As millions of football fans tune into the big game on February 6, party snacks will be as much a part of the playbook as first-run commercials, over-the-top halftime performances and gridiron gridlock. One of the most popular football-watching snacks is guacamole. Often made with avocados, onion, garlic, lime juice and spices, guacamole can be served on top of nachos or as a dip, usually accompanied with tortilla chips.
If you’re a fan of guacamole, we’ve got a game day strategy that adds nutrients and saves money. Substitute green peas for some of the avocado and you have a delicious, traditional-tasting guacamole that is healthier and less expensive – only about 45 cents* per serving. Our recipe featured in the January-February issue of The Whole Deal
and online for Green Pea Guacamole
serves 12 so it’s perfect for a crowd. And you can keep it even more on the healthy side by serving this smooth and tangy dip with fresh, crunchy crudités such as radishes, carrot sticks and sugar snap peas.
So what’s the deal with avocados? Although they are available year-round, avocados are a popular ingredient in recipes for game day. This nutrient-rich fruit (yes, it’s a fruit and not a vegetable!) is great in salads, on sandwiches or eaten by itself.
When selecting an avocado, color alone may not tell the whole story. Depending on the variety, avocados can turn dark green or black when ripe or some varieties keep their light-green skin when ripe. Avoid fruit with dark blemishes on the skin or those that are over soft. The best way to tell if an avocado is ready to eat is to gently squeeze the fruit in the palm of your hand. Ripe, ready-to-eat avocados will be firm yet will yield to gentle pressure.
If you plan to serve avocados in a few days, stock up on hard, un-ripened fruit. To ripen avocados slowly, put them in the fruit bin of your refrigerator. They will be ready to eat in a couple of days and you can keep them for up to two weeks this way. For faster ripening, place avocados in a brown paper bag and set in your oven with only the oven light on. Once avocados are ripe, they may be refrigerated for up to two to three days.
One way to save more on avocados is to stock up when you find them on sale. And if you have more than you can eat, you can freeze mashed ripe avocados to have a supply on hand for impromptu guacamole or a delicious vegetarian filling for enchiladas. To prepare for freezing, peel and de-seed the avocados. Mash with a fork and add one teaspoon of lime or lemon juice per avocado and mix well.
Use a freeze-weight locking plastic bag and fill with the mashed avocado. Remove most of the air from the bag, leaving just a bit of room for expansion. Close and freeze. It’s helpful to mark the date on the bag as frozen mashed avocado needs to be used within five months. Thaw the frozen avocados in the refrigerator or place the bag in a bowl of cool water to accelerate thawing.
Here are a few more avocado recipes you might like to try for your football-watching gathering:
Enjoy the big game and even if your favorite team loses, you’ve got a winner with avocados using these money saving tips and recipes.
*We do our best to estimate the cost of ingredients used in each recipe but slight market variations are entirely possible.