Just before we get into that business, why is it called a pineapple? It looks nothing like an apple, thought I guess it is pokey like a pine cone… OK, that’s over, back to the fruit at hand.
With Summer heating things up, the grocers and markets are filled with delicious fruits, particularly those from more tropical climates. Pineapple happens to be one of my favorite fruits. Love, love, love IT! Love it! Believe me, once you’ve had a taste of fresh pineapple, you’ll snicker at the canned stuff. I want to make sure you eat as many of these fresh babies as possible, so I’ll give you some pointers to help you break it down.
Picking Pineapples: Put your senses to work.
See: It should be a bright yellow, maybe a bit of green here and there. As with any other fruit, make sure there are no visible blemishes–brown or black spots. If you can only find them with very green peel, then take it home and allow the sugars to mature over a few days.
Touch: It should be firm to the touch, but not hard. It should give a little
Smell: Go ahead, put your nose to it. Pay special attention to the bottom, it’ll be the most fragrant area. It should smell sweet with a hint of tartness.
Pineapples can be prickly, if you have sensitive hands, you may want to use something to protect them. Now for the fun part, this is how we breakdown a pineapple in Panama.
Remove both ends. You can break off the leafy top or just use a knife to cut about 1/2-inch off the top and bottom of the pineapple. This serves 2 purposes: it will stabilize the fruit and make it easier when removing the peel with a knife.
Stand the pineapple on one end (use a cutting board) and with the knife, begin cutting off the peel of the pineapple. Move in a downward motion, always away from you. Give it a clockwise turn and repeat until you have removed all of the peel.
Remove the eyes. Cut the flesh in a shallow diagonal cuts on either sides of each row–you’ll probably be able to cut across 3-4 at a time. Remove the cut outs and repeat.
The pineapple will end up looking like a spiral. Kinda cool!
Now it is ready to slice and eat. One last thing, though. You want to make sure not to eat the core, it tends to be tough and it has an enzyme that causes your tongue to feel stiff and weird. It makes my lips feel itchy. Just stay clear of it.
Eating fresh chunks of pineapple is great, but check out this cocktail. That’s what I’m talking about!