How To: Avocado Prep


Prepped Avocado


My dad started dating a woman named Laurie about two years ago.  She’s sharp and successful and a joy to be around—and she keeps him in check, since I’m too far away to do that anymore.  They’re great together.  Over the past couple years she’s introduced him to many of the things that she loves, which have become things that he now loves as well: weekends at the cabin, Caribbean cruises, cats (Monumental this, since he despised the creatures back when I was a kitty-crazy little girl and all I wanted in the world was to have half a million of the things to snuggle and love forever and always.  Now, as an adult, I am severely allergic to them and need to load up on Zyrtec before visiting any house that a cat has even looked at in the past ten years.  There’s some sort of irony or something in that, right?  But I digress….), and avocados.

During a phone call sometime last year he told me all about avocados.  About how much Laurie loves them and how much he loves them and about how he bought one to slice up for a salad or something.  He then proceeded to tell me about how he attempted to get into the thing.  If memory serves, it involved a vegetable peeler(!) and consequently hacking the flesh away from the pit.  I bit my tongue and let him describe it then, cringing, much as I’m cringing now reimagining it.  Once he finished, I very gently told him that there is a far, far easier way to prep an avocado.

Which got me thinking: not everybody has spent an obscene amount of hours watching the Food Network like I have.  I know so many basic cooking-related tips and tricks as a result of both that and my time in the kitchen—why not put some of it up here?  I have no illusions about being an authority or the only/best resource for this type of information, but if someone that doesn’t watch cooking television shows up here and consequently never touches a vegetable peeler to an avocado?  I’d say such a post will have been well worth publishing.

So, this hereby marks the beginning of a new series of how-to posts on GF in the City.  I have a couple more in mind and will continue to keep my eyes open for things worth explaining, but if you have any ideas for something you’d like to see here, in step-by-step photos, please let me know.

On to the avocados!



Start with a ripe avocado.  You don’t have to squeeze hard to find one–please don’t actually–but when you apply light pressure to the fruit with your fingers, it should give just slightly.  Do not select one that feels soft. Conversely, if it feels like a rock, either pass it over or plan to leave it out on the counter for a couple days to ripen.


Avocado & Lime

Avocados are one of those fruits that tend to oxidize and turn brown quickly.  Choose something acidic to counteract this.  Lime juice is a popular pairing with avocados (read: guacamole), but you could also use lemon juice or a bit of vinegar depending on how you intend to use it.


Sliced Lime

Have your acid standing at the ready.  For me, this means slicing my lime in half so it’s ready to juice.


Halve Avocado 1 Halve Avocado 2

Now, take your avocado and use a sharp knife to slice it in half vertically.  I do this by sticking the blade in one side of the avocado and running it around the vertical circumference–remember you have that big pit in the middle to work around.


Twist Avocado

Once you’ve sliced all the way around the fruit, grab each half and twist it–like an Oreo.  Discard the little nub from the stem.


Halved Avocado

One half will come loose from the pit and you’ll be able to pull it apart easily.


Stand Up Avocado Half

Set the pitted half aside, cut-side-down to keep it from going brown.  Now, take the half that still has the pit in it and set it up on it’s side.


Tuck Your Fingers

Except, tuck your fingers in.  The knife is coming back into play.


Stick Pit With Knife

Strike the pit with the butt of your knife blade so that it sticks in.  Do not raise your knife above your head and bring it down forcefully, like a psychopath.  Simply position it a couple inches above the pit and give it a firm thwack.  You’re putting, not driving.  (I think.  Right? Or maybe people who don’t play golf should just refrain from making golf-related metaphors….)


Remove Pit

Using the knife as a sort of lever, pull the pit apart from the avocado.  It may even practically fall out.  If your avocado isn’t ripe, though, you’ll have a very difficult time with this and I’ll have to refer you back to the first step: “Start with a ripe avocado.”


Grab Spoon

Now that the pit is out, grab a large spoon.


Scoop Avocado

Insert the edge of that spoon between the skin and the flesh of the avocado.


Scooped Avocado

Run the spoon under and around the flesh, keeping it close to the skin, and scoop out the entire flesh in one piece.


