This post is by Contributing Writer Lori Hernandez from Three Acre Farm.
We take Taco Night pretty seriously at the Hernandez Household.
Our whole family looks forward to Taco Thursday with anticipation (yeah, I know it’s supposed to be Taco Tuesday, but Tuesdays just don’t work for us).
Whenever we invite friends over for dinner, you better believe we invite them on Thursdays for a taco feast! I always make a huge batch of beans and rice to stretch the meal, so we can accommodate last minute guests or have leftovers to eat off of all weekend. Plus I can always bake some of my pre made and frozen Jalapeño Poppers as a fun and easy appetizer.
How to Keep Guacamole Affordable
Let’s be honest though. The best part about Taco Thursday is the guacamole, of course! Tacos just aren’t complete without guac!
I feel like I have to hang my head in shame if there is no guac on the table. You should see how disappointed my daughter is when I have to break the terrible news that I wasn’t able to make guacamole. The poor girl is looks like she might burst into tears!
Unfortunately, in Michigan, finding good avocados at the stores can be tricky at times. Often, they are way too green and won’t ripen in time (I’ve tried a few ripening techniques with so-so success rates). Sometimes they are too ripe and mushy. And they are usually too expensive, going at around $2 per avocado, which is not in our grocery budget.
Every once in a while, though, they go on sale for $1 or less around here (Costco usually has bags of 6 avocados for around $6, but I don’t shop there on a weekly basis). When they do go on sale, I’ll often stock up and buy 5-8 at a time and we have a guacamole fest.
But I was looking for a way to ensure that we could have guac every Thursday, instead of guacamole feast or famine.
This past fall, my local ALDI store was running a special on avocados for .69 each! It was too good a deal to pass up, so I went and bought 25 avocados. Yes, that’s right…25 avocados. I received funny looks from the cashier and other customers.
People kept asking me “What are you going to do with that many avocados?”
Let me tell you…
Avocado Preservation…Freezing Guacamole
I had done a little poking around on the internet and learned that yes indeed, guacamole can be frozen. It seemed like the perfect solution – I could make a HUGE batch of guacamole when the avocados were on sale and freeze the excess for later.
The plan worked beautifully! It was good to know that I had “back-up plan” guacamole in the freezer to use in case I couldn’t find good avocados that week. The frozen guac thaws quickly and can potentially go from freezer to table in about a half hour.
I’ll be the first to admit that the texture of frozen guacamole is not quite the same a freshly made guac (which is common for most frozen foods), but flavor is the same! Give it a try. Frozen guac is waaaaay better than no guac!
Big Batch Guacamole
I’ll show you the method I used to make a big batch of guacamole. I actually had to make 2 separate batches with the 25 avocados – I didn’t have a bowl large enough to make one HUGE batch!
As long as you have all the ingredients out and you’re chopping, it doesn’t take that much longer to double or triple the recipe (of course, you could also cut it in half too).
I make a pretty simple guacamole, but it gets rave reviews whenever people try it. It consists of just avocados, garlic, lime juice, olive oil and salt. If you like to add more to your guac, be sure to read my comments below in “Using Your Frozen Guacamole.”
You will need avocados that are ripe. You can tell they are ripe when the skin has turn nearly black, the avocado feels soft and gives a little when you press on it, but is not squishy (if it’s squishy, it might be rotten).
If they are not ready, wait another day or try placing them in a sealed paper bag for a few hours to hasten the ripening process. I’ve found this works best for avocados that are almost ripe, not ones that are still bright green and hard.
Start by washing, peeling, pitting and dicing 12 avocados.
Cut the avocado in half lengthwise. Set aside the half with the pit and place the other half face-down on the cutting board. Make a shallow cut down the center through the skin. You should be able to easily peel back the skin, leaving you with a beautiful avocado half ready to dice.
If you prefer the scoop the flesh out of the skin, you can do that too, but I find the peeling method to be less messy and more efficient.
Dice the avocado half into small pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Remove the pit from the other half, using the point of your knife to pop it out. Repeat the same process of peeling and dicing. Continue until all the avocados are diced and ready in the bowl.
Now it’s time to add garlic. I used about 6 large cloves of garlic, but you can use more or less. Chop it finely and add to the diced avocado.
