How to Carve a Pineapple
The prickly exterior of a whole pineapple may seem formidable, but it’s nothing a determined cook with a sharp chef’s knife can’t tackle. Cutting a pineapple doesn’t require any special gadgets or training. Once you realize how easy it is, you won’t spend the extra money for a pre-cut pineapple, and you certainly won’t accept the markup most supermarkets apply to pre-cut pineapple chunks.
Cutting fresh pineapple yourself is so easy, in fact, you may soon find myriad reasons to make your favorite fresh pineapple recipes, from Pineapple Caramel for ice cream to Maple Glazed Salmon with Pineapple. If you’re a fan of smoothies, you can save money by buying fresh pineapple, cutting it up, and then freezing it for your fruity beverage. Fresh pineapple, once cut, will last in your refrigerator for about 5 days, and one large fruit will make about 8 cups of chopped pieces.
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Best Tools for Cutting a Pineapple
Before you get started learning how to cut a pineapple, you need to make sure you have tools ready for the job. These gadgets are essential:
- a large chef’s knife
- a paring knife
- a large, sturdy cutting board
How to Tell When a Pineapple Is Ripe
A ripe pineapple is firm, but not hard. A warm golden yellow color appears beneath the brown skin.
Now give it a whiff. A ripe pineapple smells fresh but not overly sugary. The leaves in the crown should also be vibrant green with few gray or brown spots.
If the pineapple is spongy to the touch or feels “heavy” at the bottom,” it may be too ripe.
How to Cut a Pineapple
- Place the large cutting board on your counter, making sure it doesn’t move or twist.
- Lay the pineapple on one side on the cutting board, and hold it in place with one hand. Slice across the bottom of the fruit with the chef’s knife to create a flat surface. Slice across the top to remove the pineapple crown. Discard these pieces.
- Stand the pineapple up on one end. Hold the knife parallel to the fruit, and shave the outer skin away from the flesh. Keep the knife as close to the skin as possible to preserve the fruit. Repeat for the entire pineapple.
- Using a paring knife, cut out any bits of remaining skin or leftover “eyes,” the little brown notches in the fruit’s flesh.
- With the chef’s knife, slice the pineapple into quarters. Stand each quarter on one end, and cut away the “core,” or about an inch of the inner-most portion of the fruit.
- Cut each quarter into smaller triangles, then chop into bite-size pieces.
Alternative Methods for Cutting a Pineapple
If you want to cut a pineapple into rings instead of pieces, you’ll need to try a different approach. It’s easy, but it requires a few more cuts.
- Place a large cutting board on your clean surface. Make sure it doesn’t move when you’re cutting on it.
- Rest the pineapple on one side. Secure the fruit with one hand, and use a chef’s knife to cut the rounded bottom end flat. Slice off the pineapple’s leafy crown, too. Discard them.
- Stand the pineapple up on the bottom end. Hold the chef’s knife parallel to the fruit, and slice between the flesh and the skin. Cut as closely as you can to the skin so you preserve as much fruit as possible.
- With a paring knife, cut away any “eyes” or remaining bits of skin.
- Flip the pineapple back onto its side, and secure it with one hand. With the chef’s knife in the other hand, cut the fruit into half-inch or one-inch rounds.
- Use a three-quarter or one-inch circle cutter to remove the core from each pineapple round. If you don’t have a round cutter, you can use your paring knife to gently trace around the core. Punch it out with your thumb.
Tip: Don’t Toss That Core
Pineapple core is too hard to eat, but you can use it to infuse water.