Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How to Cut Open the Mighty, Prickly Pineapple

Although most people picture Hawaii as the place to find pineapples, Christopher Columbus, the same explorer who "sailed the ocean blue" to discover the Americas for Spain, found pineapples on the island of Guadalupe. Landing on the island in 1493, on his second trip to the New World, he came upon a Carib Indian village, with serpent designs carved into pillars and this strange fruit that Columbus described as looking like a pine cone but tasting sweet like an apple. I suppose that's where the name pine-apple came from.

ripe pineapple
Pineapples are gorgeous in their natural skins. The real beauty is in the aroma and taste of the succulent fruit inside, as it presents itself to any kitchen knife wielding home cook who can conquer the prickly prize. There's an art to opening a pineapple. Without this precious knowledge you could end up with stinging finger pricks, giant fruit flying across a slippery counter onto the floor, or a long tedious ordeal trying to peel the skin off this elusive treat.

Oh, you could go buy cut-up pineapple. But where's the fun of that? Who ever got bragging rights for opening a plastic container? Right. So here you go: How to cut open a pineapple in five easy steps.


slice top off pineapple

1. When a pineapple is ripe, its leaves should be fresh and green, the fruit's body firm. With clean hands, lay the pineapple on its side and cut of the top, 1/2 inch or so below the leaves. Now cut 1/2 inch off the bottom.

peel a pineapple

2. Now you can stand that beast on end and slice away the tough skin, deep enough to get most of the "eyes" out.

how to cut a pineapple

3. From here you have a choice. Lay the pineapple back down and slice it into rings, coring the center of each slice, or ...

keep the fruit upright and slice it carefully into quarters, like the one on the right.

4.  If you cut it this way, you still need to remove the tough core. Just lay each quarter on its side and slice off the hard center in one go.

5.  Now you're ready to create toothpick worthy chunks.

Hello, party.

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