Avocados are one of my favorite foods. They make such awesome ingredients in dishes from the best guacamole ever to the avocado tomato salad I shared last week, and more. Plus, they’re pretty good on my own, as Little Miss can attest. They’re one of her favorite vegetables.
A few weeks ago, I asked my husband to help with prep in the kitchen and watched in amazement as he cut up the avocado. It was somewhat entertaining to watch him start to peel it then change his mind and cut it across the short half of the avocado and try to dig out all the flesh. And then it dawned of me that perhaps a tutorial might be in order. Do you know how to quickly and effectively cut an avocado? You do now!
A couple of notes before we begin. First, you want a ripe avocado. How do you find a ripe avocado? You want to buy one in the store that isn’t rock hard, but you don’t want one with any soft spots in it. The soft spots will be brown inside and will taste icky. You want to find one that will just barely start to give as you gently squeeze it. And the real test of an avocado? You want to wiggle the stem on the top of the avocado – that little bit that’s barely left there. If it’s stuck firmly on there and won’t move, the avocado isn’t ripe. If it pops off and isn’t bright green underneath, it’s overripe. You don’t want to try to remove it yourself, as it protects the freshness of your avocado and keeps it from overripening, but if you wiggle it and can feel that it’s pretty loose and wants to come off? You’re doing well.
How To Cut Up An Avocado
Step One: Cut the avocado in half lengthwise. This will give you the most room to maneuver. Once you’ve cut all the way around, twist the two halves in your hands and pull it apart. One half will be ready to go, and the other half will contain the pit.
Step 2: To remove the pit, use the knife that you just used to cut the skin around the avocado. Notice that it doesn’t need to be super sharp. I wouldn’t use a butter knife, but this is a table knife I have. Don’t hold the avocado in your hand while you do this. Or at least be very careful of where all your fingers are – I have a scar and an emergency room bill for stitches that I can show you for proof of what happens when you don’t. Slam your knife firmly into the pit. You want it to embed itself slightly into the avocado pit. Then you simply apply a little force and twist the knife sideways. The pit will pop right out. That said, if you’re only using half your avocado, leave the pit in. The pit helps the avocado from turning brown as much as is possible. Another secret: if you’re making guacamole and it will be out for awhile, leave the pit(s) in the guacamole, and it will help keep it fresher.
Step 3: Removing the flesh from the avocado is fairly easy at this point. You will change your tool now to a spoon. Simply slide the spoon between the flesh and the skin and gently work it all the way around the avocado. This is where a ripe avocado is important – an unripe one won’t separate easily (ok, plus, it doesn’t taste as good). Once you’ve gone all the way around, use the spoon to pop the flesh out and onto a cutting board.
Step 4: When you’re ready to cut your avocado, simply use your same knife again to run the knife lightly through the sections first one way and then another. The key here is to not cut them too small. Avocado is fairly delicate and will start to fall apart as you mix it, so you want to start with pieces larger than those you want to end with. For this reason, I never cut them to make them shorter and instead leave them the full height of the avocado – just 2 cuts, not three.
From here, the avocado is clean and ready to use in nice even chunks. Now… go make some guacamole. I’m hungry!