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Listening to how many people cut their hands on #avocados on @npr I’m sort of surprised. I learned to cut avocados while working in restaurants young, and have only had a couple of tiny cuts - I used to cut hundreds a day. I’m going to try to explain my method...
First, always remove the stem. If the avocado underneath is bright green, it’s ripe. Cutting unripe avocados is probably a big reason people cut themselves, I’m guessing. Put it in a paper bag for a day and it will be softer - it’s worth the wait for taste, too!
Use a large butcher knife that is sharp, this part is crucial. I use a spoon and a smaller paring knife if I am dicing or slicing too. Using the edge of the butcher knife and not the tip, cut into the side of the avocado, with your knife aligned with the empty stem end.
The stem hole will be sort of oval - shoot for one of the pointier ends in alignment. Moving the avocado instead of the knife, rotate it around the axis of the avocado, with the knife edge firmly against the pit. If the avocado is ripe, this takes almost no pressure at all.
Take out the knife, and gripping the avocado on either side of your cut, twist, and it should come apart easily. If it does not: it is not ripe, so proceed with the next steps with caution, or put it back together and into the paper bag. You can cut away the brown edges later.
Ok: this is the most scary part and takes practice. But it is time-rested and with practice, easy!

Hold the avocado half with the pit in your non-dominant hand. (Left, if you’re right-handed, or Vice-Versa.) using a swift motion, hit the edge of the blade into the pit itself.
I get it - this part is scary. But speed is somewhat of the essence. The goal is for the edge of your butcher knife to wind up stuck directly into the pit. It seems counterintuitive, but going slower is more dangerous - that’s when the knife can glance if it doesn’t grab.
Again: ONLY a sharp knife for this! You shouldn’t ever be using a dull knife anyway, but doing this maneuver with one increases the danger of it! And setting the avocado down to do this, while it seems more logical, exposes more of your hand to the knife and the avocado rolls.
Once your knife edge is stuck in the pit, a slight twist counterclockwise will loosen the pit, leaving it stuck to the knife edge. A firm tap against the edge of the trash can drops the pit into it. Ta-da! You’re past the worst part. What happens next depends on how you use it.
If you just need to mash it, you can scoop close to the skin with a large spoon, and you’re done. If you want to slice or dice it, use the point of your paring knife to score the fruit before you do the scoop-with-a-spoon move. And that concludes our avocado cutting lesson!
I hope this was helpful and I saved some people’s hands! And I hope it was all easy to understand. Happy cooking!

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