I was cutting up a pineapple today for a new dish I was cooking – Coconut Pineapple Chicken, and it occurred to me that this would be a great feature for my Tips & Tricks section of the blog.
To pick a good pineapple, the best way to tell if it’s ripe is to smell it. Smell the bottom side of the pineapple. If you can smell it (but not too strongly or it may be rotting), and there is a little give on the sides of the pineapple, then it’s probably a good sign. I’ve heard different theories among them pulling leaves out easily and making sure the squares on the sides are uniform in size, but I don’t put much stock in them. Just make sure the pineapple is not too green. There should be some yellow going at least halfway up the pineapple from the bottom end.
Here is how I usually cut a pineapple. Today I want nice-sized chunks, but this is also the basis for rings or half-rings, so follow along!
Cut off the top leafy end of the pineapple a good inch below the leaves.
If you’re making a fruit platter, sometimes it’s pretty to stand this upright at the edge or center of your platter for decoration.
Now cut off the bottom end of the pineapple. Now you have a flat surface to work from and remember my motto, “flat surfaces are our friends. Round surfaces cause a need for Band-Aids”.
Stand your pineapple on its bottom flat side.
Make your first cut inside of the pineapple brown eyes. You’re going to cut around the pineapple in a stop sign kind of cutting motion.
Slice downward all the way to the cutting board. Continue to cut around the sides of the pineapple until all the sides are removed. You may have a few little stubborn brown eyes, but you can easily scrape those off with the tip of a spoon or a small paring knife.
If you’re concerned about wasting any of the side of the pineapple, just take a spoon and dig into the slices you’ve cut off…it’s a delicious treat!
At this point, if you want to make rings, slice across the pineapple in your desired width, and then cut out the center with a small paring knife or a small biscuit cutter ring.
But I’m making chunks so I chose to slice my pineapple in half.
Now slice these halves in half again and then take a smaller knife and cut off the core on each section (not pictured – sorry!).
Cut each of these slices in half again or in thirds, depending on what size you want your chunks to be.
Now just slice across these slices to make nice pineapple chunks.
And that’s all there is to it. Fresh, succulent pineapple chunks in a matter of minutes.
I always steal a few bites at this point. I love fresh pineapple.
Stay tuned later today to see what I made with these – Pineapple Coconut Chicken.
How do you use pineapple in cooking? Got any other ideas for slicing them up? Us bloggers love comments! Leave me one below!
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