How to Choose and Cut a Pineapple

I was in my local grocery today, and they had a sale on pineapples and mangoes. Oh how I love these fruits. I really should be an island girl. I love the food, I love the weather, the culture and the ocean. I can’t understand how anyone can live there and not love the ocean, or the food, or the culture. My mom is native Hawaiian, my dad wants to be native Hawaiian, and therefore I have no problem infusing it into my culinary lifestyle. So back to the pineapples.

While there on vacation this year, we bought a pineapple from a roadside stand, brought it back to our surf shack, cut it up and bagged it for enjoyment later. Well, after a couple hours snorkeling with the turtles, the salt water and the sun really saps your energy. Pineapple? Perfect replenishment. Therefore – that little pineapple promptly disappeared between me and my hunny. Sorry dad.

So the grocery store! I was picking out my pineapples to take home and cut up, and I noticed a lady admiring them, who looked completely clueless. She picked one up, looked at the price, looked at the pineapple, and looking¬†disappointed, set it back down. I don’t think it had anything to do with the price. I don’t think she knew what to do with it.

So I’m going to help all you people out who haven’t had the lovely opportunity to visit the islands or been shown how to handle a pineapple. Because I think everyone should be able to enjoy this sweet fruit. Ocean available or not.

Step 1: Choosing your pineapple. Simple. Smell the bottom. Not the pointy part, the other side. It should smell, well, like a pineapple. Sweet and slightly tangy. If it doesn’t, or it smells sour, possibly doesn’t have a smell at all, put it back. Then after you find one that smells good, grab one of the leaves on the top that is in the center of the spiky-ness, and pull it out. If it’s ripe, it will pull out rather easily. Otherwise it will be extremely difficult and you may even need two hands.

Step 2: Taking it home and preparing to cut it up. Ok, here comes the easy part! You’ll need only four things. Your pineapple, of course. A large cutting board, preferably one that has the little ridges around the sides to catch the juices. If you’ve gotten a ripe pineapple, it’s going to be juicy. A large serrated knife – like a bread knife, and something to put it all in. Pineapple doesn’t last long enough in my house to put it in a Ziploc container and then have to wash it, so I put it in a gallon size bag.

Step 3: Cut off the ends. First cut off the spiny end, or the top. Just lay the pineapple on its side, and slice down about 1/4 inch from the bottom of the spines. Then do the same exact thing to the other end, the bottom of the pineapple. Now you have a cylindrical shape with a flat top and bottom.

Step 4: Cut off the rinds. Stand the pineapple up on one of its new flat ends, and cut down just underneath the skin, attempting to follow the natural curve of the pineapple. Go all the way around, cutting off the skin in strips. Then go back and cut off strips where there are any additional round circles with the spines in the middle. You will want to cut strips off, even if there are only one or two, because that part of the pineapple will be sour and not very tasty.

Step 5: Cut out the core. Now there are two ways to do this, you can cut around the core the same way you did with the skin, or you can do it a different way that I find a little easier. With it still standing on its end, cut the pineapple in half. Then lay it down, cut side up, and cut the core out in a triangular shape. Do the same to the other half.

Step 6: Cut it in chunks. Now that the core is cut out, just cut the pineapple long-ways in strips, and then cut the opposite way to make chunks. Good luck not snacking as you’re cutting.

And that’s that! You have a perfectly chunked, juicy, delicious pineapple. It will be worth the time it took, I promise. And if you’re like me, wishing the summer was back already, you’ll enjoy it imagining you’re sitting on the beach, basking in the sunshine after swimming with sea turtles.