Thursday, July 30, 2009

peel an avocado...from the inside out

Here is my first tutorial, and it happens to be on avocado peeling. Which, in reality, occurs more from the inside-out rather than the outside-in, as you would be lead to believe by the term 'peeling'. Regardless, our finished product is the flesh of the fruit without a pit or peel. This is a great project for a taco night, when you need to add fresh guacamole to your repertoire (and thus, need to peel lots of avocados). You will need a large knife, a spoon, and the obligatory avocado for this project. To begin, hold the fruit in the palm of your hand with the narrow end at 12 o'clock and the wider end at 6 o'clock. Carefully, press the knife vertically into the fruit until the blade stops at the pit. Rotate and separate the fruit to create two equal halves. (You may need to gently turn the halves in opposite directions to loosen the fruit from the pit.)
Now comes the fun (read dangerous and thrilling) part. If you do it the right way, all of your friends will say, 'ooh,' and 'aah,' if you do it the wrong way, they may ask, 'where do you keep the band-aids?' or 'which way to the nearest ER?' I must caution you to err on the side of too little effort, rather than risking injury with too much effort. Gently, but swiftly, embed the mid-section of the knife blade into the pit of the fruit. (You won't be able to push the knife in, it is really more of a 'hack'...a gentle, safe 'hack', that is.) After a few attempts, you will discover the amount of effort required to lodge the blade firmly into the pit of the avocado. The trick is to get the blade to stop approximately half way through the pit. Too far, and the pit cuts in half and the little trick doesn't work. Too shallow into the pit, and the outer layers of the pit will break off during the next step...and that is essentially like stripping a screw. Once you have perfected the science of gently, but firmly hacking your knife's way into the pit of your avocado, the rest is the proverbial piece of cake. Rotate your knife (as though it were the hands on a clock), until the pit becomes dislodged from the flesh of the fruit. Gently push the pit off of the knife (remember it is pretty well stuck on there, you may have to push firmly). Always push away from the blade. A little pinch behind the pit will usually work. Without cutting through the skin of the avocado, score it in slices or cubes (depending on how you are serving the avocado).Then, take a large spoon (my soup spoons are the perfect size) and slide it between the peel and the flesh of the fruit. Scoop out any remaining morsels of fruit that are usable for your purpose, then discard the skin. You now have a peeled avocado, with very little waste, and nary a mess to be found. (That is of course unless you were a little gung-ho on the hacking part, and you left the avocado and knife on the counter while you made your trip to the ER!) All that's left is to enjoy the 'fruit' of your labor in your favorite salad, guacamole, or all by itself. mmm....

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