Rise in number of people suffering 'avocado hand'

The practice of incorrectly slicing the fruit is leaving many with injuries

Rise in number of people suffering 'avocado hand'

[Flickr/Hannah Queen]

Ah, the humble avocado - the cornerstone of many a bowl of guacamole, the foundation of countless brunches globally.

The lumpy green-skinned fruit, with its healthy mono-saturated fat, would previously have ranked as one of the least harmful food stuffs on the pyramid - until recently.

As its popularity as an ingredient as increased, so to have injuries related to slicing it - a condition which medical professionals have christened 'avocado hand'.

The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons has reported that there has been a significant rise in the number of people presenting with "serious stab and slash injuries" after attempting to cut the fruit.

The organisation has reported that in many cases, patients require further surgery to repair severed tendons and nerves as well as cosmetic procedures to improve aesthetics.

Speaking to the publication, Simon Eccles, secretary of the association, said: "People do not anticipate that the avocados they buy can be very ripe and there is minimal understanding of how to handle them.

"We don’t want to put people off the fruit but I think warning labels are an effective way of dealing with this. It needs to be recognisable. Perhaps we could have a cartoon picture of an avocado with a knife, and a big red cross going through it?"

The doctor reports that up to four patients each week present to A&E in St Thomas' Hospital in London with wounds caused by an avocado accident, and staff have dubbed the injury 'avocado hand'.

How to remove 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: 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

If you're still not sure, Jamie Oliver's gone to the trouble of recording his easy instructional video for you.