'Avocado Hand' is Latest Scourge to Hit U.S. Kitchens

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 13, 2017 11:09 PM GMT
    "The avocado might have amazing health benefits and seem harmless, but cutting one open could be pretty dangerous. Doctors have seen a rise in avocado-related injuries, according to a recent New York Times report.

    Medical professionals and hospitals in the United States don’t keep specific statistics on injuries but anecdotally, doctors are noticing an increase in injuries annually, according to the report.

    Here are some safety tips the California Avocado Commission is offering that might help you avoid the emergency room:

    Start with a ripe avocado on a cutting board and cut it lengthwise around the seed. They recommend cutting into the avocado until the knife hits the seed, then rotating the avocado with one hand while holding the knife horizontally in the other hand.

    Turn the avocado by a quarter, and cut it in half lengthwise again.

    Rotate the avocado halves in your hands and separate the quarters.[? - maybe should be "...and separate the halves] Remove the seed by pulling it out gently with your fingertips. [Sometimes I slightly squeeze the inverted half containing the seed and it falls out]

    Peel the fruit by sliding your thumb under the skin and peeling the skin back. [I have a special tool for that, neater than fingers, which can also remove the avocado in slices if you wish]

    Most importantly: keep those hands and fingers out the way!"

    [Actually I've been handling the knife exactly this way since I was a kid, but I guess some people are untutored]

    http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Avocado-Hand-is-Latest-Scourge-to-Hit-US-Kitchens-422170743.html#ixzz4h0EAPR00
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    May 14, 2017 2:31 PM GMT
    Sounds like a viral marketing effort by the avocado folks.
  • argus

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    May 14, 2017 2:50 PM GMT
    This reminds me of the rash of "bagel hand" cuts.
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    May 14, 2017 3:12 PM GMT
    argus said
    This reminds me of the rash of "bagel hand" cuts.

    In truth I found this kind of silly myself. To quote the immortal words of WH Press Secretary Sean Spicer: "The words speak for themselves."

    My feeling is that if you can't slice a soft avocado safely you don't belong in the kitchen. I wonder how the "avocado scourge" compares to the "carrot scourge"? And the chicken and meat scourge is becoming a true epidemic, our US ERs just packed with these cases. icon_rolleyes.gif

    And incidentally, you almost MUST slice an avocado lengthwise. Not because of safety, which this article implies, but because it's the best way to extract the insides. Plus sometimes I just eat it as-is with a spoon, the large seed depression making a perfect holder for an accompaniment, like maybe some mayonnaise.
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    May 14, 2017 3:25 PM GMT
    You just have to make sure they're ripe - which not only makes them edible, but easy to cut open. I'm sure most of the injuries come from people attempting to cut unripe ones.
  • roadbikeRob

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    May 14, 2017 3:31 PM GMT
    Ex_Mil8 saidYou just have to make sure they're ripe - which not only makes them edible, but easy to cut open. I'm sure most of the injuries come from people attempting to cut unripe ones.
    How can you tell that an avocado is ripeicon_question.gif
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    May 14, 2017 4:48 PM GMT
    roadbikeRob said

    Ex_Mil8 said
    You just have to make sure they're ripe - which not only makes them edible, but easy to cut open. I'm sure most of the injuries come from people attempting to cut unripe ones.

    How can you tell that an avocado is ripe icon_question.gif

    By thumb touch. A ripe one will depress slightly, whereas unripe will be hard. Overripe will depress too much and feel squishy. Of course it's a matter of acquiring the feel for it.

    Generally if you're buying a number from a store for staggered use over several days you want the harder ones, to ripen at home slowly. Refrigerating will delay ripening, while room temperature will speed it, usually just sitting out. Do not expose to direct sunlight. As you use one, take the next out to sit on the shelf.

    Of course if you're gonna use any soon, for a party or some recipe, try to get the most ripe at the store. A really hard avocado can take a few days to ripen.
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    May 14, 2017 11:18 PM GMT
    Ex_Mil8 said
    You just have to make sure they're ripe - which not only makes them edible, but easy to cut open. I'm sure most of the injuries come from people attempting to cut unripe ones.

    A good point. At the same time, I'm not sure that quartering uncooked potatoes, like for baking them rosemary style, or soup & stew boiling, or other ways, is any less difficult. An uncooked potato is pretty tough. I just did some a few weeks ago. And I'm not sure ERs are being inundated with a "potato hand" scourge.

    BTW, an unripe avocado if opened not only does not provide the average home cook with a lot of preparation options, it's also more difficult to ripen before proceeding. Like an apple it will tend to brown once the skin is opened due to air exposure.

    You can try wrapping it up but you're often not gonna be successful. Stores sell special plastic containers to preserve an unused avocado half, but with mixed results. Simply wait until it passes the squeeze test. And then it cuts easily, too, as you say.
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    May 15, 2017 11:27 AM GMT
    We don't eat avocados in this part of the world. You will get it in restaurants that serves Mexican food but otherwise people don't know here what avocados are generally. Rarely ever I see a very small quantity in grocery stores.

    Anyway, this doesn't look like a problem to me at all. A problem for the sake of it, a storm in a teacup.
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    May 16, 2017 1:41 AM GMT
    What's next, the mango apocalypse?
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    May 16, 2017 2:17 AM GMT
    eagermuscle said
    What's next, the mango apocalypse?

    LOL! Or mango mayhem?
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    May 16, 2017 2:42 AM GMT
    This topic is apparently getting a lot of US press exposure. I saw Martha Stewart on one of our US morning talk shows demonstrating the correct way to slice an avocado to avoid cuts. Now you know it's serious!

