Culture

Avocado Hand Is Sending People To The ER In Record Numbers And Abuelas Everywhere Are Left Asking Why

First, avocados were blamed for preventing millennials from buying homes. Then they were used as fake grenades in bank robberies. Now they’re responsible for thousands of emergency room visits each year – victims of so-called avocado hand. You may not have heard of this medical condition, but you or someone you know has almost certainly been affected by it.

Meryl Streep may have been the first known victim. But a new report tells us that there are thousands just like her out there. Thousands of clueless people who are just to eager to dig into that tasty avocado.

Yes, avocado hand is real and it’s sending thousands of people to the emergency room each year.

Yes, folks, it’s true. Approximately 8,900 emergency room visits in 2018 could be directly tied to avocados. Researchers came to that conclusion after finding 152 mentions of avocados in the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s national injury database, which covers 96 hospitals, and then asking the agency to extrapolate that information to estimate the number of ER visits nationwide.

Nearly all of those visits were due to lacerations and injuries to hands and fingers, caused while cutting avocados — although there was at least one instance of someone slipping off of a stool while picking avocados as well.

According to an analysis by Insider, over 70% of the injuries were sustained by women, and, in cases where race was reported, 80% of injuries were sustained by white people. The oldest person to visit the ER for an avocado-related laceration was 75, and the youngest was 8. Most of those hurt by avocados were, in fact, millennials. 

“A lot of times folks will try to remove the avocado pit with a carving knife or have their fingers wrapped around the avocado while they’re cutting. Both of those techniques could lead to a bad cut and a trip to the ER,” Joe Galbo, the CPSC’s social media specialist, told INSIDER.

Like think about that for a second. People are ruining their avocado toast and going to the ER on a daily basis.

The US’s estimated 8,900 avocado-related hospital visits in 2018 would equate to more than 160 per week, and approximately 24 per day nationwide. Come on people! Are you serious?

And, well, those of us who grew up eating avocado are just left like…WTF?

Yes, exactly. That’s the exact look I had when I heard about this so-called avocado hand epidemic.

And if we thought things were bad enough here in the US, they’re even worse across the pond in the UK.

Avocados have been deemed a danger to the public before. In 2017, British reports described an epidemic of “avocado hand” after London surgeons told The Times that they were treating a growing number of patients who had accidentally sliced into their hands while cutting avocados at home.

Also, apparently people in the UK call seeds stones and like…why?!

Renowned British chef Jamie Oliver is even getting in on the what we thought was common sense PSA.

Staff at a London hospital have reportedly become accustomed to the “post-brunch surge”, while the affliction even claimed the high-profile hands of Meryl Streep seven years ago.

Twitter is just full of people posting their shameful, dangerous injuries caused by this luscious fruit.

This is absolutely real. Just hop on Twitter for yourself and you will see literally thousands of examples. There’s even a webpage dedicated to graphic images of the injury and a relevant hashtag (#avocadohand).

OK, so admittedly not everyone grew up eating avocados so I can kind of see how people may not know how to properly cut an avocado.

But still…why would you slam a knife into something that is in the middle of your hand? Like you don’t do that. That’s just common sense!

And because of how common the injury is, Twitter is also full of people offering up tips on how to enjoy an avocado – safely.

So how do you not become a statistic? The gist of it is as follows: Place the avocado on a cutting board, and slice it on the diameter, turning as you go. Then rotate it 90 degrees, and make the exact same cut, turning the avocado as you slice it around the center. The avocado naturally falls apart into even wedges at this point, and you can remove the pit with your hand—no knife required.

And, apparently, there’s even a helpful new tool for those who are still totally clueless.

A group of schoolchildren in Brighton College in the United Kingdom, the Telegraph reported on Wednesday, may have found yet another fix. It’s an instrument called the “Avogo,” a hooked blade cast from pewter.

You jut the blade directly into the top of the fruit, searing its skin and flesh as your hand circumnavigates the surface. You take the two halves apart and then affix the hook to the stone, removing the seed from the cavity as you pull the fruit away from your body.

Sounds kind of complicated but, hey, safety first!

In An Effort To Eliminate Food Waste We Will Soon Have Access To Avocados That Stay Fresh For 30 Days

Culture

In An Effort To Eliminate Food Waste We Will Soon Have Access To Avocados That Stay Fresh For 30 Days

Apeel Sciences / YouTube

American demand for avocados is so great—and the supply so precious—that restaurants have had to cut guacamole corners in recent months. Like it’s seriously getting tough out there. 

We’ve got taquerias from LA to Mexico City spreading fake guac (aka mock guac) on our tacos and burritos. While white folk from Australia to the UK are suffering from an epidemic of so-called ‘avocado hand.’ And cartels are killing farmers for their agricultural lands hoping to get in on the avocado boom. 

