Who would have thought pineapples would be the great divider? Whether you like pineapple on your pizza or not, there’s always a use for knowing how to cut a pineapple. These tough, prickly fruits are incredibly versatile. They can be used in fruit salads or eaten on their own. Additionally, they can be used in plenty of recipes from pineapple chicken to cake. The best part is that you can pick them up at any time of year in your local grocery store. So what are you waiting for? Let’s cut to the pineapple chase.
The problem with pineapples being available year round is their ripeness. You might have noticed that the skin can vary from green to brown. Not unlike bananas, the greener a pineapple is, the less ripe it is. That said, a better way of testing a pineapple’s ripeness is to smell it. If you’re worried about being the only person in the grocery store sniffing a pineapple, don’t be. You’ll be thankful for it. If a pineapple smells ‘green,’ it isn’t ripe. If it smells earthier, it is. The tough skin should also be firm with a little give. Picked your pineapple? Let’s get to cutting.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of the difficulty we experience in cutting fruits lies in the incorrect knife. Even the sharpest knives require upkeep. Blunt knives make any task that much harder to do. Make sure the knife you’re going to be using to cut your pineapple is sharp. One simple test is to try to slice a sheet of paper. If the knife goes through it effortlessly, leaving no jagged edges, it’s sharp. If your knife is dull, sharpen it before cutting.
The first step in cutting a pineapple is to remove the tricky crown. It might be one of the pineapples defining features, but it’s of no use to us. Lie the pineapple on its side on a stable cutting board. Once you’ve done this, hold the pineapple steady and slice off the top. Roughly half-an-inch from where the crown meets the skin should be a good ballpark.
It’s now time to remove the bottom. In an almost identical fashion to the removal of the crown, turn the pineapple around. Again, around half-an-inch from the fruit’s base is a good spot to slice. This way, you get rid of the unnecessary excess and also get to keep as much of the delicious fruit as possible.
As pretty as that prickly skin is, it’s got to go. Once you’ve removed the bottom of the pineapple, you can stand it upright. Unlike peeling a sweet potato or rutabaga, the pineapple’s skin is much thicker. Slice around the pineapple following its natural curve and keep as much of the fruit as possible. Then, continue around the fruit until the skin is fully removed.
Potatoes are not the only food that has eyes, pineapples do too. The eyes are the round pieces of the skin that are left over once it’s been peeled. This is the step that may take you the most time as you have to remove each of them individually. Using a smaller knife, make shallow diagonal cuts in a spiral around the fruit, turning it as you go. If you’re going to be chopping your pineapple into chunks, you can simply remove the eyes as you chop. On the other hand, pineapple rings greatly benefit from the spiral method.
There are a couple of ways to remove the pineapple’s core. This will depend on how you’ll be using the pineapple. For example, removing the core will be different for spears and chunks than it is for rings. For chunks or spears, cut the pineapple straight down the middle. Cut the slices into two wedges and then cut the core off of their edges.
The second method is the one you’ll need to use if you’re wanting to make pineapple rings. It’s worth noting that this will work much better if you used the spiral method of removing the eyes. For this, you want to cut the rings as thick or as thin as you want them. Then, you can either use a round cookie cutter to remove the core or a knife. The cookie cutter way is, by far, the easiest, and will save you a ton of time.
Once you're rid of the core, you can get to chopping those deliciously juicy pineapple chunks. If you cut the pineapple into spears, you can either go on to cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces. On the other hand, if you went for rings, you can either leave them as is or cut them into chunks. Just like that, your pineapple is ready to be used.
One thing to think about when it comes to pineapples is their size. Will you be using the entire pineapple you've just cut in one go? If not, there are ways to store it. Firstly, if you plan on using the fruit within the first few days, you can simply store the pieces at room temperature. Alternatively, you can place it in a plastic bag to put in the refrigerator which will prolong its life more. If you are storing your pineapple in the refrigerator, you should dispose of it after five days at most. However, cut pineapples can be stored for up to twelve months. Place them in a resealable plastic bag, ensuring as much air is removed as possible. Then again, now you know how to cut them, you can start the process all over again.
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