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You might not think that fruit with tough skins need washing, but they do. If you cut open an avocado without washing it, you're at risk of food poisoning — or, at least, unwanted bacteria.

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Avocado skins are tough, and harmful chemicals generally don't penetrate them. But the bumpy skin can harbor pesticides and bacteria you don't want in your body. If you cut through it without washing, your knife can drag those harmful elements into the fruit's flesh.

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The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in its guide to peeling and pitting avocados, recommends thoroughly washing avocados before eating them.

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Washing an avocado is pretty simple. Just use cool or lukewarm water and gently scrub the surface. And, of course, always wash your hands before eating.

And if you want to keep your avocados fresh once you've cut them open, store them with lime juice and chopped onions.

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