I once observed the mother of a dear friend of mine meticulously peel an avocado whole, and then cut pieces off of it to use in a salad. I hate to say there is ever any “wrong” way to do something; there are, as we know, many paths to Rome. But, the following method is easier, faster, and much less messy. By the way, if you are buying avocados to prepare a guacamole dip, get them either ripe, with some give to the touch, or get them still firm, a few days ahead of when they are needed, and put them in a brown paper bag to ripen.
How to Cut and Peel an Avocado
1 Grip the avocado gently on one side with one hand. With a large, sharp knife in the other hand, cut the avocado lengthwise around the seed. Open the two halves to expose the pit.
2a At this point there are a few ways you can proceed to remove the pit from the avocado half that has the pit. One way is to make another cut, lengthwise on the avocado half that has the pit, cutting around the pit, exposing it so that it is easier to remove. You can also use a spoon to scoop out the pit.
2b Another method is a bit tricky, as you'll see. This method is very popular, but you must be careful lest you cut your hand. For safety, fold up a kitchen towel and use that to hold the avocado half with the pit. Gently tap the pit with a knife with enough force so that the knife edge wedges into the pit, but not so hard as to cut all the way through it. I generally just tap it very gently a few times, each with increasing pressure, until a cut is made in the pit sufficiently to twist the pit out. Getting the pressure just right takes a little practice.
With the edge of the knife, twist the pit out of the avocado and discard.
3a At this point, you can either scoop out the avocado flesh with a spoon (for making guacamole), or slice the avocado into segments. To make it more easy to scoop out the avocado flesh, take a small dinner knife and gently make cuts in the avocado flesh in a cross-hatch pattern, careful not to break through the avocado peel. Then use a spoon to easily scoop out the avocado pieces. If you are making guacamole, don't worry about slightly discolored or brownish sections. Scoop them up with the rest of the avocado to mash.
3b To make avocado slices, use a knife to slice the inside of the avocado halves into sections. Don't worry if you cut right through the peel.
4 Use your fingers to separate the avocado segments from the peel.