If you don't want to go near a knife, this is your best avocado solution
Kitchen unitaskers, as I know from watching too much Good Eats, are to be avoided. Why clutter up your kitchen with lots of tools that can only do one thing, when all you need is a knife, a bowl, a skillet, and some ingenuity? But let me tell you something: I find great satisfaction in tools that do one thing and do it extremely well. Like a cherry pitter, for example. Do you need one, strictly speaking? Of course not. But when you have a pile of cherries for pie-making and a device that acts like a precision hole-puncher for the fruit, dang, does it feel good to have. And so with respect to my colleague Rebecca Firsker, who wrote convincingly that you do not need an avocado slicer, when an offer to try out a five-in-one avocado tool from Kuhn Rikon came along, I jumped at it.
The five-in-one tool looks like the kind of toy that you use to help toddlers distinguish harmful behavior patterns. It's a kind of double-ended paddle made of bright green plastic, and it runs $4.99. One end has a serrated edge—the "knife" you use to open the fruit—and a number of different sized round holes, meant to be used as a masher. The other end has a series of slats meant to slice an avocado, and a larger hole with a serrated edge for removing the avocado pit. The fifth way the tool can be used is scooping the flesh from the avocado skin, thus rounding out the "five-in-one" claim.
I attempted to use the tool on two avocados of dubious quality, this being the East Coast and avocados being mostly inferior to the great bounty on the West Coast. The serrated edge of the paddle opened the avocado fairly well, though it certainly didn't make a clean line that you might want for, say, styling your avocado slices on toast. My second avocado was on the overripe side, so it sort of squished open. I guess that counts?
The avocado pitter was too small to work on the large pits of the avocados I had, and I could see that being a problem. After all, taking the pit out of the avocado is a leading cause of "avocado hand," in which you horribly mutilate your palm while attempting to look suave by thwacking a chef's knife into the center of the pit. But I used the tip of the serrated end to dig out the pit, which worked fine, too. The mashing attachment turned my avocado into a glorious thick-ish green goop for spreading on toast. It worked best on the softer avocado, and there was a little more effort involved for the less ripe avocado—pretty much the same as using a fork. The silcer was maybe the most efficient part of the tool, quickly rendering one half of the avocado into slices.
The tool worked, for sure. Did it work better than a sharp knife and a fork? Not really. It was basically equivalent. But it seems to me that the tool would be very useful in a couple situations. First, if you love avocados and have small children, and you want them to be able to prepare a good avocado toast without handling a sharp knife. Second, if you're going on an airplane and you want to snack on an avocado, the plastic tool would sail through TSA. It might also be nice for a picnic or hiking trip where you don't want to bring along sharps. And third, if you're afraid of cutting yourself in the kitchen—something I relate to, as I managed to cut myself opening a tub of yogurt this morning—this would allay your fears while still getting that sweet, sweet avocado flesh out of its skin.