Cutting up a pineapple can appear to be a baffling task – with the huge fronds on top, thick prickly skin, and long, hard round core. And why fool with it when Dole sells it already done for you? Because it doesn’t have to be difficult, and fresh cut pineapple is AMAZING! Once you see how easy they are to work and taste the difference, you’ll never buy another can! To easily peel, core, and slice a pineapple, I turn to my handy dandy friend, the Pineapple Tool.
You can buy them for about $9 in plastic or about $20 in stainless steel. I personally have one of each; the stainless one definitely works through the solid fruit with a little more ease, but both get the job done. Williams Sonoma now sells the Pineapple Slicer and Dicer, which not only cuts your rings, but will also dice them into nicely-sized, even chunks, if you so desire. With both of these tools, the shell of the pineapple remains intact, so you can use it to serve your diced pineapple, a yummy fruit salad, or as a nice, big glass for a delicious cocktail. (pina colada with an umbrella, anyone?)
So here we go – the pineapple – demystified!
Step 1: Using a large kitchen knife, lay the pineapple on its side on a cutting board and chop the top off, making sure that you’re creating a level surface. If the bottom of the fruit is causing it sit unevenly, chop just enough off so that it’s fairly level. If you want to leave the shell intact, especially for a beverage, you don’t want to cut into the fruit.
Step 2: Stand the pineapple up on its bottom. Insert the pineapple tool so that the circle in the center is lined up with the core, and press the little teeth into the flesh.
Step 3: I usually move the pineapple into a shallow bowl so there’s a vesicle to catch all that sweet juice. Applying gentle pressure, turn the tool clockwise. It will make it’s way down into fruit a little with every turn. Stop when you meet resistance, the tool has reached the bottom.
Step 4: Pull the tool up, separating it and the fruit rings from the shell. You might have to wiggle it a little bit to get it started, but it really doesn’t take much effort.
Step 5: Set it down on your cutting board and press the little buttons right underneath the handle to remove it. You can then slide your pineapple rings off the tool, and the core is trapped in the middle. You can just use a finger and push the core out. The rings will be in one big spiral when you get done, so just take your kitchen knife and run it down the side of your tower of rings to separate them. Now you have the juice, your pretty rings, and a hollowed-out pineapple – Easy Peasy!
For a great recipe that utilizes my favorite fruit, check out my Fiery Island Chops!