Knowing how to cut an avocado and remove the pit is an essential kitchen skill, particularly if you're a big fan of guacamole or avocado toast. Cutting these green beauties incorrectly can result in cutting through to your skin and fingers (aka "avocado hand"). Here, we'll show you how to cut an avocado, pit an avocado the best (and safest) way, and keep an avocado fresh after cutting. Toast, smoothies, and salads featuring avocados are all in your future!
Step 1: Slice Around and Twist Apart
Wash your avocado. No, we don't eat the skin, but according to the FDA, one in five avocado skins can carry harmful bacteria like listeria or salmonella, so go ahead and give them a good rinse before you prep them. Use a knife to make a lengthwise cut around the seed, cutting through the skin and fruit. Holding the avocado in your hands, gently twist the two halves in opposite directions to separate them.
Step 2: Remove Avocado Pit
Cut each half again. The half with the seed will stick out and be ready for plucking by using a spoon to scoop under the pit.
Test Kitchen Tip
Always cut your ripe avocado with a sharp knife on a cutting board. More people cut themselves with dull knives rather than sharp ones.
Step 3: Peel the Avocado
How to Pick an Avocado
Learning to tell if an avocado is ripe is key – no one likes tossing out overripe produce or waiting days for it to be ripe. While at the store, look for avocados that aren't bruised or too soft and have no gouges or broken skin. If you're not using the avocado for three or four days (way to plan ahead!), choose firm avocados. If you need to use the avocados immediately, choose a ripe avocado that yields to gentle pressure when cradled in your hand.
Store avocados at room temperature until they ripen, then refrigerate and use within three days. Refrigeration slows avocado ripening.
How to Ripen an Avocado
If you purchase an avocado that's not quite ripe and want to speed the process a little, you're not completely at the mercy of nature. We can't promise you the world – your unripe avocado won't be ripe in just a couple of hours – but to ripen an avocado more quickly, here are a few tips:
- Place the avocado in a small, clean paper bag. Don't use a plastic bag; it won't allow the fruit to breathe, and the trapped moisture could cause your avocado to grow mold instead of ripening.
- Loosely close the bag and store it at room temperature. To speed up the ripening process even more, you can place an apple or ripe banana in the bag with the avocado.
- Check your avocado daily. If you're trying to ripen multiple avocados at the same time, remove any that yield to gentle pressure. To check your avocados for ripeness, cradle one in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze rather than poking it with your thumb or finger (this can cause bruising).
Once your avocado is ripe, store it in the fridge for a couple of days (refrigerating an avocado will slow down further ripening). Of course, you can also enjoy it immediately with your favorite toppings or toss it in your morning smoothie.
How to Cut an Avocado and Keep it Fresh
If you aren't using your freshly cut avocado immediately, you'll want to store them properly to keep them fresh after cutting. There are a few ways to do this.
Lemon or any citrus juice slows oxidation, so putting lemon juice on the avocado can be helpful. It just may change the taste a little bit. Storing your halved avocado face down on a plate will also help stop any oxidization.
Avocados Go With Almost Everything (Even Oatmeal!)
Now that you know how to cut an avocado, it's time to use them for more than dip for chips. Grill avocado with pineapple for a fresh summer salad, or make a sauce for tiger shrimp for another grilled meal. Instead of a run-of-the-mill chicken quesadilla, try one with smoked salmon and avocado – delicious! How about a why-did't-I-think-of-that Avocado Margarita? For breakfast, add avocado to your oatmeal, along with some cheese and a sunny-side-up egg. There's no need for toast with this meal-in-a-bowl.
This article was written by Samantha Lande from Better Homes and Gardens and was legally licensed through the DiveMarketplace by Industry Dive. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.