Pineapple season is here, and the “fruit,” which is actually a mass of berries growing along the bromeliad’s stalk, is once again popular in all grocery produce sections. It’s time to talk about how to slice them.
Born and raised in the Philippines (the top pineapple producing country in the world), I grew up with little appreciation for any kind of fruit juice other than pineapple. I also learned how to peel and cut pineapples without wasting any of the sweet and juicy flesh.
I’ve seen two convenient ways to prepare pineapples. One is to use a pineapple corer/slicer that cuts into the pineapple with a rotating blade and leaves the core and the skin behind. Another is to pare off the skin thick enough to include the “eyes” leaving a clean flesh for slicing. Both ways are quick and easy but wasteful because a lot of the delectable flesh is discarded in the process.
Here’s how I was taught to prepare a whole fresh pineapple into bite-size chunks without being wasteful [quick tip: wear plastic gloves to protect your hands from the acidic juices of the pineapple]:
1. Slice the top off. [Consider planting this top in your garden. It will take a couple of years before you can harvest your own one pineapple from it, which will most likely not be as big nor as sweet as what you could get from the grocery, but it’s always cool to say you grew your own!] Slice the bottom off too.
2. Cut away the skin just thin enough to expose the flesh. Parts of the “eyes” should still be on the fruit. You can skin the pineapple in a spiral or horizontally – I prefer to skin vertically.
3. Following the spiral pattern of the eyes, cut along the sides of the eyes to take them out. You can run the knife with one long spiral cut on one side of the eyes, from the top of the pineapple to the bottom, then a matching spiral cut on the other side of the eyes to scoop out the whole length. I usually work with two to three eyes at a time.
4. Quarter the pineapple lengthwise and cut out the tough core. [Some folks who are into juicing don’t discard the core.]
5. Halve each quarter lengthwise. Cut into bite-size pieces and enjoy!
I enjoy my fresh pineapple chunks as is, with some salt or sugar, to flavor water, or as an ingredient of our breakfast smoothie. How do you enjoy yours?
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