Few things get people fired up like arguing over what ingredients belong in “real” guacamole.
Getting too hung up on authenticity can be a losing battle. The word guacamole itself comes from the Nahuatl āhuacamolli—ahuacatl means avocado, while molli means sauce. In Mexico, any avocado-based condiment is considered guacamole.
What makes even the wackiest guacamole worthy of consideration is the incredible versatility of avocados. Almost any fruit, vegetable, herb or spice can accentuate the ingredient’s buttery richness. In turn, avocados act as a neutral base to highlight flavors. This makes for endless possibilities for innovative avocado dips, whether you call them guac or not.
There is one thing that everyone agrees on, however. It’s critical that you use perfectly ripe avocados, regardless of your recipe. The best way to tell if an avocado is ripe? Check if it yields to gentle pressure. Skip any with spots that feel almost liquefied underneath.
If you don’t want to bruise every avocado in the store looking for the perfect one, a handy trick is to try flicking off the stem. If it requires any effort, the avocado is underripe. If the stem falls off easily and the area under it is green, the avocado is ripe; if it’s brown, the avocado overripe.
Click through for four recipes for guacamole, from the traditional Mexican preparation to updated riffs on the classic dip.
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