It's avocado season again, and with mountains of the ripe, pear-shaped fruit practically begging to be turned into guacamole or added to a salad, learning how to pit an avocado correctly should be top of any amateur chef's to-do list. The round, slippery pit that is found at the center of the fruit can be fairly hard to handle, and, according to The Guardian, removing the pesky seed has sent quite a few avocado lovers to the hospital.
While I have no qualms with halving an avocado and pulling the pit out with with my bare hands (or even — gasp! — a spoon), apparently some avocado eaters attempt to free the stone by digging underneath it with the point of knife, slipping and hacking into their own hand in the process. These injuries have been known to cause nerve or tendon damage, and a whole mess of blood on your kitchen counter. After seeing an uptick in accident and emergency patients, the affliction has become known as "avocado hand" to surgeons in the UK; the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons is even calling for safety labels to be added to the fruit to raise awareness. Adding avocado makes everything better... except personal injury.
So what is the absolute best way to remove the pit of an avocado without slicing your digits or the palm of your hand as well? Chowhound's YouTube channel offers a step-by-step guide for "the fastest way to get an avocado out of its skin and remove the pit," and it appears to be remarkably simple. All you need is a ripe avocado, a chef's knife, and an insatiable hunger for success.
First, rinse your avocado thoroughly and use a chef's knife to cut around the circumference of the fruit lengthwise. Set down the knife, and twist the two halves to pull them apart.
Once you have separated the halves, take your chef's knife and carefully yet firmly tap the pit with the heel of your knife. Twist the knife slightly, and the pit should gently break away from the supple green flesh. Depending on how deep the knife lodges in the pit, you will want to be extra careful when pulling the pit from the knife.
Foodie website The Kitchn recommends holding the avocado with a folded kitchen towel for a firmer grasp — and notes that under no circumstances should you substitute a pairing knife for the heftier chef's knife. "A smaller knife is more likely to bounce or slip off the pit and put your fingers in danger," the Kitchn notes.
If all else fails, there's even a special avocado slicer and pit remover on the market with plastic blades that cut through the skin and fruit of the avocado, but not your fingers. You can also try cutting the avocado in quarters before removing the seed for an easier release.
Now go forth and (safely) mash that creamy avocado all over your toast!