Canned pineapple is no match for the vibrant sweet-tart flavor of fresh pineapple, but the effort to wrangle one often drives people away. But, once you know how to attack the spiky fruit, cutting it into edible chunks takes only minutes.
Choose a pineapple that smells sweet and fresh, and has an even amount of yellow and green skin — all green means your fruit is under ripe, all yellow is overripe. The spiky leaves on top should be green and stiff; never dry, brown or shriveled.
Create Flat Base
Begin by cutting off the top and bottom of the pineapple to create a stable base on which to work. This will also allow you to see the depth of the spines in skin, so you know where to make the next cut.
Remove Pineapple Skin
Stand the pineapple on its bottom and use a large knife to cut downward to remove the spiky skin. Repeat this cut around the perimeter of the pineapple until all the skin has been removed.
If a few deep spines remain after removing the skin, you can use a small paring knife to cut them out. Vegetable peelers with a sharp end designed to remove eyes on potatoes will also work well for this job.
Quarter the Pineapple
Once the spiny skin is removed, cut the pineapple into quarters, lengthwise, to yield four large spears.
Remove the Core
The inner core of the pineapple is hard and unpalatable, so it should be removed before cutting the pineapple into chunks. Stand each spear on end and then use a knife to cut off the inner point.
Cut into Cubes
All that remains now is the soft, sweet flesh of the pineapple. Cut each spear into thirds, lengthwise, and then cut crosswise into small chunks.
Fresh pineapple chunks can be eaten immediately, refrigerated for up to four-to-five days, or frozen for later use. With just a few minutes of prep work and you’ve got three cans worth of pineapple with ten times the flavor.
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