Ain’t nothing quite like a perfect California-grown avocado. But we’re not all Cali-born and bred and we’ve gotta be honest—avocado prep is a learned skill. We believe that there is one best way to cut, peel, and prep an avocado and we’re here to make sure you know it. Whether you’re making avocado rice for our Smoked Salmon Sushi Bowl, whipping up some Avocado Toast Salad, or getting ready to make your very own top secret guacamole recipe, here’s the definitive guide to avocado basics: how to cut, peel, and prep an avocado.
Like all great lessons, our avocado basics begins at the grocery store. Think about when you want to use your avocados when you’re buying. If you aren’t planning on using them for a few days, go for something firmer.
You can judge the ripeness of an avocado by how soft it is. Those rock hard babies are not even close to ready. When picking out an avocado, gently press your thumb into its side. You want that puppy pretty soft, but you should still notice some resistance. If your thumb smushes into the side way too easily, the avocado is overripe and not up to your taste standards.
You can also check out the little brown spot where the avocado stem used to be. If the avocado is ripe, you should be able to pull this spot off easily and you’ll be able to see a nice, bright green color.
Alright, our grocery shopping availability does not always align perfectly with our cooking schedules, right? We’ve got a couple ways to bridge the gap in timing when your avocado-ripeness-schedule is off or the grocery store simply didn’t have ripe enough options to offer. Storage is key in bridging the ripeness gap.
If you’ve got an underripe avocado and want to expedite the ripening process, roll that baby up in a paper bag to get things moving. You can also store your avocado next to a ripe banana or toss a ripe banana in the paper bag you’re using to ripen your avocado. Produce is cute in that ripe and underripe fruits will sometimes talk to each other and encourage each other to hop on board with getting softer. Don’t quote that to a food scientist any time soon, but you get the idea.
That said, if you’ve got an avocado that you’re trying to save for later, be aware of what you put it next to. Keep it away from ripe banana type pals in order to keep it as firm as you can for as long as you can.
If you’ve got that Goldilocks style just-right ripeness going, you can also put your avocado in the fridge to help stop (or at least slow) the ripening process and maintain the avocado’s ripeness where it’s at.
cutting an avocado
So you’ve got a ripe avocado. What’s next? Let’s crack that baby open.
To cut your avocado, first remove the little brown stem spot and toss it, just to get it out of the way. Cut into the avocado vertically—your knife will hit the pit. Once you’ve hit the pit, simply rotate your avocado along the knife until it meets your initial cut. This’ll ensure that you’ve got two perfect halves. Give it a twist and voilá!
pitting an avocado
This is an avocado basic that has proven to be not-so-basic. We’ve got to stress the importance of pitting an avocado correctly as we’ve learned there’s a real safety issue at hand (couldn’t help it). We’ve heard sketchy tales of the dreaded “avocado hand” aka people slicing their hands and thumbs when trying to remove avocado pits. We LOVE us some good kitchen safety so let’s pay close attention here.
Something super important in general and in avocado-pitting is to have a sharp knife. Sharp knife, happy life as the old saying goes.
an absolute don’t
- For the love of good food, please never stab your avocado with the tip of your knife. We don’t care how small or dull your knife is—your control is low with that kind of angle and if you miss it, you’re going straight into your precious palm. Protect the hands, people. You use them a lot.
a definite do
- Hold the avocado securely in one hand.
- Tap your knife edge into the pit. You shouldn’t have to use too much force here. A sharp knife is key!
- Give it a twist. If the avocado is ripe enough, that pit will pop right out.
- Dispose of your pit. Gently and carefully give the pit a little squeeze or nudge off the side of your knife. It shouldn’t take too much strength—be sure to move mindfully here so you don’t overdo it and knick your thumb on the knife’s edge.
If you’re having trouble removing the pit because your avocado isn’t ripe enough or your knife isn’t sharp enough, we’ve got an alternate method for you. Carefully cut your two halves into halves again with the same kind of cut you initially made. That’ll give you one avocado in four quarters, resulting in an easy pit removal as you pull each quarter off.
peeling an avocado (and why you should)
Any first-timers here when it comes to peeling an avocado? Plenty of people scoop their avocado out of the peel with a spoon once it’s pitted, but we’re pro-peel all the way. Avocados are most nutrient-dense at the very outer edge of the fruit, right next to the peel. When you spoon it out, you’re usually losing at least a portion of those precious nutrients.
To get the most nutrients out of your avocado, gently wedge your thumb between the meat and the peel to get some space going. From there, strip the outer peel away gently. The riper your avocado, the easier this process will be.
kinds of cuts
There are so many ways to enjoy an avocado and the cut is key for any of them.
- Place your avocado flat side down on the cutting board.
- Cut your avocado longways.
- Then cut perpendicular to those initial cuts, making a checkerboard-looking pattern.
This method is especially helpful when your avocados are a little underripe and you need to mash them up for something like guacamole.
avocado: oblique or jewel cut (aka bite-sized chunks
- With your avocado in longways quarters, put your knife at a slight angle.
- Make your first cut at this diagonal angle, then rotate your avocado.
- Continue in this same pattern: cut and rotate, cut and rotate.
These bite-sized chunks are perfect for putting in salad or making an avocado-based salad.
last, but not least
The most important step of all: EAT ‘EM! And enjoy. You’re an avocado expert now. You deserve it.