/ Food & Drink

Update: avocado hand – should the fruit come with a warning sticker?


You’d have thought we’d know how to cut an avocado by now, but for some, getting one of their five-a-day can result in them losing a finger. Surely we don’t need warning stickers on our fruit… Or do we?

It’s Sunday, 11am, and I’m sat in one of my favourite south London eateries with my girlfriend. As we excitedly scan the brunch menu (yes, I’m one of those – don’t worry, it gets worse), me sipping my almond flat white (told you), my other half places her order. ‘I’ll have the smashed avocado on rye bread.’ (she’s just as bad).

Yum! I had the shakshuka, in case you were wondering.

Far from simply treating my partner to a fancy mid-morning meal, by leaving the house and having a professional prepare us some food, it actually turns out I’m protecting us both from inflicting a horrendous injury on ourselves.

Gone are the days when brunch was seen as a delicacy reserved for the metropolitan elite. Today, it’s a case of self-preservation.

It’s been a week and a half since a number of A&E departments reported a trend in brunch-related injuries; specifically in the preparation of avocado – the breakfast fruit favourite of city folk. Unfortunately, it seems they aren’t capable of safely cutting and destoning it themselves.

Avocado hand

The epidemic, being labelled ‘avocado hand’, has prompted health professionals having to treat the walking wounded – and hungry – to suggest the issuing of safety warnings.

Simon Eccles, honorary secretary of British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (Bapras) said: ‘There is minimal understanding of how to handle them. Perhaps we could have a cartoon picture of an avocado with a knife, and a big red cross going through it?’

Is this the world gone mad? Perhaps it’s something those brave enough to make avocado and poached eggs should seriously consider before picking up a knife.

Would you pay any attention to a warning sticker on an avocado? Do you have any battle scars where you’ve managed to accidentally impale yourself on a kitchen utensil?

Before signing off, and in an attempt to keep our community safe from the mouthwatering menace that is avocado, we wanted to share our tips for destoning and enjoying avocados safely.

Tip 1 Scoop out the stone with a spoon.

Tip 2 Hack down onto the stone with a knife so the middle of the blade (not the tip) just penetrates the surface, then twist to remove.

Tip 3 Invest in an avocado tool (yes, there really are such things – Google it!).

Update: 8 December 2017

Marks & Spencer may just have solved the problem of ‘avocado hand’, if only for Christmas, by launching stoneless avocados.

The supermarket’s new ‘cocktail avocados’, which will only be on sale in December, come without the perilous stone and can be eaten skin and all, so you don’t even have to peel them. If that doesn’t appeal, you can simply cut off one end and squeeze out the flesh.

Grown in Spain and measuring just 5-8cm in length, the groundbreaking fruit is the result of an unpollinated avocado blossom, which develops without the seed.


I don’t do well with blood and even talking about it makes me uncomfortable. I take great care with knives and other sharp tools and honestly cannot remember the last time I cut myself. My approach is to cut round the avocado, twist it apart and cut the half with the seed into two, making it easy to remove.

Here is a video showing a tool that does not have a sharp knife. No doubt other brands are available. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYxFkS-DjyY


I don’t use a knife for de-stoning. I prefer holding the avocado half – with the stone facing downwards to let gravity help me out – and gently squeezing the skin. The stone then pops out from underneath – usually, very easily and taking little of the flesh with it! No risk of bloody hands in the process either…


Good tip @melmassey! I’m guilty of the knife ‘trick’… I’ve not yet caused myself any harm from this, but will give the gravity method a go. I’ve also seen people use a tea spoon to get the stone out.

Incidentally, I’ve nearly taken a finger off when chopping parsnips – all down to a blunt knife, it’s really important to have a sharp knife that can actually cut and not slip off the veg you’re chopping!


Parsnips, eh? I’ll add those to the list…


I’m disappointed that Betterware does not currently offer a safety parsnip cutter but they do have a sock organiser and a toilet bowl light.


I laughed out loud when reading that, Wavechange. This is the problem with trying to live in an age of austerity – what not to buy next. I neglected to open the last Betterware catalogue so missed these opportunities; the agent was most miffed when he called to collect the orders that the catalogue was pristine and the order form vacant. Perhaps next time.


Wavechange – Without wishing to go too far off topic, or over the edge even, permit me to enquire into the purpose of a ‘toilet bowl light’. And, once again, I need to know if it has a motion sensor.


Thinking of the Japanese electronic public toilets with music to drown out “noises ” John ? but a set time is allowed and the door swung open I never heard if they changed that. Yes it was filled with sensors I cant remember them all, I think an automatic bidet was included.