I know – why a post on pineapple. I have to pay homage to one of my absolute favorite fruit, call out its health benefits and versatility in cooking.
First off, never buy pre-cut pineapple. Sticking with a whole pineapple, you’re saving at least $4. I understand if you’ve never cut up a pineapple, it can be intimidating. However, the process is super easy and not any more ‘work’ than cutting up a watermelon or cantaloupe.
How do you know it’s ripe? The trick I use is gently tugging on a few leaves. If they come off without much tug, you’re good to go. You can also tell by the color and aroma. Generally, the more ripe a pineapple, the more yellow-brown its undertone becomes. You can also put your nose right up to it and sniff out the sweetness.
Okay, you bought the whole pineapple. Now what. That pineapple you bought has probably been sitting in an upright position for a long time. This means that all of the juice (aka sweetness) is sitting at the bottom of the fruit. You need to re-distribute the sweetness by flipping the pineapple upside down and allowing it sit on its head for a good 30 minutes.
Now you’re ready to dig in and cut it up! Some people like to start by twisting off the top. You can… but you can also just slice off the top (method I prefer). From there, you have a few options. The most time-consuming way is to start by cutting off the outer skin. This can get rather messy as well. But hey, I did this method for a few years so it’s not impossible . Another method is buying a pineapple slicer. This is called cheating. Just kidding!
Seriously, here is the method I recently learned in Hawaii and is pretty seamless. Once you cut off the top, cut the pineapple in two four lengthwise. With each quarter, stand it up, cut out the core lining (inner 1/2″), then simply run your knife down the flesh following the curve. Now just take that big wedge of pineapple and cut it up into bite sized pieces.
Aids in digestion
Enhances blood circulation
Good for oral health
What to do with all that pineapple?
Add it to salads
Use it as a base for salsas
Pineapple fried rice
Add it to a marinade
Add it to a sauce
Add it to curry
Make a sweet and savory glaze
Add it to a tropical burger (in the patty and as a garnish)