The dangers of avocado: how to safely slice this summer
As the temperatures rise and minds wander to poolside guacamole and fresh avocado toast, it's important to be aware of the trending condition sending many avo-lovers to the hospital -- avocado hand.
Dr. Leon Benson, a hand surgeon at NorthShore University HealthSystem and Illinois Bone & Joint Institute, has treated a number of patients for serious injuries sustained while cutting and removing the pit of an avocado; including torn tendons and hands that have been impaled by sharp knives.
If you're an avo-lover, take warning. Even celebrities like Joy Behar and Meryl Streep have fallen victim to avocado hand. It's important to know how to properly hold and cut an avocado so you don't get injured by this supermarket booby trap. Below, Dr. Benson outlines his top tips for how to safely slice avocados.
Use a spoon instead of a knife -- The root of the problem is the avocado pit. A lot of people see professional chefs on TV remove the pit by holding the avocado in their hand and whacking the pit with a butcher knife. While you may think this is the correct way to remove the pit, this is actually incredibly dangerous. Keep in mind that the people you see on TV are professionals, and have been trained to handle sharp knives properly. A spoon can do the job just as well. Simply slip your spoon under the pit and scoop it out.
General knife safety
Never hold the object being cut in your other hand -- If you need to use a knife in the kitchen, do not hold the object in your other hand. Place it on a cutting board. Holding it in your hand puts you at serious risk because the knife can strike your hand or wrist.
Always cut away from yourself -- If you're slicing the contents of the avocado after cutting it in half, always start on the end closest to your body, and continue moving the knife away from your body as you slice. This practice will help ensure the knife doesn't come in contact with your hand or fingers.
Use the right knife for the job -- A large butcher knife is not that knife. Despite what you might see chefs using on TV, it is much safer and easier to use a smaller but sharp knife.