    Of course, in typical Martha Stewart fashion she added a few steps of her own. Including cradling the avocado in a towel. And then making a special hacking cut with the knife on the exposed seed, to wedge it free. That seemed more dangerous to me than merely opening the fruit. Incidentally, I usually apply a gentle squeezing motion on the half with the seed until it frees up enough to fall naturally into the trash.

    But still, if avocados are that dangerous, then what about cutting hard vegetables, as I mentioned earlier? Like uncooked potatoes & carrots? It certainly makes sense to be careful with sharp objects like knives, but why should avocados be getting all this attention?

    And while I know I started this thread, it was partly out of my bemusement. And to see what reaction there might be here. Actually it's been fairly interesting, with the usual blend of humor. Some of you guys never disappoint. Now if only those treacherous avocados could do likewise...
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    May 16, 2017 2:55 AM GMT
    I hold avocados in my bare hand as I slice them open with a 9" chef's knife; it's really not that difficult. The only thing in my kitchen trying to kill me is the mandoline, and I won't use it without wearing a cut resistant glove.

    As for buying and keeping avocados, I let them ripen out on the counter until they're just ripe enough to eat, and then I put them in the fridge. That way, I can buy half a dozen, and they stay perfect for a week.
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    May 16, 2017 3:32 AM GMT
    paradox said
    The only thing in my kitchen trying to kill me is the mandoline, and I won't use it without wearing a cut resistant glove.

    Yes, a friend of ours had to go to the ER when his mandolin almost cut off the tip of his thumb. He wore a big bandage wrap on it for a month.

    He admits it was his fault: he was pushing the vegetable with his bare hand, instead of with the pusher device that's provided. But that didn't dissuade my husband from still wanting one, too, so I got it.

    Even used it myself. I love mechanical devices, was fascinated to see how it was able to slice things such as carrots into small cubes, nice as a dinner side, not just into long cuts like for fries, or flat slices.

    In fact, you make me want to try it for something I was thinking about. After I watched a TV series over the weekend, "How It's Made", which explained how bagged potato chips are made on a factory production line, I wanted to try it at home.

    Because the same cooking principles apply to any potato chip, even at home, and I wondered what's the best way to make very thin potato slices. I thought about the various electric kitchen machines we have, and didn't think they'd slice thin enough. But I forgot about the mandolin. Thanks! icon_biggrin.gif
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    May 16, 2017 7:37 PM GMT
    I like avocados, but it's a controversial crop. try googling avocado+Chile+water theft. Plantations in Chile are drying out rivers and water reserves (illegally) because avocado production requires ridiculous amounts of water... To the extent that human rights are violated, because people don't have sufficient access to drinking water in certain regions n Chile.
    So don't eat chilean avocados
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    May 16, 2017 9:03 PM GMT
    judoguy said
    I like avocados, but it's a controversial crop. try googling avocado+Chile+water theft. Plantations in Chile are drying out rivers and water reserves (illegally) because avocado production requires ridiculous amounts of water... To the extent that human rights are violated, because people don't have sufficient access to drinking water in certain regions n Chile.
    So don't eat chilean avocados

    I think mine come from California. But sometimes difficult to know the source.
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    May 16, 2017 10:42 PM GMT
    No one ever showed me how to cut an avocado.

    Maybe I'm doing it wrong. I put it on a cutting board, hold one end with one hand, make a small cut in the flesh, re-sink my knife in it, and slowly rotate the avocado longitudinally in my hand without moving the knife, parsing it into two halves. The half that has the seed, I spoon the seed out. Then I spoon the entire avocado halves out of the shells, whole. Easy peasy.

    Want to avoid ER visits for kitchen knife cuts? Take my advice: hand wash your Ginzu knives, don't put them in the dishwasher, and only handle them one at a time. They're heavy, one dropped, and I almost lost the tip of a finger - it took quite a few stitches. THAT was idiotic.
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    May 16, 2017 10:55 PM GMT
    eagermuscle said
    No one ever showed me how to cut an avocado.

    Nor me. Usually I just cut one on a paper towel on the kitchen counter. I hate extra fuss and clean-up, for something so simple when I'm just having a snack for me.

    But I cut them pretty much as these guides say. It's kinda obvious. And I've been doing it for over 50 years. Haven't lost a finger yet, nor suffered a nick. It's so tragic that common sense evidently ceased around 1970.
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    May 20, 2017 10:59 AM GMT
    eagermuscle saidNo one ever showed me how to cut an avocado.

    Maybe I'm doing it wrong. I put it on a cutting board, hold one end with one hand, make a small cut in the flesh, re-sink my knife in it, and slowly rotate the avocado longitudinally in my hand without moving the knife, parsing it into two halves. The half that has the seed, I spoon the seed out. Then I spoon the entire avocado halves out of the shells, whole. Easy peasy.

    Want to avoid ER visits for kitchen knife cuts? Take my advice: hand wash your Ginzu knives, don't put them in the dishwasher, and only handle them one at a time. They're heavy, one dropped, and I almost lost the tip of a finger - it took quite a few stitches. THAT was idiotic.


    Yep. Once you've started cutting it longitudinally, don't take the knife out until it is cut all the way around, otherwise you'll lose your cutting line, which is very difficult to find again.
  • monet

    Posts: 1121

    May 20, 2017 11:08 PM GMT
    I think most of the injuries come from trying to whack the seed with a sharp knife in order to remove it (as AD described previously). I'm trying to get away from removing the seed this way.