Cutting up a whole pineapple can seem like a daunting task. With prickly leaves and a tough outer skin, it’s a surprising pick for the international symbol for hospitality. Nonetheless, it’s easy to break down a whole fruit with the method I’ve laid out here!
When Is Pineapple Season?
Pineapples are available year-round, but did you know that it’s peak season right now? They’re at their best from March through July, just in time for all of your favorite tropical, warm weather recipes. This time of year, I love throwing slices of pineapple on the grill, chopping them into salsa, or just enjoying them cut into bite-sized pieces for dessert.
There’s more than one way to skin a pineapple, that’s for sure. My style is a hybrid of Eastern and Western techniques — while I love the diagonal slicing method common in Southeast Asia (so pretty! so much less waste!), I prefer to serve my pineapple without the tough inner core. Not everybody likes the crunchy texture, and hey, why not have a cook’s treat after you’re done prepping the fruit?
The Prettiest Way to Cut a Pineapple
What You Need
Whole ripe pineapple
Large cutting board or chopping block
Large chef's knife or serrated bread knife
- Use the leafy top as a handle. Place the pineapple on a sturdy cutting surface. Leave the leafy top on the pineapple — it makes a great handle so you don’t have to grab the slippery fruit as you’re working.
- Trim the bottom and skin off. Use a sharp chef’s knife to slice off the base of the pineapple. Next, cut away a thin layer of the tough outer skin. You only want to remove enough to get rid of all of the green and fibrous parts, but leave the eyes (a.k.a. the little brown, circular indentations) of the pineapple intact. Trim away as much of the skin as you can, right up to the leafy top, without removing it.
- Make angled cuts to remove the eyes. Note that the eyes are arranged in diagonal lines curving around the pineapple. Using a paring knife, make 45º angled cuts along either side of a row of eyes, removing the excess as you go. Continue in this manner all the way around the pineapple, until you have removed all of the lines of eyes and you are left with a pretty pattern of diagonal cuts.
- Slice the pineapple into rounds. Place the pineapple on its side, and starting from the base, slice into 1-inch-thick rounds. Discard the leafy top. If you’ll be grilling the pineapple, these rounds are perfect for placing whole on the grill. If you want the fruit in bite-size chunks, cut the rounds into quarters, slice off the wedges of tough inner core, then cut the pieces to your desired size.
(Image credits: Coco Morante)