The best and worst ways to pit an avocado, in light of 50,413 related knife injuries

Looking for the best method to pit an avocado. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Scott Suchman.

People love avocados spread on toast, mashed into guacamole, churned into ice cream and even mixed into fondue. It seems there isn’t anything the beloved fruit can’t do – including sending people to the emergency room.

For the less coordinated among us, a simple slip of the knife while trying to remove the pit can easily lead to slicing the flesh of one’s hand instead of the flesh of the fruit. According to one study, there were an estimated 50,413 avocado-related knife injuries from 1998 to 2017 in the United States! As much as I love avocados, I love not being in the ER more.

Here’s a review of various methods for removing an avocado pit, ranked from worst to best according to ease and (potential) damage to oneself and the avocado. With all of them, the riper the avocado the easier the pit will be to remove.

4. Strike the pit with a knife

This is the standard method people think of when removing an avocado pit: After cutting the avocado in half, strike the pit with the edge of a knife so that the blade lodges in it, give the knife a twist and then the pit should come out with ease. As stated previously, the main issue here is that people can accidentally miss the pit and strike their hand with the knife instead. Thankfully, as a somewhat coordinated person, this has never been an issue for me, but I do get a little nervous every time I then have to pry the pit from the knife’s blade. Potential maiming aside, this method does leave the avocado flesh intact should you want to cut picture-perfect cubes or slices.

3. Scoop the pit with a spoon

Staff writer Becky Krystal shared a new-to-me method: that you can simply scoop it out with a spoon. It seems obvious now that I’ve typed it, but it is not without its flaws. The first is that I may not have otherwise needed a spoon depending on my intended usage, thereby dirtying an additional utensil. (I really hate doing dishes.) Second, I found that I had to dig around in the avocado a bit to get the pit out. Are these dealbreakers? Of course not, but there are better options.

2. Cut the avocado into quarters

“If you don’t care about keeping the avocado half intact or are looking to achieve some nice wedges, we like the method espoused by chef, cookbook author and TV host Sara Moulton,” Krystal wrote. After you cut the avocado in half, simply rotate it 90 degrees to make another cut around the pit that is perpendicular to the first. “You end up with four sections; the pit is attached to one, and you can easily pluck it out with your fingers.” I like this method because with just one extra knife cut it makes the skin easy to peel and will be my go-to when I want horizontal slices or wedges. But if I’m just mashing it or otherwise don’t really care about how it will look, there’s an even easier method.

1. Pop the pit out with your fingers

While scrolling social media, I came across a post by sushi chef Michael Cho that quite frankly rocked my world and inspired me to write about pitting avocados in the first place. Did you know that you can simply pop the pit out with your fingers? Cho demonstrates the technique with one hand by placing your index and middle fingers on either side of the pit while using your thumb to pop it out from behind, or you can use two hands as shown in the photo above. I was shocked how easily it worked the first time I tried it. The next time I’m making guacamole or mashing avocado onto a piece of toast, this will be my method of choice. One note of caution is to beware of projectile pits! Pop them out directly into a bowl lest you want avocado pits skating across your kitchen counter.



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