Removing the pit from an avocado is one of those supposedly "easy" food prep tasks that we think could actually use a little explaining. How do you hold the avocado still? Do you have to use a chef's knife? How do you keep from cutting yourself? If you've never done it before, all of this can definitely feel a bit scary! Well, here's a close look at how we do it so the next time you're faced with an avocado, you know exactly what to do.
The basic method for removing an avocado pit involves whacking a chef's knife into the exposed pit of the avocado, which is nestled in your other hand. I've done this several hundred times in my life and I can reassure you that I've never drawn so much as one drop of blood in the act. Yes, you need to be careful and steady, but with just a few additional pointers, you'll be a pro in no time.
Best Practices for Removing an Avocado Pit
1. Use a chef's knife. You'll need the heft and proportions of a chefs knife to penetrate the pit. A thin paring knife is too wobbly and will likely slide off, creating the danger of cutting yourself.
2. Grip your knife correctly (see above). Pinch the blade of the knife just in front of the handle between your thumb and first finger, then curl your fingers around the handle. This will give you maximum control over the knife.
3. Protect your hand with a hot pad or folded dishtowel. As an extra precaution, hold the avocado half using a hot pad or dishtowel to protect your hand. When you get more confident, you can do away with this padding if you like.
4. Control your thwack. Start with the knife about 8 inches above the pit and strike down with a quick, steady hit. Aim to hit the avocado close to the heel of your knife — this is where you have the most control over the movement.
Place a tea towel or hot pad in your non-dominate hand and place the avocado with pit on top of it. Holding the knife about 8" above the avocado, give it a firm thwack with the lower part of the knife.
How To Remove the Pit from an Avocado
What You Need
A ripe avocado
- Cut the avocado in half from tip to bottom: Holding the avocado in your non-dominate hand and your knife in your dominate hand, cut into the avocado and slice lengthwise from tip to bottom (as opposed to around the equator). Slice until the knife until it hits the pit, then use the pit as a guide to run your knife completely around the avocado, cutting it in two.
- Twist and open: Set the knife down and separate the two halves by twisting them in opposite directions. You will feel one half of the avocado release from the pit.
- Protect your hand: Hold the avocado half with the pit in your non-dominate hand, using a hot pad or folded dishtowel to protect your hand. As you gain confidence, you can do away with the dishtowel if you like!
- Whack the pit with the knife: Hold your knife about 8 inches above the pit, then firmly whack the avocado pit close to the heel of the knife blade. Don't be timid here — a gentle tap won't do it. Use enough force to embed your knife in the pit.
- Twist the pit with the knife: With the knife still firmly embedded in the avocado, give it a little twist to loosen it and lift it from the avocado half.
- Dislodge the pit: To remove the pit from the knife, push it off the blade with your thumb. It should just slide right off.
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(Image credits: Dana Velden)