The injury: avocado hand. The cause: poor knife skills. The afflicted: breakfast seekers of all ages. Perhaps it sounds ridiculous, but according to hospital records, gnarly avocado hand injuries are on the rise. Although avocado hand is being hailed as the most millennial—dare I say “basic”—injury to grace emergency rooms all over the country, the injuries sustained are actually quite serious. From stitches to loss of finger sensation, examples of avocado hand on social media run of gamut of squirm-inducing damage, with no signs of anyone learning a lesson. Even the likes of near-flawless human specimen Meryl Streep have fallen victim to avocado hand. This begs the question, what are people doing wrong?
The answer is simple: Use. Knives. Properly. While a dull knife can cause more damage than a sharp one, these tools still aren’t to be used willy nilly. It’s clear that the avocado hand epidemic stems from poor attention paid to the task at hand by avocado handlers. The sheer preventability of avocado hand by means of knife skills might be funny if folks weren’t getting so hurt. Simon Eccles, secretary of the Royal Society of Medicine and former president of the plastic surgery section of the association, told The Times he sees four avocado hand patients per week and thinks warning stickers could help. "We don't want to put people off the fruit, but I think warning labels are an effective way of dealing with this,” says Eccles. “Perhaps we could have a cartoon picture of an avocado with a knife, and a big red cross going through it?”
While I applaud Eccles’s concern, discouraging the use of knives feels eerily similar to abstinence-only sex education. Really, the safest way to cut an avocado is know know how to safely use a knife. So, for the good of humanity, here’s how you should be pitting and cutting avocados:
First, don’t select hard-as-rocks underripe avocados. Underripe avocados are extremely firm, flesh holding tightly to the pit. You wouldn’t rip a toddler from the arms of their parent, and the same applies to underripe avocados.
When the avocado in question is ripe and soft, place the avocado on a cutting board and carefully slice around the perimeter—turning the avocado, not the knife—to cut the fruit in half.
Holding the pit-side of the avocado half in your nondominant hand, carefully and swiftly plunge the blade—not the tip—of your knife into the pit. Turn the knife 45 degrees to release the pit. (If you’re not at all confident wielding a knife, cut the pit-half of the avocado into two pieces and pull out the pit.) The safest way to slice an avocado is to scoop out the flesh from each pitted avocado half with a spoon, and then slice the naked halves on a cutting board.