The pineapple may be a prominent symbol of Hawaii, but this sweet and tangy tropical fruit is popular beyond the Pacific Islands. Pineapples have actually been cultivated in South America and the West Indies since ancient times and were not introduced to Hawaii until 1800. The Spanish (pina) and English names are derived from the fruit’s resemblance to a pinecone. Although there are numerous varieties of pineapples, only four are of commercial importance.
Pineapples, as popular as they are, can be intimidating for those who don't know how to purchase or process them. Consumers end up overpaying for pre-processed fruit that can easily be done at home.
The first step to having fresh pineapple at home is knowing how to pick one. Choose a fruit that is heavy for its size and pleasantly aromatic. If the fruit has an overly strong odor however, that may be indicative of fermentation. Avoid fruits that have spots, mold, or yellowing leaves.
Now that you have your pineapple at home, how do you cut it? You will need a large cutting board with a towel underneath it to soak up any juice and a sharp knife. A serrated knife, such as a bread knife, will also work well to cut your pineapple.
Remove the top and bottom of the pineapple. Remember that you only want to trim the fruit and not remove too much.
2. Trim the skin from the sides of the pineapple. Start on one edge and try to cut between the eyes of the pineapple. Follow the natural curve all around the edge of the fruit until all the skin is off. You can go back and remove any eyes that may have been left behind.
Now you have several options.
Option A: Simple slices. Slice the pineapple and use a small ring mold or paring knife to remove the core.
Option B: Dice or cubes. Cut out the core and slice the fruit on one side directly next to the core. Repeat this step on the opposite side. Cut away the rest of the fruit from the core on the other two sides. Now you are free to dice your pineapple to whatever size you see fit.
Option C: Wedges and spears. After you have removed the skin from the pineapple, cut the fruit in half. Then remove the core by cutting it away from the rest of the fruit using a v- cut along the core. Now you can turn each half into quarters that can be left as spears or cut into wedges.
No matter what use you have for pineapple, you now have the tools to cut your own rather than overspend on the pre-cut offerings at the local mega-mart.