Friday, May 12, 2017

How to fix an avocado without drawing blood (public service announcement)

From what I read online, apparently a lot of people are cutting themselves wide open while merely trying to fix guacamole.

This is foolishness, folks.

I am so bad with knives that for years my husband begged me not to take a knife skills class at the community college. He was afraid he'd never see me again.

And yet, though I have eaten avocados several times a week for decades, I have never ever succumbed to the newly popular avocado hand (and by the way, the advice in that linked article about how to cut an avocado is nonsense).

Here's how to open an avocado without inflicting bodily harm.

1. Be pretty sure it's ripe, but not too ripe. If you don't know how to tell, see my post "How to get perfect avocados nearly every time."

2. Use a smallish knife--longer than a paring knife but not one of those big cleaver things. I use a cheap grocery-store knife with a 4½" blade.

3. Slice the avocado in half lengthwise, as in the picture (do not cut the pit). This is not the part of fixing an avocado that sends people to the emergency room.

4. Peel both halves, using your fingers (not the knife). It's much easier to work with a peeled avocado.

Now the plot thickens. How do you get that huge pit out? This is where people stab themselves when they only ever meant to affix the pit to the point of the knife. Resist the temptation: that's not how to do it.

5. Take the avocado half with the pit and slice it lengthwise again (do not cut the pit). You can slice it in half, or you can make a number of thinner slices. Once you have sliced it, the pit is easy to remove.

Bottom line: don't try to take the pit out of the avocado. Take the avocado off the pit.

You'll be fine.


Patricia Fulda said...

I also eat avocados all the time and agree with everything you've written (ripening and cutting) except about the pit. Remove the pit manually (gouge with your fingers) and scrape any excess avocado back down onto the half. Dispose of the pit, and scoop out the avocado halves using a soup spoon! Enjoy!

Patricia Fulda said...

One additional note. To slice an avocado, put it on a flat surface. Draw a straight cut from one end to the other. Raise the avocado on end and begin the cut on the other side. Put the avocado flat again and finish the second cut, with both cuts ending in the same place. Voila!

Ann Quinn said...

I push the pit out from the outside--just press on the leathery skin, and it usually pops out. Peel the avocado halves? You've got to be kidding me! I cube or slice it with a small knife right inside the skin, then use a spoon to scoop out the pieces.

A Peruvian friend told me to always buy the avocados with the little piece of stem still in the hole at the top--it keeps the bad stuff out.

LaVonne Neff said...

It would be interesting to know just how people were attacking their avocados when the knife slipped.

I do sometimes scoop out the avocado flesh with a spoon, but only if I'm planning to mash it. Ann Quinn's method sounds safe unless she's holding the avocado in her hand while slicing it inside the skin. Any time you use a knife on an avocado, be sure to lay the avocado on a cutting board and cut away from yourself. I find it easier and safer to slip off the skin before cutting.

As for removing the pit, I've used Patricia's method, but often my avocados simply refuse to offer me their pits and I end up with a mess when I really wanted neat slices. I'll try Ann's approach to pit-popping when my current avocado ripens. If it works, I like it. But after halving the avocado, I'll definitely continue to peel each half (with my fingers, not a knife) before slicing.