How to Peel an Avocado

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If you need to peel an avocado for some guacamole or a Cobb salad, you can do so with the tools you already have in your kitchen, and without making a big mess. Avocados may be fattening, but the kind of fat -- monounsaturated -- is actually healthy for you as it can lower cholesterol.

Things You'll Need

  • Avocado
  • Knife: paring, tomato or santoku knife
  • Soup spoon or butter knife
  • Choose a ripe avocado. The first clue is the color -- most avocados in the grocery store are the Hass variety, and those will be very dark green (almost black) and wrinkly when ripe. The best test, however, is to squeeze the avocado. It should "give" a little to the pressure of your hand. If it squishes rather than gives, it's overripe, and if it doesn't give at all, it's not ripe enough. If you need to ripen avocados, just place them in a paper bag and leave the bag on the kitchen counter for a couple of days. If you really need it to ripen fast, it's been said that placing an apple into the bag with the avocado will help.

  • Slice the avocado in half with a paring knife and separate the halves. Carefully slice the avocado lengthwise, all the way around. You'll know when you've sliced through, because the pit will stop the blade of your knife. Then hold each half of the avocado in the palm of each hand and very gently twist them in opposite directions. The fruit is soft and smooth and will separate easily.

  • Remove the pit. There are a couple of ways to do this without making a mess of the fruit it is lodged in. The safer way is to use a soup spoon to gently pry the pit away from the fruit. Another way is to use leverage by way of the knife. Tap the avocado pit with the blade of the knife. It doesn't take much force for the knife to firmly lodge in the pit (in fact, if you use too much force, you're likely to splatter yourself with avocado pulp). Twist the knife handle slightly and lift. The pit should come away clean, stuck to the blade of the knife.

  • Separate the avocado fruit from the skin. This can easily be accomplished with the soup spoon. Simply wedge the spoon between the fruit and the skin at the top of the avocado, and pry the fruit away, sliding the spoon along as you go. If you need sliced or diced avocado instead of mashed, try using a butter knife instead of a soup spoon. Slice the fruit with the butter knife while it is still attached to the skin, then use the same implement to pry the slices away from the skin.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pitting and slicing the avocado can be made even easier with a specialized tool that can be found at cookware websites. However, at over $10 to upwards of $20 this item, usually called an Avocado Pitter or Slicer, is a bit spendy for a tool that is pretty much dedicated to only one task.
  • When slicing the avocado in half, be careful with your hands. The easiest way to grip the avocado for slicing is to lay the avocado in the palm of one hand. If you do this, place a folded kitchen towel in your palm to protect yourself. Another common method is to hold the avocado against a flat surface while gripping one half with your fingertips. If you use this second method, go slowly to maintain awareness of where your fingers are in relation to the blade of your knife.

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  • Photo Credit Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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