When local avocados are in season it is always tempting to bulk buy, but with such a short shelf life it can be hard to use up all those avocados before they go bad.
Guacamole is a great way to use all those ripe avocados and not just for burritos and tacos, guacamole also makes a great dip, sandwich, burger or baked potato topper and more.
You can freeze guacamole as long as it is a simple guacamole. A guacamole that contains tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, sour cream and more will not freeze and thaw well unless you vacuum seal it. A homemade simple guacamole will keep at its best quality for up to three months in the freezer.
How Long Does Guacamole Last?
As you will know from cutting up fresh avocados, they start to brown very quickly and likewise so does guacamole. Known as oxidation, browning occurs because of an enzyme in the avocado which converts some compounds in the avocado to other molecules. As a result of this chemical reaction, the flesh browns. Because avocados contain a lot of this enzyme, they brown more quickly than most other fruits and vegetables.
A homemade guacamole will keep for as long as three days in the refrigerator but be prepared for it to last only one or two days. Before you put fresh guacamole in the refrigerator, add a layer of lime or lemon juice or even just water over the top surface of the guacamole. This will act as a barrier between the guacamole and the air to stop the guacamole from browning as much.
Once you have added the liquid to the surface of the guacamole, place a piece of plastic wrap over it so it touches the surface before completely wrapping the container up (or adding a lid) and placing it in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to use the guacamole up, remove the plastic wrap and drain off the excess liquid. Then just do a quick, look, smell and taste to make sure it is still fine to eat. If in doubt, just throw it out!
If you want to store it for longer, freezing guacamole will allow it to keep at its best for up to three months.
What to Know Before You Freeze Guacamole
As tempting as it may be to just throw your usual homemade guacamole in the freezer, there is a good chance that this will not freeze well. Unless you can vacuum seal your guacamole, then ingredients such as tomatoes, onions and jalapenos will turn mushy once thawed creating an unappetizing mess.
To solve this problem, just make a simple guacamole with avocado, salt and lime juice for freezing. A little cilantro will not do it any harm either. Once you thaw this simple guacamole, you can then add whatever fresh ingredients you want, such as tomatoes, onions and sour cream, before serving up.
How to Freeze Guacamole
It is always best to freeze simple guacamole made fresh with ripe avocados. If you like a chunkier guacamole then mash up your fresh avocado with a potato masher or fork, before adding kosher salt and lime (or lemon) juice to your taste. In the case of guacamole, more citrus juice is always better than less as the acid will help stop the avocado from turning brown. Chopped cilantro, finely minced garlic and ground spices such as cumin can also be added at this point.
If you prefer a smoother guacamole then use a stick blender or food processor and blend the avocado until smooth. If you add the lime juice while blending this can also coat the surface of the avocado better than it would if you just mashed the avocado and added the lime juice.
Once you have made your guacamole, there are a number of ways to actually freeze it. You can portion guacamole out into ziplock bags for freezing – it’s easier if you place the bag inside a cup or jug before filling – then remove the excess air from the bag before sealing and freezing. When you thaw out guacamole in bags, you may want to cut away a corner of the bag to make it easier to remove.
Another option is to freeze guacamole in mason jars or other jars that have a wide mouth. Jars do take up more room in the freezer but unlike ziplock bags, jars can be re-used many times. If you want to use jars, fill them very carefully to avoid air bubbles in the guacamole and leave a gap of an inch at the top of the jar so the guacamole has room to expand as it freezes. You can also add a thin layer of olive oil or lime/lemon juice over the top surface to help reduce browning before you pop the lid on the jar.
If you just want smaller servings of guacamole, such as for on a lunch burrito, you can also freeze guacamole in ice cube trays. Once the guacamole cubes are frozen, just tip them into a ziplock bag or airtight container.
Although it may keep for as long as six months, for best quality, always use guacamole within three months of freezing.
Freezing Guacamole with A Vacuum Sealer
Guacamole can also be vacuum sealed. One advantage of vacuum sealing before freezing is that onions, tomatoes and other guacamole ingredients will retain much more of their texture, so you can freeze a wider variety of guacamoles in this way.
To vacuum seal and freeze guacamole, you will need to part freeze the guacamole for 45 minutes to an hour (so that it has started to freeze but not yet frozen). The guacamole can then be transferred to the vacuum bag and vacuum sealed before placing back in the freezer to fully freeze. The guacamole should keep at best quality for six months or even longer when vacuum sealed and frozen.
How to Thaw Frozen Guacamole
Larger frozen portions are best thawed in the refrigerator overnight. If you have frozen the guacamole in jars, it will take longer to thaw. To defrost smaller or single servings, just leave it out on the countertop for an hour or so. Some people may thaw guacamole in the microwave although this is never the best solution as there is always the risk of the guacamole starting to warm.
Once the guacamole is thawed, give it a good stir before adding any extra fresh ingredients.
Guacamole that has been frozen and defrosted should never be refrozen.
Can You Freeze Store Bought Guacamole?
Not all store bought guacamole will be as suitable for freezing as it may contain ingredients such as tomatoes, cream cheese and other ingredients which will not survive freezing and thawing as well as a simple guacamole.
Some manufacturers label up their guacamole as being suitable for freezing in the original container. Otherwise, if you want to freeze a suitable guacamole in smaller portions, separate it into small ziplock bags, remove the excess air, seal and freeze.
Can You Not Just Freeze the Avocado and Make the Guacamole Later?
Yes, you can freeze fresh avocado in halves, slices or chunks for making guacamole with later, but be aware that the freezing process will impact the texture and color of the avocados. You can reduce some of the damage by vacuum sealing avocado before freezing.
Avoid freezing avocados whole as when thawing they will become very mushy and brown. You are best dicing, slicing, mashing or pureeing avocado before freezing. Home frozen avocado should keep for as long as six months in the freezer although store bought frozen avocado products will often last longer as these contain extra preservatives.
Once you have washed and prepared your avocado, brush a thin layer of lemon juice on to the surface of the avocado. You can then wrap the avocado well in plastic wrap or place in a ziplock bag. You want to have as little air as possible in contact with the surface of the avocado as this will cause browning and freezer burn.
To thaw the avocado, leave at room temperature for an hour or so. Thawed avocado is best kept for spreads, dips, smoothies or guacamole because of the change in texture and sometimes color.
Can You Freeze Salsa?
A post about freezing guacamole is not complete without mentioning salsa! Although tomatoes are high in water content which alters the texture during freezing and thawing because the tomatoes have already been crushed in the salsa, any change in texture after thawing is not as obvious.
So yes, you can freeze salsa although you may want to avoid freezing pico de gallo (salsa fresco) as this will have a noticeable texture change as it is naturally chunkier than regular tomato salsa.
Frozen salsa may be a little watery after defrosting but there should not be any difference in its taste.
Whether homemade or store bought salsa, freeze it in jars (as long as there is an inch space at the top of the jar), in an airtight container or in ziplock bags. For smaller portions, use an ice cube tray and transfer the frozen salsa cubes into an airtight container or bag.
Tomatoes can also be frozen uncooked, blanched, cooked, whole, sliced or diced.
Can you Freeze Guacamole in a Burrito?
Although we know a simple guacamole can freeze quite well, it will not behave as well when added to a burrito which you will then be freezing and thawing/reheating. You are best freezing your guacamole separate to your burritos – this is where freezing guacamole in small portions in ice cube trays comes into its own. You can then just thaw out the guacamole, heat your burrito and serve together.
Another option is to thaw/reheat your frozen burrito then just slice up a fresh avocado and put it on the side with a sprinkling of lime juice and some cilantro.