Did you know prepping an avocado is one of the most dangerous tasks to do in the kitchen? It’s such a common healthy food, and the flesh is so soft that this might be surprising… but between people learning to pry out the pit with a knife, and to slice and dice the flesh while it’s still inside the skin, home cooks are keeping emergency rooms and hand surgeons in business.
Don’t believe me? Fine… maybe you’ll listen to Meryl Streep!
Yeah! She injured her hand cutting an avocado… WE ALMOST LOST A NATIONAL TREASURE TO HEALTHY FATS!
So please, heed my warning. Don’t go wacking away at the pit with your knife, and don’t cut up the avocado flesh while it’s in your hand because you’re just as likely to cut your own flesh.
How to Remove an Avocado Pit Safely
Keeping the avocado on the cutting board and starting from the top, slice down till you hit the pit.
Roll the avocado forward while keeping the knife in contact with the stone the whole time and continue to slice through the fruit. You’ll roll the avocado all the way over and meet the start of your cut.
Now you should be able to twist the two halves in opposite directions around the pit, and they should separate easily. If your cut around the pit didn’t quite line up you might end up with a less than perfect presentation, but it will still work.
Removing the pit is one of the two major ways people hurt their hands. You’ve probably heard you should whack the pit with your knife… the only problem is that you’re holding the avocado and if you miss… well guess where that knife is going.
Instead, stand the avocado up on its end again and slice from the top like we did in Step 1, right down to the pit.
Then slice around the pit again, like we did in Steps 1 and 2. If the pit is small you could skip Step 4 and go right here (laying it down on the pit/flesh), but if you have a big round pit it will rock a lot and be difficult to start the slice.
After you slice around the pit again, you should be easily able to take off one of the quarters and…
…perilously pop out the pit without piercing your skin because you’re not swinging big chef’s knives around your hands!
How to Peel, Slice, and Dice the Avocado
Now that we’ve removed the pit we can work on slicing and/or dicing the avocado depending on what you’re doing (or just leave the quarters whole if you’re going to mash them for guacamole). You’ve probably seen chef’s and videos that teach slicing the avocado halves in your hand and then scooping them out with a spoon.
This works, but again… your HAND is a millimeter or two away from the tip of a sharp knife going through avocado which is only slightly more resistant than warm butter. There are too many scary stories and photos of people who have caused serious injury (sometimes permanent nerve damage) to themselves. Removing the pit is the most dangerous part, but slicing the avocado in your hand is an easy way to stab yourself. So instead, do this!
Get your avocado quarters lined up assembly style so you can peel them.
Starting at the skinny end, peel away the avocado skin. If your avocado isn’t very ripe you might have it crack, or it could be difficult to separate the flesh from the skin. If this is the case, use a large soup spoon to scoop away the flesh – using the tip of the spoon to start at the skinny end of the avocado quarter.
Slicing the Avocado
After you’ve peeled the four quarters, you can start slicing.
Place the avocado quarter on a flat side, and using your knuckles as a guide start slicing from the other flat side.
Dicing the Avocado
If you’re wanting to dice the avocado, start by slicing the quarters as wide as you want the dices to be. Then turn the quarter 90 degress…
And start cutting against your slices to get your even dices. Since the pit takes up a big portion of the interior your dices should be pretty uniform without much fussing.
And boom, diced and sliced any way you like it!