Preparing these prickly fruits can be a bit daunting if you haven’t done it before, so follow our simple steps to minimise waste and faff. Talking of waste, the skin and core that’s left over from your pineapple prep can be used to make a delicious iced tea – giving them one more use before they hit the compost bin.
Ripe pineapples will be a green or golden/grey colour, and if you pull out a spiky leaf from the top of the crown it should pop out with very little effort.
Pineapples are intensely sweet, with a citrusy sharpness and strong fruity perfume. Their sweetness means they’re great in desserts or fruit salads but their sharpness also works well in savoury recipes, including salsas, marinades, and fish dishes. Not only does a slice of pineapple count towards your 5-a-day, they’re a good source of fibre and vitamins too.
For pineapple chunks
These small blocks of pineapple are perfect for fruit salads, fruit kebabs or adding to savoury dishes – or even for the barbecue.
- 1 ripe pineapple
- Cut off the base and the leafy top of the pineapple and discard them. Stand the fruit up on one of the cut ends.
- Slice away the tough skin using a sharp or serrated knife, curving the blade a little as you cut to follow the shape of the pineapple.
- You will find that there are small indentations on the fruit with small spokes in the middle – these are called the eyes. To remove these you can either slice the skin off with a deeper incision, or cut them out in a groove from one eye to another in a diagonal line. This will result in a corkscrew style design when you have finished.
- To remove the core, quarter the pineapple and slice the core away from the middle of each quarter.
- Chop the remaining pineapple flesh into large chunks, or cut each quarter in half again before chopping into small pieces.
For pineapple slices or rings
Thin slices of pineapple can be served as part of a fresh fruit platter or to decorate a dessert. You can leave the core in, as it’s edible but a little tougher than the rest of the fruit, or you can cut it out if you prefer.
Slice the pineapple thickly and remove the core to make pineapple rings. These can be used in classic recipes like pineapple upside-down cakes, or simply griddled.
- 1 ripe pineapple
- Use a serrated knife to top and tail the pineapple, then stand it upright on a chopping board. With the sharp knife, carve the skin away and discard.
- Remove the eyes from the pineapple either by slicing them out with a knife or carving them out in a groove all the way around the pineapple, producing a spiral effect.
- Rest the pineapple on its side, then cut into wafer-thin slices for pineapple carpaccio or cut into thicker slices if you prefer.
- For pineapple rings, lay a thick slice of pineapple on the board and cut the core out using a small round cookie cutter. Repeat with the rest of the slices.
How to tell if a pineapple is ripe
Ripe pineapples should have a good strong ‘sweet’ fragrance and a golden colour. Avoid fruits that have an unpleasant smell or a discoloured skin.