When I was little, one of our favorite treats was fresh pineapple. We kids would gather around the table with wide-eyed fascination as our father would carefully prep the pineapple.
My father’s method is simple, though not at all obvious by just looking at the pineapple.
How to Properly Cut a Pineapple
First you off the green spiky top. Then carefully cut the skin off the sides, as close to the edge of the pineapple as you can. The sweetest and juiciest parts of the pineapple were usually right at the very edge.
Cutting close to the edge exposes a bunch of brown, scraggly dots, called eyes, that need to be removed. You can’t eat them, they’re too prickly.
If you looked carefully you can tell that the eyes line up in a spiral. My father carefully cuts away at the eyes, making V-shaped trenches as he rotates around the pineapple to remove them.
When the pineapple is all ready to go, you can slice it in rounds or make lengthwise cuts to make spears or chunks.
How to tell a pineapple is ripe
The best way to tell that a pineapple is ripe is to pick it up and smell it from the bottom. If it smells like sweet, fresh pineapple juice, it’s ripe.
If it doesn’t smell of pineapple, it isn’t ripe. If it smells fermented, it’s over-ripe.
A ripe pineapple should be firm, not soft, and the leaves should look fresh, not dried out. The pineapple can be green, golden, or a mix, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the smell.
Contrary to a common misperception, pineapples do not continue to ripen once picked. They will get more golden, and more soft, but the sugars will not continue to develop after they’re picked. (See Hawaiian Crown and Dole articles on this.)
Pineapples should be eaten soon after they’re bought. If you need to store them, store them in the refrigerator; they’ll keep longer.
Pineapple Rounds are a Terrific Treat for Kids
My father would slice the pineapple in rounds, giving each of us forks to spear our own round in the tough center.
It’s a pineapple pop!
Then we would run outside, holding the pineapple round on our fork, and eat that pineapple ring all around the sweet juicy edges (taking our drippy mess outside).
If all the rounds were accounted for (there were six of us kids), and we were still desperate for more pineapple, we would nibble on the tough core until everything was eaten.
These days most people (sometimes me included) don’t bother with the spiral cuts, they just make deeper cuts initially to cut off the pineapple skin and the eyes together.
If you are rushed for time you can easily do that. But the far edges are the best part, especially if the pineapple is still a little green.
So here’s my dad’s way of cutting a pineapple, if you want to take a couple extra minutes to extract more of the juicy bits.