Believe it or not, there is a formal hospital emergency room visit category labeled BRI—Bagel Related Injury.
Americans eat an estimated 3 billion bagels at home, an average of about 11 per person (not including bagels eaten at work), estimates New York Bagel company. And in the course of bagel slicing, some 2,000 people routinely cut their fingers so badly that they ended up in an emergency room.
How can you avoid bagel related injuries? Following these simple guidelines can help, says New York Bagel:
1. Don’t cut frozen bagels. Wait until the bagel is thawed fully! It’s just not worth the risk. If possible, slice bagels before freezing them and they will thaw more quickly!
2. Use the right kind of knife for slicing bagels. This would be a knife with a deeply serrated edge, NOT a knife with a smooth, sharp edge. The serration helps “rip” into the bagel with a crosscut saw type effect, gripping and cutting into the bagel instead of slipping across the crust and cutting your hand.
3. NEVER cut a bagel while holding it in your hand. Also, don’t stand the bagel on end and try to cut it – it will slide or roll and increase the chances of a knife related injury. Instead, Place the bagel flat side down on a flat surface, flatten your palm on top of it, and carefully slice the bagel horizontally.
4. Use a bagel slicer if available; this handy device holds the bagel and keeps the knife from slipping and slicing your fingers off. These come in both plastic and metal, and guard your hands while allowing you to easily slice the bagel.
5. For stale bagels, wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave for a few seconds before slicing, this will soften the crust and make cutting the bagel easier.
There are different types of bagel cutters on the market. Williams-Sonoma offers what it calls a foolproof bagel cutter, which looks like a guillotine.
Of course, buying them already sliced would also seem foolproof.
Statistics compiled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS).