During my honeymoon I was eating fresh pineapple every day in Maui, which was heaven to me because I love pineapple. However, for many people the only experience they have with pineapple is out of a can, which is heart breaking for true pineapple lovers. Two weeks ago at work I had an employee ask me how to pick and cut a pineapple. I explained it in person but I figured it would be best to use pictures to show the process.
There are three indicators on a pineapple as to how ripe it is, once you learn all three it is very easy to pick a sweet pineapple. The first indicator is the cell size, when you look at a pineapple it is made up of a bunch of cells (see picture above). When I say a “cell” I am referring to the five sided segments of the pineapple outer shell that makes up the structure of the pineapple. If you put a few pineapples together you can clearly see that the size of the cell varies from pineapple to pineapple. You want the cell to be as large as possible because as a pineapple grows the cell expands. The larger the cell the more ripe the pineapple, the smaller the cell the younger the pineapple.
The second method is the smell. If you pick up a ripe pineapple and smell the bottom (where the pineapple fruit broke off from the stem) it should smell like pineapple. If it doesn’t smell like anything, then it isn’t ripe yet.
The third method is to grab one of the center leaves on the top of the pineapple and give it a very light tug. If the leaf easily comes off then the pineapple is ripe. If the leaf doesn’t want to come off then it isn’t ripe yet, 9/10 times when the bottom smells like pineapple the leaves will easily pull out at the top.
Now that you know how to select a pineapple you have to know how to properly cut a pineapple. Take a sharp knife and cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple. Make sure you only cut off about 1/2″ from the top and bottom because you don’t want to waste too much of the edible pineapple “meat”.
Use your sharp knife and carefully “carve” the sides off the pineapple.
Make sure to follow the shape of the pineapple so you only remove the outer skin (rind). In the picture above I laid the pineapple on its side so you can easily see the curve of the pineapple, but when you actually cut it make sure the pineapple is sitting on the flat bottom side for stability.
You should end up with a six sided pineapple once you removed all the sides.
Now just cut the pineapple in half right down the middle.
Lay the pineapple halves on the large flat side then use your knife and cut diagonally towards the center so you are left with six even pieces.
Lay each piece on its side so the center of the pineapple is exposed against the chopping board so you can easily cut the center off. Only remove the “hard” part that is too tough to eat. I like to juice the center part but you can just throw it away if you don’t want to juice it.
Once you remove the center from each piece you should be left with six pineapple “spears” like you would find at Disneyland. The difference is if you buy a whole pineapple and cut it yourself each spear should only cost you about $0.50 instead of paying $3 a piece at Disneyland. Now that you know how to pick and cut a pineapple, you too can enjoy my favorite fruit.