I feel like a lot of people (my former self included) are intimidated by fresh pineapples. I mean, they even look kind of scary – all spiny with spiky grass sticking out the top. But they are actually pretty easy to cut once you know how.
I’m going to give you a method today that will make you a believer!
How to Cut a Pineapple
Let’s start by talking about how to select a ripe pineapple. First of all, it should be fresh looking with green leaves. Next, Rachael Ray always says you want a pineapple with eyes (the little diamond shapes) that are the same size all up and down the pineapple (not significantly smaller at the top). Like other fruit, you should also test the firmness. You want pineapples to be firm, not mushy. Also, a ripe pineapple should smell like pineapple. (This goes for most fruit, incidentally.) Color is not a reliable indicator of ripeness, as pineapples with a lot of green on them can be deliciously ripe. However, if you see one that has gone past the point of yellow and looks slightly orange or brownish, it is probably overripe. The size of the pineapple has nothing to do with ripeness. Bigger ones will give you more fruit, but it won’t necessarily be ripe or taste better.
Now that you have selected the perfect pineapple, let’s get down to brass tacks!
You will need a very sharp knife (be careful!) and a large cutting board. I like to put the discarded materials in a plastic bag, tie it up, and put it in the trash can outside, as it can get smelly or attract fruit flies in the kitchen trash.
Start by cutting off the crown (top) and bottom of the pineapple.
Next, stand the pineapple up on its bottom. Take your knife and carefully run it down the side of the pineapple to remove a strip of peel. You will have to use a little bit of force, as the peel is very fibrous. The idea is to cut deep enough to remove all of the eyes, but not so deep as to waste a lot of fruit. If you find you are leaving the pits of the eyes, it’s ok, you can go back and remove them later.
Turn the pineapple and repeat cutting strips of the peel off until you have removed it all.
If there are still some eyes left, go back and cut a little deeper until you have removed them all. You’ll get the hang of how deep you have to cut after a couple tries.
Next, cut the pineapple in half vertically, and then in half again vertically. Now you have quarters of pineapple.
Stand one of the quarters up on the board. You should be able to see where the core ends and where the flesh of the fruit starts. Place your knife here and slice down carefully to remove the fibrous core. Repeat with the other quarters.
All that’s left now is to cut the pineapple into the size/shape chunks you want! I generally cut the quarters again two or three times lengthwise and then into small bites (like the tidbits we’re familiar with). Or you could cut the quarters in half lengthwise, leave them in long pieces, and put them on the grill! Grilled pineapple is so delicious! We should all grill more fruit!
Store cut pineapple in the refrigerator. If you don’t cut it within a few days of purchasing it, you should store it in the refrigerator whole until you are ready to use it.