Have you heard about accidents people are having while cutting avocados? Cutting an avocado requires a thoughtful approach if you want to avoid injury. Recently, Dr. Leon Benson, an Illinois Bone & Joint Institute hand and upper extremity surgeon, appeared on the local Fox 32 affiliate to discuss how to properly cut an avocado.
Secure Cutting Board from Slipping
First, you’ll need to stabilize your cutting board to prevent it from sliding around on your smooth countertop. It can sometimes help to place a dish towel underneath it to keep it in place. Some people dampen the towel first and then wring out the extra water, the goal here is to get the towel to grab the surface. Thin towels work best and even damp paper towels can be useful for these purposes. (Of course, the best option of all is to use a flexible, non-slip cutting mat.)
Determine Avocado Ripeness
You should determine the ripeness of the avocado before you start cutting. If the avocado bruises easily when firm pressure is applied, similar to the soft surface of pears, then it’s ripe. If the avocado feels hard and stiff, then any attempt at cutting it could be a bit more dangerous. A hard surface takes more effort to cut, and the idea when cutting an avocado is that you will not need to work harder than the minimal amount of effort – which is possible when an avocado is ripe. Besides, ripe fruit tastes better.
Use the Right Grip on the Knife
Be sure to grip your knife like you are shaking someone’s hand. Except the index finger will rest along the top side of the handle for guidance. With this technique, it is easy to apply firm pressure to the avocado.
Cut Away From Yourself
Instead of holding the avocado in your hand, place it on a cutting board in your kitchen. Holding it in your hands is extremely risky, as the knife can accidentally cut your hand or wrist. While placing the avocado on the cutting board, always remember to cut away from yourself. If you’re slicing other parts of the avocado after cutting it in half, start on the end that is closest to your body. From there, continue moving the knife away from your body as you slice. This technique will help make sure the knife doesn’t cut your hand or fingers.
Scoop Out the Pit with a Spoon
This step is where the most severe injuries tend to occur. Once the avocado is cut in half, you can twist and rotate it so that you can access the pit. However, the safest way to remove a pit is using a spoon. Just slip your spoon under the pit and scoop it out. Although you may have seen this on TV, never try to strike the pit with a knife. It’s extremely dangerous, and one of the causes of serious hand injuries.
As Dr. Benson described in an interview with Fox News, the avocado pit has a formidable defense. It is rock hard and slippery, so cutting directly at it with a knife will deflect the sharp blade off of its surface, likely going directly into your hand. Injuries from accidents like these typically require surgery, sometimes requiring over six months for the recovery period of torn tendons or ligaments.
Kitchen Safety for Avocado Preparation
Overall, safety is paramount. IBJI simply wants you to be aware of the risks posed when casually cutting into an avocado so if guacamole is on your party menu, we encourage you to follow these tips. However, if a slip of the knife does occur, the hand and upper extremity specialists of IBJI are here to help.