Mar 19

How to: Prepare an Avocado


How to: Prepare an Avocado

Just when you thought you could sound the “all clear” horn after weekends of watching football, culminating in Superbowl Sunday, along comes March Madness, the NCAA college basketball tournament. If you are not familiar with this phenomenon, my two boys would be more than happy to educate you on the finer points of filling out a bracket, checking the status of your bracket online, and talking smack to other bracket aficionados. (Seriously, if I had a dollar for every time I heard the word “bracket” in the past week…)

For those of us who are sports lovers, it is an exciting tournament to watch – college “phenoms” battling it out to attain the glory that the championship brings. However, for those who care about March Madness as much as I care about what Lindsay Lohan wore to her last court appearance, this sporting event is just another excuse to cook and indulge in game day snacks. At the top of the heap, of course, is guacamole. If you are going to be making pounds of guacamole for the sports fans in your house, you will need to know how to quickly and efficiently prepare an avocado. How do you get the pit out and the skin off without mangling the tender fruit?

How to do it:

Place the knife on a cutting board and hold gently with one hand. Insert the knife at the base of the avocado and slowly rotate the avocado until it is cut all around the pit.

Holding gently with your fingertips, twist the top half of the avocado until it separates from the bottom half.

How to: Prepare an Avocado Collage 1

Carefully chop the heel of a chef’s knife into the avocado pit. Twist the pit until it comes loose. Remove and discard the pit.


Now, you can separate the fruit from the skin in one of two ways. Using the first method (left-hand photo), insert a small spoon between the fruit and the skin, gently working the skin away from the fruit. Carefully lift the fruit out of the skin.

In the second method (right-hand photo), hold the skin between your thumb and the flat side of the knife blade. Peel off the skin in strips. This works particularly well with an avocado that is slightly underripe. If the avocado is ripe, you will be cutting the skin away from the fruit, rather than peeling off the skin.

How to: Prepare an Avocado Collage 2

To prepare the avocado for dishes such as salads, sandwiches and wrapped Mexican dishes (i.e., burritos), cut the avocado in lengthwise slices. If you prefer chunks, or will be mashing the avocado into guacamole, cut the strips crosswise into cubes.

How to: Prepare an Avocado Collage 3

Recipes using avocado:

Cookin’ Canuck’s Poached Eggs on Toast with Chipotle Mayo, Bacon & Avocado
Cookin’ Canuck’s Spinach Salad with Chicken, Orange & Avocado
Cookin’ Canuck’s Spinach Salad with Persimmon, Jicama & Avocado, & Miso Dresing
Kalyn’s Kitchen’s Cucumber & Avocado Salad with Lime, Mint & Feta
What’s Gaby Cooking’s The Best Guacamole
The Perfect Pantry’s Shrimp & Avocado Quesadillas
Dine & Dish’s Avocado Fries

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Parsley Sage March 19, 2011 at 2:43 pm

This is so incredibly helpful! Do one for mangos next, please! :)


2 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) March 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm

I’m glad you find this helpful. Mangos are on my list!


3 claudia lamascolo/aka pegasuslegend March 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm

great job, this is such a wonderful site for intstructions now I love it! I always have but your really teaching us techniques and its so appreciated!


4 Kay, The Church Cook March 19, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Perfectly ripe avocado, perfectly prepped! :)


5 Katrina March 20, 2011 at 5:20 am

Great suggestion. I particularly like your instruction to slowly rotate the avocado until it is cut all around the pit. I will definitely do that next time!


6 Drick March 20, 2011 at 7:06 am

great photos and precise…. my biggest problem is thinking the avocados are ripe, they look it, feel it, but sometimes they just fool me…


7 Laura @ GotChocolate March 20, 2011 at 9:12 am

Yum! Now I want an avocado!


8 Amanda March 20, 2011 at 10:45 am

Guacamole, here I come! Great post!


9 Sukaina March 20, 2011 at 11:19 am

I’m loving the how to series Dara! Great job :) And I totally agree with another commenter that you should do mangoes next!


10 Sanjeeta kk March 20, 2011 at 11:32 am

You made it look all simple!


11 Amanda March 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Beautifully demonstrated!! You make it look easy! 😉


12 Linda Makiej March 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Thank you for making this sound and look so easy!!


13 Ethan March 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Nothing better than pulling the avocado apart, it’s a little surprise each time!
Great step-by-step:)


14 Elyse @The Cultural Dish March 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Thanks for sharing this! I love using avocado’s, especially for making a delicious avocado salad!


15 Marla March 20, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Dara, this is an essential skill over here. We love avocados. I have the technique down fairly well these days. The one you won’t see me trying is peeling back the skin with a big chefs knife 😉 xo


16 Eva March 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Very nice step by step how to. I always have a hard time handling avocados because once some of the flesh gets on my fingers everything becomes slippery and cutting it into neat little slices can get…messy. Next time I will follow these instructions to avoid any difficulties :)


17 Belinda @zomppa March 20, 2011 at 7:13 pm

It is a busy time of year, eh? Thanks for the wonderful step by step photos!


18 Nancy@acommunaltable March 20, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Very good demo on avocados!!! I have never had success using a spoon so I always end up using a paring knife or, if I am lucky, being able to peel off the skin with my fingers!


19 Sara @CaffeIna March 20, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Great post! I love avocado so these tips will turn out useful very soon.


20 Mary at n00bcakes March 21, 2011 at 7:18 am

Great straight forward how-to on preparing avocados. I love guacamole and easily getting the fruit free of the skin is always top priority.


21 Eugene @ Food and Scent March 21, 2011 at 8:54 am

You can tell a good cook from the knife she’s using!


22 Mike March 21, 2011 at 10:22 am

Hi, Dara. I’ve been following Cookin’ Canuck for several months and enoy it very much.

We eat a lot of avocados and if I’m going to be slicing them, I frequently find it easier to peel them after I slice them. Thanks for the tip about using the heel of the knife to remove the pit. I’ll definitely try that right away. I usually use the point, which can get messy or scary or both.


23 A Canadian Foodie March 21, 2011 at 10:31 am

You are creating a very straightforward, simple and much needed database for young inexperienced and beginning cooks to refer to. Bravo! I know from being in the classroom with my students that these kinds of tutorials will be invaluable to so many!


24 Victoria March 21, 2011 at 11:58 am

Great tutorial! Somehow I had managed to come up with most of these steps on my own, but getting the pit out with the knife is brilliant… I usually just hack it out with the spoon which doesn’t usually matter with guacamole, but next time I need to make a prettier presentation I will definitely try that trick!

(I also second (or third) a mango tutorial… my fingers have had so many near-misses trying to prepare those suckers, they will thank you for it!!)


25 ceecee March 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Great instructions Dara. I usually just divide the avacado in half, de-pit and then make horizontal and vertical cuts into the avocado (not through the skin), and then scoop it out with a spoon.


26 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) March 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Ceecee, that method works too. Do whatever is easiest for you – slicing before or after scooping.


27 Kristi Rimkus March 21, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Great demonstration. We are big avocado fans in this house. It’s such a healthy fat with great flavor.



28 Jenny Flake March 25, 2011 at 8:28 am

Love these tutorials Dara! ….I have an obsession with avocados :) Happy Friday!


29 Amanda March 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Love this! I am bookmarking this page… Can’t wait to try all these avocado recipes! :)


30 Tamara March 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm

To make it just a little easier, score the half of the avocado into squares the same way you do in your mango post and then spoon out the half. The pieces will come out already in cubes with no mess.


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