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Guacamole (Avocado Dip)

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

It took years for me to appreciate the avocado. My mother used to eat them sliced with just a little vinegar, salt and pepper. Occasionally, I added them to a salad. Now I use them more often. But nothing can compare to a good guacamole. Serve this quick and easy recipe as a dip with tortilla chips, or as a condiment with tacos, burritos, wraps or sandwiches. If, like me, you are not a fan of cilantro, just omit it, or use dried cilantro leaves, which add an herbal flavor without the assertiveness of the fresh.

Ingredients

Cut the avocados in half around the pit; discard pit. Squeeze each half over processor bowl; the meat will easily slide out of the skin. Add all other ingredients, reserving a little of the citrus juices until you are certain the mixture will not get too thin. Process until desired texture, but not too smooth. Taste for seasonings and add what is needed. Refrigerate until use.

Notes: The avocados should be quite ripe to make guacamole, but avoid any that are too soft. If they need additional ripening after purchase, place them in a brown paper bag and set out at room temperature overnight. If very under ripe, add an apple to the bag. They will ripen quickly. The avocados can be mashed with a fork. Guacamole is also very good chunky instead of mashed and, depending on the dish, I usually prefer it that way. The recipe can be made in any amount and the ingredients can be adjusted as desired, with some omitted and others, such as chopped tomatoes, added.

Citrus juice is essential because, not only does it add flavor, it helps prevent browning of the avocados. Many recipes call for lime only, but I have found that a little lemon, which is more acidic, helps the guacamole keep longer in the refrigerator. I also heard that the enzymes in the sour cream help prevent browning, which might be why mine usually stays fresh for several days. I think the chunky version keeps longer as well. This recipe can be made in any amount. Place leftovers in a bowl and cover the entire surface of the guacamole with plastic wrap to help prevent browning. If the top browns slightly, just scrape it off and discard.