Tools To Avoid “Avocado Hand”
By Greg Gonzales
Some people like avocados, others love avocados… and then there’s me. Avocados tremble before me. I slice them up for turkey sandwiches, salads, occasional smoothies and even peanut butter sandwiches. Luckily, I wasn’t involved in the swath of stories that spread across the nation about the influx of emergency room patients with the dreaded “avocado hand,” the common name for a number of knife injuries connected to poor avocado cutting protocol. I know my way around a knife enough to slice up avocados and not hurt myself. Not everyone does, however — especially new home cooks and kids — so gadget innovators got to making avocado-specific tools that are safer and easier to use for less experienced cooks. In general form, avocado tools are multi-function, and feature a handle, a scooper with blades to make uniform cuts while scraping the meat out and a sharp edge for splitting the skin. Over the course of a month, I went through even more avocados than usual to test out three standout avocado tools for ease of use, safety, durability and best applications.
The easiest tool for me to use was the OXO 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer. It’s a plastic tool with a rubber grip, scooper, slicer, knife, and my favorite part, the stainless steel pitter. The three steel teeth grip pits with a light press, and pull them out with a quick twist. The knife end is made of plastic, and while sharp, isn’t likely to pierce skin with even minimal attention to the task. The $9.99 tool is compact, so it easily fits in a drawer, but a hook hole allows for hanging on racks, too. For more information, visit www.oxo.com.
My favorite pick for kids was the Kuhn Rikon 5-in-1 Avocado Tool. The $5 entire tool is made of a solid piece of plastic, with no sharp edges — I made a scientific effort to check safety, dragging each edge across my arm with just a little force, and found none of them even left a scratch. On top of safety, this simple-looking tool features five functions: pit, cut, slice, scoop and mash. The masher end looks like a spoon with holes in it, which made quick work of avocados destined for the guacamole bowl. The serrated edge on the masher end was thick enough to prevent cuts, but sharp enough to get through the skin without much effort; all I had to do was saw a bit, and the edge sunk right in. Pitting was a cinch as well, with a circle of little teeth on the handle that required a light push and twist. More information can be found at www.kuhnrikon.com.
For cooks who prefer steel over plastic, whether for sharpness or durability, the Crisp Avocado Tool is the way to go. It features steel wire slicer, and a foldaway stainless steel knife that folds back into the soft-touch handle for safety and storage. The half of the knife closest to the handle is wavy, so it also functions as a pitter. However, unlike the plastic knives, this one is sharp enough to slice hands, so I still made sure to be careful with it when the blade was flipped out. The frame around the avocado-shaped slicer is slightly sharp, but not razor sharp, just enough to cut the meat closest to the skin just like butter. It’s dishwasher safe, and easily hand-washes. It’s available for $14.99 at www.crispcooking.com.