Slice Avocado

From here, you can take your knife and slice the avocado.  Sliced avocado looks pretty arranged on top of salads, is great for sandwiches or for sprinkling with salt and snacking, straight up.


Dice Avocado

If you want chunks of avocado, turn your slices 90 degrees and go through them again with your knife.  Diced avocado is good for salads, tacos, as a garnish on chili or soup, or as a prep step before mashing them up for guacamole.

And in case it wasn’t obvious, repeat the scoop and slice/dice procedure with the other half of the avocado.


Lime Half

Once you’ve either sliced or diced your avocado, take your lime (or your acidic element of choice)…


Squeeze Lime

…and squeeze….


Lime Juice

…the juice down over the top of your avocado.


Prepped Avocado

Toss or gently rub it around a bit to make sure it’s well-coated and use as desired.


An extra tip: Avocados are best prepped immediately prior to use due to their tendency to brown.  This is why most good Mexican restaurants make their guac to order.  Also, I’ve personally noticed that avocado stays bright longer if left at room temperature; for some reason a couple minutes in the fridge will make it turn.


  1. Kelly said...

    I love your description of this! If you don’t mind my adding my two cents: Once I have it pitted, I like to take a sharp paring knife and run it through the flesh in both directions before spooning it out. It comes out already sliced or diced that way, and the spooning (?) is much easier.

    • Britt said...

      Of course I don’t mind! That’s another perfectly great way to go about it. I’ve also seen people position a cooling rack (one that looks like a grid) above a bowl and push the pitted half of the avocado straight through the rack. Instant dice!

  2. Stephanie said...

    I love avocados! If I come across an avocado that’s not quite ripe enough for guac or a salad, I’ll keep the skin and pit on, douse the cut parts in lime juice, then save it in the fridge for a green smoothie! Such a creamy addition.

    I enjoyed your golf metaphor, even though I’m far from a golfer myself :)

  3. Dad said...

    Taking this trip down memory lane with you and revisiting my first attempt to break into the elusive avocado makes me smile. I may have forgotten to mention that the avocado I had chosen to brutalize was also not yet ripened to an edible level. So the grotesque little chunks that I carved away from the pit with a paring knife after skinning the poor little thing with a vegetable peeler were also quite crunchy and hardly the delicious complement to our dinner salads I was hoping for. Armed with proper knowledge regarding ripeness from my wonderful Laurie and your expert instruction on preparing them, my relationship with the avocado is full of enjoyment rather than frustration. I love the new blog, and as always, I love you very much too!

  4. Jake Easley said...

    To avoid browning, in the fridge or on the counter, next time try placing the pit inside your container. So, if you make a bowl of delicious guacamole, just drop the pit right in the center of the bowl for hours (or days) of greener avocado. It works! But it’s not the most attractive thing, so rinse it off good in cold water first.

  5. Nicole said...

    Avocados are, in my humble opinion, the fruit of the gods. They are DEE-LISH. I can’t believe I refused to even try them until just a year or two ago. What was I thinking?! Now, I’m eating them up as fast as I can (I have a lot of lost time to make-up).

    By the way, I love your Dad. His comment is so sweet and I can tell you’re a daddy’s girl, just like me! I love your comment about golf, too. My dad taught at an early age and my clubs paid my way through college – thanks Dad!

    So glad I found your blog through Foodgawker, I’ll be sure to stop by often.

    Happy eating (and blogging)!!!!

  6. Nicole said...

    My sister used to work at a sandwich shop and they used a spatula to remove the avo skins! I have her do it even though she hates avocados since I love them. :D

  7. Samantha said...

    I have never heard of using a peeler to prepare an avocado! Though I do live in San Diego so the phrase “elusive avocado” is not a common one. I feel like I was born knowing how to cut an avocado! How common are avocados on the east coast?

  8. Britt said...

    Samantha–I’d never heard of it either…until my dad told me he did it. ;) They’re pretty common out here (definitely not “local”), but I grew up in WI/MN and can say pretty certainly that I’d never eaten one until I moved east. Heck, back in the midwest, even arugula seems exotic to much of my family!

  9. Hannelore Lundi said...

    After reading this, I get hungry for avocados. Thanks for the useful info, how about you drop by and give me a few tips, would apreciate it.

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