Sunday, March 26, 2017


Ben came home with 10 kilos (22 pounds) of avocados, picked at a friend’s orchard. After several joyful days of eating guacamole, avocado-shrimp cocktail, avocado toasts, soup with avocado garnish, I started looking for some new ways to enjoy the fruit. At the rate of several a day, we would never be able to use them all, especially as they tend to ripen all at once. 

Avocados galore! Unfortunately, once picked, they all tend to ripen at the same time.

I experimented with freezing the whole avocados, hoping to assure my guacamole futures. This works, sort of.
Frozen and thawed.

Defrosted, the avocados still have good flavor, but they become soft, great for smashing for guacamole but not much good for slicing into salads.

The freezing experiment gave me an idea, though—what about avocado ice cream? I make myself batches of fruit “ice cream” every week, using whatever fruit is in season. Locally-grown mangoes are finished and the ones from Brazil have suffered in transport and storage. Strawberries are coming in, but it’s still early to buy them in bulk. My other favorites—nectarines, peaches and apricots—are a few months away. Persimmons won’t happen until fall. So, when life gives you avocados, make ice cream!

Avocado ice cream, not too sweet, is wonderfully creamy.

Hint: If you have space, refrigerate the unripe avocados, stems still intact. As you use ripe ones, take green ones out of the fridge to begin ripening. This works better than trying to refrigerate all the ripe ones.

The avocado’s creaminess makes it a natural for ice cream. Lemon juice complements the flavor as well as preventing the fruit from darkening. But, then what? A passing comment by a Facebook friend—chile powder on avocado ice cream—inspired me to make the red pepper jam with a jolt of chile. While my ice cream swirling techniques need some improvement, I gotta say that the flavor combo is absolutely sensational.

A swirl of red pepper puree adds piquancy to the ice cream.

Freeze ice cream in individual cups for easy serving.

The red pepper jam is hot and sweet, so I was happy not to add sugar to the ice cream. But Ben preferred it sweetened, so I divvied the cream into two batches, both good.

My only caveat is that this ice cream freezes really hard. Be sure to take it out of the freezer 30 to 45 minutes before serving to soften before dipping. You can also freeze it in individual glasses and only take out as many as will be used at one time.

Avocado Ice Cream with Red Pepper Swirl and Crunchy Pumpkin Seed
Helado de Aguacate con Vetas de Pimiento Rojo y Crocanti de Pipas de Calabaza

2 pounds ripe avocados (3 cups chopped)
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups plain yogurt
1 cup mascarpone, softened
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar (optional)
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
½ cup roasted red pepper jam (recipe follows)
Pumpkin seed crunch to serve (recipe follows)

Peel and cut up the avocados, adding the lemon juice to the cut fruit. Puree the avocados, juice, yogurt and mascarpone until smooth. Add the salt, sugar if using and lemon zest.

Freeze the avocado cream until partially frozen, about 3 hours. Using an immersion blender or mixer, beat the ice cream until smooth.

Use a skewer to swirl in red pepper jam.
Spoon about ¼ of the ice cream into a metal bowl. Dribble red pepper jam over the surface and use a skewer to swirl it through the cream. Add another layer of cream, more red pepper and swirl. Continue layering and swirling.

Return the ice cream to the freezer.

To serve, remove ice cream to soften 45 minutes before serving. Scoop into dessert cups and sprinkle with the pumpkin  seed.

Freeze cream in a metal bowl.

Roasted Red Pepper Jam
Mermelada de Pimiento Asado

You won’t need all of the red pepper jam for the ice cream swirl. Try it dolloped into pumpkin or zucchini soup; spread on sandwiches or burgers; as a sauce with roast chicken or lamb.

Canned piquillo peppers could be substituted for the roasted bell peppers. Use 2 (185-gram) cans. Fresh red chile can be used—roast it with the bell peppers—or just use pimentón picante (hot paprika) or a lesser amount of cayenne.

Makes 1 ½ cups jam.

3-4 red bell peppers (to make 1 ½ cups roasted and chopped)
½ cup water
½ teaspoon hot pimentón
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons sugar

Roast the bell peppers over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning to char them on all sides. Set aside in a pan and tent with foil until peppers are cool enough to handle. Peel away the blackened skin, discard stems and seeds. Cut the peppers up and place them in blender with the water. Puree the peppers until very smooth.

Place the pepper puree in a saucepan with the salt and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, stirring frequently. Partially cover the pan to prevent splattering. Cook until the puree is thick and jammy, about 15 minutes. Cool.

Pumpkin Seed Crunch
Crocanti de Pipas de Calabaza

3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
½ teaspoon sugar

Place the pumpkin seeds and sugar in a small heavy skillet. Toast on medium-high heat until sugar is melted and seeds are toasted, about 3 minutes. Scrape the seeds onto a wooden board and allow them to cool. 

Sprinkle the seeds over the ice cream. 

Soften ice cream 45 minutes before scooping.

Sugared pumpkin seeds add crunch to smooth ice cream.

Individual cups are easy to serve.

More recipes for ice cream:
More recipes with avocados: Avocado, grapefruit and fennel salad. Shellfish cocktail with avocado.


  1. cocoa, bananas and avocados make a healthful, delicious, creamy pudding when blended in a highspeed blender...just in case you ever run out of ideas. Beautiful avocados!

    1. Christine: Avocados plus cocoa sounds good. Bananas in the mix, maybe not for me. But, yes, a creamy pudding rather than ice cream is a good idea.

  2. Hi, Janet! I believe you and I were roommates at NU during Summer 1961 in Willard Hall. I was Judy Mann then (I'm now Judith, and changed my last name).

    If you are indeed that Janet Mendel, it's lovely to find you again! And if not, well, it's still a pleasure to find this delightful site.

    1. Judith: I am, indeed, that Janet Mendel. Hello to you from across the years. Hope you'll come back to the blog site. Saludos.

  3. Just can't get excited about an avocado, Janet: sorry. But, let me try the ice cream and I'll get back on it - eventually! Enjoy yours, though.

    1. JohnD: Can't imagine someone who doesn't like avocados! Actually, I've always resisted using them in anything sweet, so this was a big experiment, surprisingly good.

  4. I love avocados and am jealous of your windfall! I've found they keep well in the fridge for a week or two once they are ripe.

    1. Alex: The Haas variety avocados do, indeed, keep well once they're ripe. But it was an interesting discovery that they'll keep even longer if you refrigerate them before they're ripe, then take them out to resume the maturing process. They keep even longer.