Avocados have long been a favorite of people around the world but all of us have often shared one common complaint – our lovely avocados spoil way too damn fast. Well, finally, one company is trying to fix that issue and it looks like 30 day avocados could be here in the very near future.

Because every last avocado counts, grocery store chain Kroger has debuted avocados sprayed with a new, plant-based coating designed to keep produce fresh longer.

Credit: Apeel Sciences

Kroger announced this week that the powdered coating comes from a company called Apeel, and when mixed with water and sprayed onto produce, it keeps oxygen out, prolonging the time before the fruit or vegetable spoils. It’s also being applied to asparagus and limes in a small percentage of Kroger stores. The company hopes the longer-lasting produce will eliminate food waste not only in people’s kitchens, but in the stores themselves.

Apeel Sciences has figured out how to extend the salad days of fruits and vegetables — and it’s bringing the technology to the avocado aisle of 1,100 Kroger grocery stores in the US, starting this month. 

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

The extra longevity comes from Apeel‘s special, plant-derived formulation that’s applied — like a second skin — to a variety of produce. The process can double or, in some cases, triple shelf life. The companies expect the partnership to prevent millions of avocados annually from ending up in landfills.

Kroger, the largest grocery retailer in the US, began selling Apeel avocados exclusively in 109 of its stores earlier this year. Because of the resulting reduction in waste, Apeel says its avocados cost the same or less than other avocados. 

A video posted in March compares the lifespans of Apeel fruits and vegetables — including asparagus, tomatoes, strawberries, apples, bananas and limes — with that of their untreated counterparts.

So far, Apeel has developed formulations for about 50 different kinds of produce including apples, artichokes, bananas, beans, blueberries and tomatoes. The company also announced today that it would begin selling limes and asparagus in Kroger’s stores around Cincinnati, Ohio, later this fall. 

Kroger and Apeel both cite lofty aims with their collaboration. Kroger has promoted the initiative under its “Zero Hunger/Zero Waste” program that raises money to mitigate hunger and reduce food waste. In the US, roughly one in eight people struggle with hunger and between 30% and 40% of the food produced is thrown away

There are also environmental benefits.

Credit: Unsplash

Apeel and Kroger expect the partnership to help prevent millions of avocados from ending up in landfills, which should help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. They also predict that the deal will save over one billion gallons of water and help preserve dozens of acres of farmland.

Although not everyone is happy about the idea.

Credit: Fruitnet.com / Screenshot

One Twitter user said: “My issue isn’t that grocery store avocados go bad, it’s that they never ripen at all. I bought a bunch of avocados yesterday and I’m hoping I’ll have ripe ones by Spring.” 

Ok, by Spring? That might be a little dramatic but I think we can all relate. You get to the market and they either have mushy, brown, already spoiled avocados covered in flies or they’re hard as a rock and that delicious guacamole you planned on making tonight to go with those tacos just isn’t happening. 

PSA: Here Is How You Can Pit An Avocado And Not Give Yourself Avocado Hand

Culture

PSA: Here Is How You Can Pit An Avocado And Not Give Yourself Avocado Hand

candypandawax / _sylviecouture_ / Instagram

So yes, there have been multiple reports of people injuring their hands while trying to cut and remove the pits of avocados. But this should not keep us away from one of the Latin American fruits par excellence. The avocado tree probably has its origin in South Central Mexico. In strict terms, the avocado is a berry with a very large pit in the middle. 

Avocado is one of the great gifts of the Americas to the world, as commercial production has expanded all throughout the world. The tree benefits from war, Mediterranean climates and thrives in semiarid landscapes. In Australia, for example, avocado, locally known as simply “avo” is perhaps the most popular fruit. Avo on toast is a staple in cafes and homes all through the country. 

However, the expansion of avocado has also brought some minor tragedies with it due to the lack of experience that some home cooks have in the arts of fruit chopping.

Credit: animationblock / Giphy

Yes, we are actually not kidding: avocado slicing has spilled more blood than a serial killer in a slasher film!

A nicely sliced avocado has got to be one of the most beautiful sights on planet Earth! We understand why people want to get it just right. 

Credit: the_chopping_block / Instagram

Seriously. This fleshy fruit gives us beautiful hues of green when opened and its firm meat allows us to shape in in all kinds of interesting ways. Close your eyed and imagine a bowl of perfect avocado cubes… you will smell a fresh tortilla heating on the comal. Taquito de aguacate, anyone?

So first things first: the infamous “Avocado Hand.”

