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The most dangerous vegetable in New Zealand kitchens

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 11:37 PM

The most dangerous vegetable in New Zealand kitchens
Last updated 16:55, May 16 2017

Watch out, that knife is clearly too small.

You thought avocados were dangerous - turns out pumpkin and onion are the most injury inducing vegetables in New Zealand kitchens.

Nearly $100,000 was claimed for 361 pumpkin-related injuries in 2016, according to ACC, more than double the 162 of "avohand" incidents which cost them $70,000.

There's no doubt avocado is an increasingly worrisome ingredient, but the humble onion is the second most mentioned vege - accounting for 282 claims, costing $41,000.
Scott Hammond
Maybe the alligator pear is a better name for the avocado, with so many people getting hurt.

Last year there were just shy of 35,000 claims for kitchen-related injuries in NZ, with 42 claims for amputations or enucleations. Just over 11,000 were cuts, puncture wounds and stings.

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AUT professional cookery lecturer Alan Brown agreed pumpkins caused the most harm, but also added globe artichokes to the list.

It's mostly to do with the tough skin both have, making knives slip and keeping the food from being stable.

"I [recently] had a beginners class and I basically cut it up for them, and left small pieces for taking the skin off the pumpkins," Brown said.

A few years ago, a student's brand new chef's knife snapped while cutting a pumpkin, he says. Older pumpkins also have tougher skin, so they often use meat cleavers or machetes to create more manageable sizes before proceeding to trim the skin.
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Kumara and celeriac are sometimes hard too, because of their "gnarliness", Brown said.

"That's why you always cut away from yourself."

He wasn't particularly surprised at the number of avocado-related incidents.

It was likely most involved blunt knives and happened while cooks were attempting to get the stone from the avocado, he said.


New Zealand School of Food and Wine director Celia Hay says it's a question of understanding what knives to use, and when.

"Many people cut themselves chopping carrots and dicing onions because they use the wrong knife, or it's blunt and slips off the hard vegetable and cuts them."

When it comes to preparing pumpkins, Hay has a novel way of getting around the ungainly task: roasting them whole, then peeling and dicing or pureeing the vegetable.

"I find the flavour is much better as it is concentrated... dealing with them is much easier to manage."


* Keep the board stable with either a non-slip mat between it and the bench, or use a damp tea towel instead.

* Either halve or slice a section of the vegetable so it's flat before peeling.

* If you're peeling vegetables in you hand, do it away from you.

* A blunt knife is dangerous, keep them sharp. The blunter the knife, the more pressure needed, the more prone you are to hurting yourself.

Do you have a vegetable prepping horror story? Share it with us in the comment section below.

- Stuff
Soursed from: http://www.stuff.co....ealand-kitchens

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