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Jun. 1 2009 - 12:10 pm | 600 views | 2 recommendations | 16 comments

Frozen Avocados Suck Worse Than You’d Think

fail1

On a recent trip to Trader Joe’s supermarket — a place in which I’ve always had great results — a store worker stopped me in my tracks in the frozen aisle solely in order to tell me how good their frozen avocados were. “Frozen avocados?” I blurted out, bewildered by the fact that such a thing could be done, and also at the fact that such a man had the gumption to recommend them. He said he ate them all the time, and that they’re even sometimes better than regular avocados. He then reassured me of Trader Joe’s return policy — if you don’t like a product, bring it back for a full refund with no questions asked. So, I walked out of the store with frozen avocado halves not because I don’t have access to fresh ones, but because I knew I had a job to do by testing them.

Needless to say, I’ll be taking them up on their return policy.

If you ask me, the avocado is the one absolutely perfect that mother nature provides. It’s creamy, flavorful, hearty, has lots of healthy Omega-3 fats — it’s brilliant. So, I was skeptical off the bat that these frozen avocados could hold up to the real deal. After opening the box, I immediately had an issue: These Trader Joe’s avocados are TINY! No, wait, tiny. As you can see below, they’re almost the size of a fairly large lime. That is weak.

wrapped
As many women and insecure men will tell you, size doesn’t matter… so on with the experiment. Since they’re frozen, the instructions were to place the shrunk-wrapped avocado halves into a bowl of room temperature water for 15-20 minutes. Easy enough.

I had hoped to use these avocados cubed up in a salad. Once removed from the water/packaging, however, those dreams were dashed. The normally luscious, creamy avocados were spongy, elastic impostors of what they should be. Seriously, I could bend them back and forth and they’d spring back to form rather than mush up. I even took video because I had to properly display how unnatural this was:

[kaltura-widget wid="4qbexlfjnw" width="410" height="364" addpermission="2" editpermission="2" /]

So, at this point I figured I’d ditch the cube idea and just try to salvage this sad affair with a guacamole of sorts. Lime juice, cumin and even a little sour cream — which I’d normally never put in guac, but this was desperation mode — was thrown in and everything was mashed with a fork, but it was all for naught. The outcome was a pasty, gritty, flavorless and textureless blob of shame.

mush

I’m not posting this to rip on Trader Joe’s at all. As I mentioned before, I’ve been very satisfied with 99% of their products in the past. This is more a post to assert that if you’re skeptical of a food product and are giving it a test run for the first time, don’t be surprised if it sucks, and more importantly, make sure it’s not the main component and always have a backup plan.


Comments

4 T/S Member Comments Called Out, 16 Total Comments
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  1. collapse expand

    YUCK! You gotta wonder what the rational is for this product? It takes about 45 seconds to peel an avocado versus the 20 minutes to thaw these. And don’t get me started on the impact of packaging and processing to the environment. A frozen avocado might make sense in some other areas of the country where they aren’t readily available but here in NYC we can get fresh ones just about year round.

  2. collapse expand

    As an avocado devotee (one a day, minimum) and a fan of Trader Joe’s, this post was extremely upsetting to me. I hate to see my favorite high-fat fruit denigrated and debased like this. Just last week, a truck loaded with produce crates spilled dozens of avocados on my street. Before I could rush into the road to collect the precious green gems, they were squashed by oncoming traffic.

    …And now, frozen avocados? My world is imploding.

  3. collapse expand

    Maybe Trader Joe’s should repackage its frozen avocados as children’s toys. You look like you’re having fun in that video, Mike. And there’s assuredly no lead in them.

  4. collapse expand

    Freezing avocados is such a waste. Avocados don’t even ripen on the tree, so they are either freezing them too early or waiting to freeze them when they could be sending fresh avocados to Trader Joe’s. Plus there are always fresh avocados available. What’s the point?

    Thanks for “taking one for the team” Mike.

  5. collapse expand

    Warning: Always consult a Californian before purchasing any avocado-related product. While some TJs employees may resemble Californians, it is advisable to ask for identification.

  6. collapse expand

    Maybe you should rip on Trader Joe’s. To me, they’re the Odd Job Lots of the food world—no staples, but a lot of goofy merchandise of questionable provenance. Anytime anyone raves to me about the place, it’s about something that I know I’ll have no interest in: allegedly gourmet snack food (an oxymoron, really) or, say, some fantastic frozen shrimp. Fantastic shrimp never comes frozen in a bag, of course.

    I salute your fearlessness. If you have any frozen avocados left over, maybe you can do up a batch of avocado marshmallows: http://www.gourmet.com/food/testkitchen/the-test-kitchen-challenge-avocado

    • collapse expand

      I’ve got no beef with Trader Joe’s. They have lots of products I use and love regularly (their frozen garlic naan is unstoppable). The avocado thing just seemed like a bad idea to begin with, and turns out it was.

      Thanks for passing the marshmallow recipe along. Sadly, I tend to never ever work with sugar or make desserts. I just can’t deal with the precision of it all.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  7. collapse expand

    Looks like low-grade, bland guacamole! As another avocado lover, I was surprised at the heading of the post b/c avocados SEEM like a food that wouldn’t freeze well. I’ve found with many veggies of a comparable texture..portabellas come to mind, though not terribly alike..lose their buttery texture in the freezing/thawing process. This is a perfect example of a food that should be eaten only in it’s rich, natural state..

  8. collapse expand

    While I do like my avocados fresh, I live in a remote area. I have to drive about 90 miles to get to a grocery store. I bought some frozen avocados from the Schwan’s man who comes around every other week, and they were not so bad. Not as good as fresh, but not as bad as these Trader Joe’s frozen ones sound.

    I was planning a dinner party for tomorrow, and bought 6 avocados at the grocery store yesterday. Then today I found out I have a mandatory staff meeting I have to attend at 6 p.m. tomorrow, one hour after my party was to have started. So, I googled “How to freeze avocados” and found your article. I’ll let you know how my home frozen avocados turn out. I just can’t stand the thought of wasting $9 worth of avocados.

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    Oysters. Bone Marrow. Spanish hams. Fish tacos. Shanghai soup dumplings. Sea urchin. Summer tomatoes still warm from the sun. There, my favorite foods are out of the way. To cut to the chase, food is in my genes. My father, grandfather and great grandfather were butchers. I've cooked for fun and pay since I can remember, helping out at my dad's catering company/butcher shop and eventually the catering wing of Zagat's highest-rated restaurant in the country (you've never heard of it). Why am I not a chef or caterer? I'm just too much of a pansy. I didn't want the hours/heat/instability to ruin my love for cooking, so now it's pure recreation. Since ditching the chef idea, I've written for many major news networks and magazines, spanning everything from a blood-soaked Marine invasion into Fallujah to Britney Spears' underwear (lack of, actually) to properly sourcing pork. I hope to share the deliciousness of life with you. Also, pancakes suck.

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