Credit: @gabbytakesnaps / Twitter

This seems to be a sort of accidental outbreak of lack of common sense among gringos worldwide (and by gringos we also mean British, Canadian, Australian and European folk). According to Food & Wine, “approximately 8,900 emergency room visits in 2018 could be directly tied to avocados”. That is like a small town of people running around the kitchen like headless chickens holding a paper towel to their hands and screaming “Oh-My-God” while shedding a tear. 

And no, it is not an urban legend, Avocado Hand actually exists.

Credit: @mrsfergusonxoxo / Twitter

So contrary to, say, apples, avocados have a soft skin and soft flesh. And contrary to, say, watermelon, they do not have a hard bit to get through. Some people underestimate how easily the knife will cut through the flesh and end up putting too much pressure on the knife while keeping their palms or fingers directly opposite. The result: blades penetrate through human flesh, savaging skin and painting a symphony of crimson pain. But avocado is soft and cuts easily, and everyone should know that. In Mexico, the government once financed a campaign to promote avocado consumption, and called the fruit “the butter of vegetables”. 

Some people are just displaying their injuries like war wounds to be proud of

Credit: candypandawax / Instagram

In this day and age of selfies and a sometimes unhealthy obsession with self-branding, some are actually publishing photos of their avocado hands as if they were a badge of honor. Seriously, ladies and dudes, no one wants to see those stitches and gooey stuff coming out of your fingers, especially not on a closeup. Please just don’t! 

And even get tattoos to celebrate the accident.

Credit: _sylviecouture_ / Instagram

Well, we actually have to admit this one is pretty funny and kinda cool. We love the minimalist outline and the dramatic nature of this skin art piece. It is Shakespearean and hipster in equal measures. 

So avocado hand pins are a thing, apparently.

Credit: toucantango / Instagram

Do you know how Boy and Girl Scouts wear all sorts of badges on their uniforms to celebrate their achievements? Well, if you had an avocado hand incident and for some reason, you are proud of it, you can wear this pin. Alternatively, you could also wear it as a reminder of your encounter with the cuchillo, so you remember to be very careful when cutting and pitting a delicious avocado. 

Use a spoon, people.

Credit: @qvh / Twitter

So here’s the deal. Using a knife to take the seed out might look cool, but it is not for everyone. Do it safely and please use a spoon and just scoop the seed out. You might lose some of the flesh, but that’s OK (better than losing a finger). 

This technique is for expert knife-handlers only, so don’t attempt at home. Frankly, this is a show off technique for mamones.

Credit: mashable / Giphy

Seriously, this technique is a bit silly even for experienced cooks. 

If you are feeling creative, pixelate your avocado.

Credit: Anonymous / Giphy

One of the newest hipster trends in the cafe industry is to serve pixelated avocados, which basically look like this. Just use an extremely thin and sharp knife, place the avocado on board, get your fingers away from the bottom of the fruit and cut it in cubes, little by little, stopping just before you hit the skin. The results are fun and give us una onda de los ochentas

And some people take their carving obsession to the extreme: introducing avocado art.

Credit: theavocadoshow / Instagram

Just wow. This is already an Instagram trend and features some pretty dedicated avocado lovers. The fruit gets all-black quickly after being cut open when exposed to room temperature, so the most experiences avocado carvers perfect their skills in walk-in fridges. Yes, it is pretty, but with all due respect, it is also a little pointless. 

But if you think you just can’t slice an avocado without injuring yourself, you can get one of these contraptions.

Credit: takemymoney / Instagram

If you have to trust or faith in your abilities, you can buy one of these plastic utensils that cut, slice and pit avocados in a safe, child-friendly way. No blades or pointy ends to be scared of! No one if judging if you get one! This is actually a good tool to get the chamaquitos to help in the kitchen. Guacamole para todos!

But always remember avocados are not to blame.

As they say, don’t shoot the messenger. The humble avocado is just the conduit through which an entire generation of foodies has come to the realization that they suck at handling knives. We also have to be aware of the fact that thousands of farmers and workers depend on avocado crops. In the state of Michoacan, in central Mexico, many families survive working in big avocado plantations. This state has been ravaged by cartel-related violence and the avocado industry is one of the few stable sectors in the industry. So think twice before affecting the industry. 

By the way, the word avocado comes from aguacate, which comes from an indigenous word that means testicles… you are welcome.

Credit: makeitmove / Giphy

Yes, the English word avocado comes from the Spanish aguacate, which in turn comes from the Nahuatl word āhuacatl. This word, you guessed it, means “testicle”. This is probably due to the likeness of the fruit and the male body part. We dare you to eat your next avocado and not think about this. Smashed avocado, compadres? Ouch!

READ: Avocado Hand Is Sending People To The ER In Record Numbers And Abuelas Everywhere Are Left Asking Why