The most important piece of my experiment was ensuring that the avocado was ripe, and you’ll know yours is when it’s soft to the touch. Next, I tried several add-ins like cream cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream to enhance the fat content.  I also reduced the amount of liquid (i.e., citrus juice, which can draw out moisture from the avocado), and removed seeds and juice from the tomato, even drying those slightly with a paper towel. I tasted batch after batch and finally found that gently folding in a little bit of mayonnaise at the end provided just the right amount of fat, allowing the Florida avocado to shine. Paired with traditional ingredients like onion, lime, cilantro and garlic (along with zippy jalapeno and hot sauce to make it spicy), it made a delicious guacamole, and you’d never know there was mayonnaise in there. Finally, I found it best not to refrigerate the guacamole in advance, rather, to enjoy it immediately, which eliminates the issue of moisture gathering in the bottom of the bowl.  

My Delicious recipe

To celebrate National Spicy Guacamole Day on November 14, try this spicy batch using delicious Florida avocados:

Spicy Florida Avocado Guacamole

1 large Florida avocado
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 small garlic clove
1/2 small onion, minced
Dash kosher salt
3 dashes hot sauce (I used Tabasco)
1 Tb. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 - 1 tsp. mayonnaise (to taste)
1 small tomato, seeds removed (pieces patted with a paper towel)

1. Cut avocado in half; remove pit and peel.  Place flesh in a medium glass or ceramic bowl.  Run a sharp knife through the pieces to break them up and create soft chunks (try to not have mashed pulp).
2. Sprinkle with lime juice.
3. Peel garlic.  Use a press or mince with a chef’s knife, then add to bowl, along with onion, salt, hot sauce and cilantro.  
4. Mix gently, then carefully fold in mayonnaise until incorporated (you may need to adjust the amount, depending on how large your avocado is - start with 1/2 tsp. and work from there); add tomatoes and stir gently again.  
5. Season with more salt and/or lime juice, if needed, then serve.

Note: if you like it very spicy, toss in some finely chopped jalapeno and/or a dash of crushed red pepper flakes.

Nicole Coudal is a writer and home-chef based in southwest Florida, where she fishes and cooks using local ingredients. When not on the water, she visits farms, farmer’s markets, and other food-related venues to highlight what’s in-season and to create tasty recipes. Read more at www.MyDeliciousBlog.com.

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