Monday, August 9, 2010

Avocados...The Deadliest and Healthiest Food in the Kitchen

I had an unfortunate "avocado pitting accident" over the weekend.  In retrospect, I deserved the knife in my hand and am quite lucky that I escaped serious injury.  I was holding half an avocado and tried to stab the tip of a Cutco knife into the seed.  Instead, the knife slipped off the seed and went through the flesh of both the avocado and the palm of my hand.  (For future reference, a cold compress and vodka drink seemed to ease the pain...followed by antibacterial ointment and a tight bandage).   

But with injury, comes opportunity!  Here are some interesting facts that I just dug up about avocados ranging from the dangers to the nutritional benefits:

  • A Hand to Shoulder medical center in Nevada has deemed avocados the most dangerous food in the kitchen.  They perform at least one surgery a month to correct nerve and tendon damage in hands due to avocado-related lacerations.  
  • In 2006, the last year for which there are national statistics, about 10.6% of emergency room visits were due to injuries of the hand, wrist, or fingers.  However, only 1.6% of visits were due to lacerations or cuts.  It's not clear how many of these were avocado-related.
  • Like tomatoes, avocados are considered a fruit in the botanical world.  
  • The majority of avocados are grown in Mexico and California.
  • Avocados are also called alligator pears because they look like a pear but with rough, scaley skin.  Boy, the person that came up with that is brilliant.  I don't understand why that name hasn't caught on?     
  • An average avocado has 250 calories, of which about 80% are fat (mostly monounsaturated fat...the good kind).
  • An avocado has more potassium than a banana.  Maybe one day the post-race tables at sporting events will be filled with avocados versus bananas???
  • In April, I watched Jillian, the militant trainer on The Biggest Loser, tell the audience of The Today Show that avocados can prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and pretty much every other lifestyle-related disease.  That is pretty impressive for an alligator pear!  In reality, avocados are a smart nutrition choice that contain lots of nutrients and good stuff...some would say they are one of nature's most perfect foods.  In a petri-dish, avocado extracts do seem to slow the growth of cancer cells, but that is not very strong evidence that avocados prevent cancer.  And replacing bad fats (saturated and trans fats) with good fats (unsaturated fats) has been shown to lower cholesterol.  At the end of the day, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is known to reduce your risk for all of those nasty diseases so bring on the alligator pears!  Just take out the pit with a spoon, as demonstrated here.   


  1. Never heard of using the tip of knife to remove an avocado stone... interesting technique. Safer method is to hit with the blade, like you are attempting to cleaver it. With a bit of luck blade sticks in stone, you twist and stone emerges on the knife blade.

  2. YIKES!!!! I agree w/ Feebee better method :)

  3. Agree w/Feebee too. Makes me feel like a professional chef. Do you know that if you put the pit into your bowl of quacamole, it won't turn brown? May be an old wives tale, but it seems to work.

  4. All such great advice! Thanks much. I'm going to test the pit in the guac...a perfect home experiment for nerds like me. Thanks for the inspiration Joanne!

  5. Pit in guacamole is true!!! Have tried it and it works.

    Also, wanted to warn you about bagels. Another hazardous food item. Who knew.