Serious Eats: Recipes
The Crisper Whisperer: Beyond Guacamole - 5 Ways to Use Avocados
You may know Carolyn Cope as Umami Girl. She stops by on Tuesdays with ideas on preparing the abundance of fruits and vegetables you might get from your CSA or the market. —The Mgmt.
I've never been part of a CSA that delivers avocados. Nor, frankly, have I ever lived within about a thousand miles of one. So until last week, when SE'r jeniyo mentioned it, the idea of too many avocados had never really occurred to me. Too many avocados! It sounds sort of divine, really. The perfect excuse for a theme party. Margaritaville, anyone? And then maybe Spa Week, with avocado skin treatments, to detox.
Still, I've been waist-deep in quickly ripening vegetable matter enough times to know that too much of anything—even a very, very good thing—can get pretty miserable. And although misery loves guacamole (doesn't everyone?), sometimes you need more than a condiment. Sometimes you need a strategy.
So in the event that you're ever lucky enough to start hemorrhaging avocados, don't go into shock. Here's what to do.
1. Have a Party
OK, I'm sorry, I can't help it. You've got to be able to muster up at least one evening's worth of excitement for those buttery beauties, right? Get out there on the patio or balcony with a case of Dos Equis, a few friends, and a huge bowl of your favorite guacamole. Consider it a good deed for those of us less fortunate.
Remember last week when I said you can freeze just about any fruit or vegetable? Avocados are no exception. It's a little counterintuitive to think about keeping them for months, since fresh avocados oxidize in like 20 seconds, but you'll be surprised how well they hold up in the freezer. Mash up the flesh with a fork, add a teaspoon or so of lemon or lime juice per avocado, and freeze in a heavy zip-top bag with the air squeezed out. Defrost in the fridge and use for guac, avocado toast (avocado smeared on hot, buttered toast with a sprinkling of salt, and, if you're feeling feisty, a touch of hot sauce) or any other mashed application.
3. Go Meatless
Granted, my understanding of avocado overload is purely theoretical, and, granted, I can think of plenty of meaty mains that would benefit from the addition of a generous dice of green goodness. But I think that one of the reasons avocados can seem a little cumbersome is that, served alongside a rich main dish, they quickly become too much of a good thing. It's hard to eat a garnish in quantity.
Instead of forcing them to compete with other substantial ingredients, why not borrow an idea from the raw foods movement and just go ahead and obsess about avocados for a while? Stuff them with corn and bean salsa, make them the star ingredient in a sandwich, or just sprinkle them with salt and lemon juice and grab a spoon.
4. Make Dessert
The internet abounds with dessert recipes featuring avocado, and for good reason. They're a fruit, after all. They're incredibly creamy, and their mild flavor takes well to gentle sweetening. People across Asia and South America have known about avocados' double life for ages, but Americans have been slow to catch on.
Try Deborah Madison's Avocado Frozen Yogurt, Chocolate Avocado Cake with Avocado Buttercream adapted by Cakespy from Joy the Baker, Ian Knauer's Avocado Crème Brûlée from the late, great Gourmet, or an Avocado Milkshake from The Traveler's Lunchbox.
5. Have a Baby
Seriously? Babies and little kids guzzle avocados like there's no tomorrow, and all those good fats do wonders for their developing brains. It's win-win. At least until you have to start paying for college.
What about you? What are your favorite guac-free ways to use avocados? Tell us all in the comments!
About the author: Carolyn Cope writes Umami Girl and manages a CSA in New Jersey.