How to cut avocados: tips from an orthopedic surgeon

Love avocados, but hate cutting them. They are slippery little rascals and are responsible for many nasty hand injuries.

Stab wounds from using knives in the kitchen are not fun but are reported daily. Accidental self-inflicted knife injuries to digits are a common cause of tendon and nerve injury requiring hand surgery.

Many of us do not think about how much you use “your hands for your senses.”

Until you lose that ability of sensation, not just functional implications, but how else do you recognize hot, cold or pain but by touch.

Kitchen knife and avocado statistics

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates over 137,000 people receive hospital treatments for injuries from kitchen knives every year.

There has been an apparent increase in avocado injuries due to the way people hold the fruit in the hand. Therefore, “avocado hand” has spread, as one plastic surgeon in England says, “into an epidemic and suggests that avocados should come with a consumer warning label.”

Keep your fingers: recommendations for using a knife

  • Secure the cutting board.
  • Use a sharp knife, not dull or it will slip off your vegetable.
  • Avocado fruit should be ripe, too hard and it will not cut well and be a lot less flavorful.
  • Square off round veggies first when possible. Or trim off one end to give better support when holding for cutting or slicing.
  • Focus on the job, keeping your fingers and hands safe.

How to cut an avocado without cutting your hand (or other vegetables or fruits)

1. Use a sharp, medium size chef knife or suitable size that reaches the pit in the middle.

2. Keep avocado on cutting board or a kitchen towel, do not hold in hand. Cut into the skin, hitting the pit with the knife, go around by slowly spinning avocado till completely cut in half.

3. Then twist the sides apart with your hands.

4. Instead of “whacking” the seed while in your hand, quarter the one half with the seed, and easily pull out the pit with your fingers.

5. Peeling the skin off the flesh and lay down on board to slice or you can slice halved avocado while holding in a towel to slice and scoop out slices from the skin.

Or watch this video.

Avocados are great nutrition loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins and great omega-3 fats that are good for you. So, continue eating, but avoid the dreaded avocado hand by cutting them safely.

Nancy Yen Shipley is an orthopedic surgeon and can be reached at her self-titled site, NancyMD and on Twitter @_nancymd and Instagram @_nancymd.

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