Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hass Avocado: Guacamole

I was introduced to avocados as a little boy and I have loved them ever since. My mother used to put them in salads and I still vividly recall, about 45 years ago, driving to San Diego, before the freeway existed, near Pala, buying a bag of small avocados from a roadside stand, and eating them in the car after peeling them and adding some mayonnaise and salt. For a boy who grew up in Utah, seeing acres of avocado trees off the side of the road was one of the reasons I loved Southern California. Over the years I have eaten many, many avocados, of many different varieties, and by far the best are Hass, also sometimes spelled Haas.  If I had to pick ten foods I really love, Hass avocados would probably be one of them. 
They are included in 1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die. We have tried to plant several Hass avocado trees in our yard, but all of them have been killed by cold weather due to their low intolerance for cold. In our area, they generally need to have a year or two of growth before they can survive a cold winter. 

The original Hass avocado tree was grown by Rudolph Hass, a mail carrier and amateur horticulturist. He purchased the avocado seed from a tree grown by A. R. Wideout of Whittier, California from a Guatemalan avocado tree seed planted in 1926. 
Hass planted the seed in a grove in La Habra Heights, California. Hass obtained the first U.S. patent for a tree in 1935 for his tree. The Hass avocado trees had more fruit, bigger fruit, a richer flavor and longer shelf life than the Fuerte avocados which were the main commercial avocado at that time. Unfortunately, growers were able to use grafts from a single tree to plant entire orchards and Hass ended up making very little money.  The original tree died and was cut down on September 11, 2002, but La Habra Heights still has an Annual La Habra Heights Avocado Festival in May. 

The Hass avocado has a dark green, bumpy skin which darkens to almost black as it ripens. I prefer to eat them before they get that dark. I like them just after they soften up, before they develop any darkness in the flesh or any stringyness. 1001 describes the taste as "a sweet and nutty flavor" and "the subtle taste of room-temperature butter with a creamy aftertaste." 

Last summer when Sam, Andrew and I went to Colorado to do some climbing, we discovered Carlos Miguel's Mexican Bar & Grill in Frisco, Colorado. There we had the best guacamole I've ever had. I've now re-created it at home several times. Take two avocados and mash them with a fork. 
Partially mashed.
Chop up a tomato, some scallions, a whole jalapeno (removing the seeds), and mix them into the mashed avocado along with a generous helping of sea salt and pepper. 
The result is amazing, chunky, guacamole. 
Then dig in and enjoy. 
Most of the information for the post came from Wikipedia and 1001.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. "Enjoy" is an understatement. "Devour in unmitigated bliss," maybe, or perhaps "gorge yourself on savory splendor."