Remove Avocado Pits Without A Knife With One Easy Tip

If you're an avocado lover, you may have already mastered the hidden color code to tell an avocado's ripeness. You probably also have your own set method for cutting and pitting the luscious green fruit. What you may not know, however, is that the most common techniques for cutting them open as well as removing the pit can lead to serious injury. If you've ever held an avocado in one hand while slicing it open with a sharp knife, or lodged that same knife into the seed in order to twist it out, you've put yourself at risk of an affliction known as 'avocado hand.'

While the name may sound almost comical, avocado hand is actually a very serious and painful injury. A 2019 analysis by Insider revealed that there were 8,900 visits to the emergency room in 2018 due to avocado-cutting-related injuries — a number that has likely increased in the years since as avocados gained in popularity. Thankfully, lacerating your hand to get at the creamy goodness inside can be avoided with one easy push.

First, to open your avocado, place it on a cutting board instead of holding it in your palm. This way, you can carefully slice it open with your hand safely out of the way. To remove the pit, you might be surprised to learn that you don't even need a knife. Instead, you can simply use the game-changing push technique to pop the seed out using nothing but your fingers.

How to pit an avocado using just your fingers

Regardless of how good your knife skills are, it's inherently dangerous to smack a sharp knife into something held in your hand. Furthermore, once jammed onto the blade, you then have to remove the slippery seed from the knife. You've got a 50/50 chance of slicing your hand or fingers. To reduce that chance to zero, put away the knife altogether.

To safely remove the pit, place your index and middle fingers on either side of the stone, with your thumb on the back of the avocado, behind the center of the pit (imagine a three-fingered baseball grip). Then just gently push forward with your thumb while keeping your front fingers in place. The pit should slide right out. Try it once, and we bet you'll never go back to using a knife for this ever again.

Depending on your dexterity, you might find it easier to perform the push technique with two hands. This also gives you a little bit more control over where the pit ends up, as it might go flying once it's released (do it over a bowl or plate so that it doesn't end up on the floor or down your sink's drain). For the two-handed method, double up with both index and middle fingers on either side of the pit, with both thumbs on the back. You won't need much more than a nudge to separate the pit from the avocado's flesh.

You can dice your avocado safely too

The beauty of this trick is that it works with just about any ripeness of avocado. If the fruit is especially soft, you might find that some of the flesh will come off along with the pit ... if this happens you can just scrap it off with a spoon. You can also use a spoon to scoop out the avocado from the skin, no knives or peeling needed. This works great for recipes where you'll be using smashed avocado, like for avocado toast or blending it into a sauce or creamy salad dressing

If you need a diced or more uniform appearance, try the Bobby Flay trick to cut avocados right in their peels. He cuts them up using a chef's knife to make a crisscross pattern, then scoops the pieces out pre-diced. For a more cautious approach, you don't even need to use a sharp knife for this — a dull butter or dinner knife will work just as well.   

Better yet, stay out of harm's way entirely by keeping things knife-free. Rachel Ray's easy trick for dicing avocados for guacamole does just that. She takes advantage of the grid pattern on a wire cooling rack by smashing her avocados through the cross-hatched squares. Ultimately, you'll still need to use a knife to get your avocados open (try a butter knife for this too), but once opened, you can get the rest of your prep done easily without any knives necessary.