I never thought I’d be writing about packaged avocado, as a die-hard “just the fruit, ma’am” avocado shopper. However as I’m gearing up to stuff myself with as much homemade guacamole as I can fit into my belly this year on Cinco de Mayo, this isn’t my first rodeo (er charreada), and I know the best-laid avocado plans can go sideways.
When I head to my local (as in, not in California) supermarket, the chances of me finding a perfectly ripe avocado in time is laughably slim. I don’t live in a food dessert by any means, but as a northerner, avocados tend to come in two forms here: Overripe mush or hard rocks that require patience and perfect timing.
But, I will no longer despair if the fresh avocados are not cooperating this Wednesday or really any day I want guac, because I have found two really great packaged avocado options that will give me perfectly fresh, decliious avocados on demand.
Now, I only have to figure out what other delicious Cinco de Mayo recipes to make while I sip on a delicious tequila cocktail, and turn on Lucky Diaz’s fun party album Aqui, Alla to make it a fiesta at home.
Top photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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The best packaged avocado: 2 options I love
Make and serve your big-batch of guacamole in this traditional basalt rock molcajete from Williams-Sonoma.
The presentation at the table alone is worth it!
1. Pre-diced, ready-to-eat fresh avocado: Wholly Avocado
Not everyone is a fan of the Wholly Guacamole’s Smashed Avocado single serve cups of pre-made guacamole in the refrigerated section. I like them in a pinch, but there’s a lot of plastic waste. If you want to make your own, fresh, I’ve found the larger 8 oz. tray of Wholly Avocado’s Diced Avocado chunks is the perfect size to make a batch of guacamole for my family of five.
I love that this refrigerated, packaged avocado has not a single other ingredient besides avocado—no preservatives or additives at all.
It’s the airtight plastic wrap that keeps the avocado from browning — which is also why I recommend you use up the entire container after you open it.
Just don’t expect it to look quite as pretty as the picture on the container, as a lot of the chunks are a bit mushed from the airtight seal. But so what; the taste is great, with no weird lingering flavors, and I’ve been really happy with it when I can’t find the ripe avocados I need.
2. Frozen diced avocado chunks: Dole, Welch’s, Costco
I recently purchased a bag of Dole Frozen Avocado Chunks to make our homemade smoothies even creamier, but I was surprised to discover that when defrosted, these little squares of avocado make excellent guacamole too.
A giant two-pound bag cost me about $9 in my local grocery store, and when you consider that there are approximately 8 diced avocados inside (thank you Eating Well for doing this math for me), this is not a bad price for those of us who regularly pay about $1.50/avocado or more off-sesaon.
Now one big difference between these frozen chunks of packaged avocado and the Wholly Guacamole refrigerated version, is that they include citric acid and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) for freshness and color retention. These impart a very slight sour, citrusy aftertaste, which you don’t notice once you’ve added in lemon or lime, salt, and cilantro and mashed them up. They’re also fine as a smoothie base, with all the other flavors you’re using.
That said, I would only use these chunks in salads or on avocado toast if you tend to use other seasonings too.
While Dole has been great for me, you’ll also packaged avocado in the frozen section from brands like Welch’s, Costco, H-E-B, and even trusted store brands. I would say grab whatever is convenient — I think you’ll be surprised how good it is.
In fact, I will always keep a bag of frozen avocados in my freezer for smoothies or an impulse batch of guac from now on; I’ll still continue to buy fresh avocados with the hopes that my meal planning will line up with their ripening plans, but a back-up is never a bad idea.