Next add some salt. I used about a tablespoon of Kosher salt, but I like my guac to be quite salty. You might prefer less salt. Start with a teaspoon. You can always add more.
Pour 3 tablespoons of lime juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl. This adds great flavor and helps prevent discoloration of the guac.
Time to mix it all up! Our preferred method is using a potato masher or a fork. We like our guac to be on the chunky side. This is a great job for kids, especially if they are working on their skills from Katie’s Kids Cook Real Food eCourse.
After the guac is mashed, be sure to taste-test it and make adjustments as needed – more lime juice, more salt, etc.
Best Way to Freeze Guacamole
Now you are ready to freeze the guacamole. Resist the urge to eat the whole bowl right now! Ha!
I decided to freeze the guac in 1 1/2 cup portions – this amount is enough for one meal for our family of four (if we’re having guests, I pull out 2 portions to serve). This recipe made about 5-6 servings of guacamole – that’s over a month’s worth of Taco Thursdays!
I experimented with 2 different freezing methods:
- Easy to fill.
- Fit easily in freezer – when frozen flat, the bags can be stacked on each other and don’t take up much space.
- Easy to thaw – simply place the sealed frozen bag in a pan of room temperate water and it will quickly thaw.
- Messy getting guac out of the bag – I found it best to cut off a corner of the bag and squeeze out the guacamole.
- Not reusable – I have to throw away the bags, which bothers me – I hate creating more waste. Ugg.
Filling the freezer bags is much easier if you place the bag inside a jar or cup, then roll down the sides.
Scoop the guac into the bag, doing your best to avoid air bubbles/pockets.
Squeeze or suck out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Flatten the bags and stack them on top of each other on a cookie sheet or tray. Pop the tray in the freezer. Once the bags are frozen, they can be stacked in the freezer.
Wide Mouth Pint-Sized Mason Jars:
- Easy to fill.
- Jars are infinitely reusable.
- Takes longer to thaw – have to remember to pull the guac out much earlier, preferably a day or two before using (thaw in the fridge).
- Takes up more freezer space than stacked freezer bags.
If you want to use Mason jars, carefully fill the jar to avoid air bubbles/pockets and smooth out the top. Be sure to leave at least an inch of headspace to allow for expansion as the guac freezes.
Only use “wide mouth” pint jars, the kind with completely straight sides. I poured a very thin layer of olive oil over the surface to keep the top layer of guac from turning brown.
- Wash, cut, pit and peel avocados.
- Dice avocados and transfer to large bowl.
- Finely dice the garlic and add to avocados.
- Sprinkle avocados with salt, lime juice and olive oil.
- Mash everything together with a potato masher or fork until mostly smooth (some chunks are fine).
- If using freezer bags, fill bag with about 1½ cups of guacamole. Squeeze air out, zip bag shut, flatten and place in the freezer on a cookie sheet.
- If using mason jars or other freezer container, fill with about 1½ cups guacamole and smooth the surface to make it even. Cover with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent browning.
- To use, thaw the guacamole overnight in the fridge. To speed up thawing, place bag/jar/container in cool to room temperature water for about 30 minutes.
- Transfer guacamole to serving bowl and mix well.
- If desired, chopped cilantro, jalapeño peppers, tomatoes or onions can be added just before serving.
Using your Frozen Guacamole
As I mentioned before, guac that is frozen in freezer bags thaws more quickly than guac in jars, so you may want to take that into consideration when choosing your freezing method (translation – if you are forgetful like me, the bags might be your most forgiving option!).
I try to pull the guacamole out of the freezer the night before, so it has time to thaw in the fridge. If it’s not fully thawed, I will put the bag or jar in a bowl or pan of room temperature water for 30 minutes or so to help it along.
Transfer the guacamole to a serving bowl and stir well.
Many people like to add chopped cilantro, jalapeño pepper, tomato and onion to their guacamole. I do NOT recommend adding them to guacamole before freezing – they will make the guacamole watery when it’s thawed. Instead, chop those fresh additions separately and stir them into the thawed guac before serving.
Keep an Eye on those Grocery Sales Flyers…
Now that you know the secret of freezing guacamole, you too can head to the store and buy a ridiculous amount of avocados at a great price and get funny looks from cashier. 😉
When they ask you why in the world you are buying that many, be sure to tell them about this post and share the knowledge!