Beyond the Chip: What to Eat with Guacamole
We’ve got taquerias from LA to Mexico City spreading fake guac (aka mock guac) on our tacos and burritos. While white folk from Australia to the UK are suffering from an epidemic of so-called ‘avocado hand.’ And cartels are killing farmers for their agricultural lands hoping to get in on the avocado boom.
Avocados have long been a favorite of people around the world but all of us have often shared one common complaint – our lovely avocados spoil way too damn fast. Well, finally, one company is trying to fix that issue and it looks like 30 day avocados could be here in the very near future.
Kroger announced this week that the powdered coating comes from a company called Apeel, and when mixed with water and sprayed onto produce, it keeps oxygen out, prolonging the time before the fruit or vegetable spoils. It’s also being applied to asparagus and limes in a small percentage of Kroger stores. The company hopes the longer-lasting produce will eliminate food waste not only in people’s kitchens, but in the stores themselves.
The extra longevity comes from Apeel‘s special, plant-derived formulation that’s applied — like a second skin — to a variety of produce. The process can double or, in some cases, triple shelf life. The companies expect the partnership to prevent millions of avocados annually from ending up in landfills.
Kroger, the largest grocery retailer in the US, began selling Apeel avocados exclusively in 109 of its stores earlier this year. Because of the resulting reduction in waste, Apeel says its avocados cost the same or less than other avocados.
So far, Apeel has developed formulations for about 50 different kinds of produce including apples, artichokes, bananas, beans, blueberries and tomatoes. The company also announced today that it would begin selling limes and asparagus in Kroger’s stores around Cincinnati, Ohio, later this fall.
Kroger and Apeel both cite lofty aims with their collaboration. Kroger has promoted the initiative under its “Zero Hunger/Zero Waste” program that raises money to mitigate hunger and reduce food waste. In the US, roughly one in eight people struggle with hunger and between 30% and 40% of the food produced is thrown away.
Apeel and Kroger expect the partnership to help prevent millions of avocados from ending up in landfills, which should help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. They also predict that the deal will save over one billion gallons of water and help preserve dozens of acres of farmland.
One Twitter user said: “My issue isn’t that grocery store avocados go bad, it’s that they never ripen at all. I bought a bunch of avocados yesterday and I’m hoping I’ll have ripe ones by Spring.”
Ok, by Spring? That might be a little dramatic but I think we can all relate. You get to the market and they either have mushy, brown, already spoiled avocados covered in flies or they’re hard as a rock and that delicious guacamole you planned on making tonight to go with those tacos just isn’t happening.
Have you ever wondered how guacamole ever made its way into a worldwide phenomenon? That is, beyond the fact that of course everyone likes it because it is hella delicious. Rather, have you brushed up on your history, and could you tell us about the who, what, when, where and how of guac’s ascendency to culinary fame? We’re guessing the answer’s no, since you’re still here, reading. Well, buckle up, kids. This is the story about how the original guac recipe made its way into the English language.
To give you a bit of background, British-born William Dampier is the guy who put pen to paper and immortalized the first guacamole recipe in English. But, the story about how he got to that point is more interesting than it would seem. Dampier was a pirate, who started his career in 1679, in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche. This was back in the day where the gold standard of a pirate diet was basically dried beef, bread and warm beer – yeah, there’s nothing more that tastes of success than warm beer. The worst a pirate’s lifestyle lead to situations that included cannibalism and scurvy. It makes Pirates of the Caribbeansound like a picnic.
So here’s the thing. Dampier’s fascination with food is understandable. After all, it’s not like he was experiencing fine dining when he was at sea. What was a little more unusual was the fact that he decided to write about his experiences tasting the myriad of dishes he was offered throughout his travels. In fact, Dampier’s record-keeping was so meticulous that after fifteen years of piracy, he converted his notes into a bestselling novel: A New Voyage Around the World. Okay, okay, he was also probably motivated to explore a career as an author at that time because Spain had sentenced him to a year in prison. Nobody’s perfect, right?
If you’re thinking that Dampier’s story is sounding a little familiar, we’ll tell you why: he was one hell of a basic travel blogger. He literally experienced the same existential crisis we all have in our twenties, decided that the standard career paths in logging and sugar plantations weren’t for him, and then set off around the world documenting his travels. We all know that if he had access to Insta, he would’ve been killing it in the influencer game.
Dampier’s journeys saw him mix with the locals he met throughout Latin America, and that’s where he fell in love with guacamole. It was in the Bay of Panama that Dampier wrote about a fruit “as big as a large lemon … [with] skin [like] black bark, and pretty smooth.” More flavor was added to it when the ripened fruit was “mixed with sugar and lime juice and beaten together [on] a plate.” And there we have it, amigas: the OG guac recipe, in English.
Obviously, guacamole as a recipe hasn’t stayed the same since Dampier’s time. Granted, your abuelita probably puts her own special twist on her guac creations. That’s why we all love her so much – and why her guacamole recipes always keep us coming back for seconds … and thirds.
Then again, we’ve also seen some pretty horrendous reincarnations of the beloved guac. Some more atrocious examples of this include adding ranch seasoning to the standard recipe, some godforsaken pineapple guacamole, a moron’s take that saw fresh peas added with a hold on the lime juice, and for whatever reason the decision to include lettuce. Oh, and let’s not forget about the pomegranate guacamole.
So, what crazy takes have you seen on the traditional guac? Or better yet, do you have a favorite, go-to guacamole recipe? Let us know on Facebook – you can find us through the icon at the top of the page.