How to peel a pineapple

by Jim on 25 February 2005

I’m not sure why, but several times I’ve been asked for advice on how to cut a pineapple.  Sometimes by total strangers.  I don’t know if I just look like someone who should know, or what.

Well, I may not be an expert pineapple-slicer.  But strangely enough, I used to work at a golf and country club, and the chef there did indeed teach me how to do it right.  So the last time I had the opportunity, I took these pictures so that you too can learn to cut pineapples the way the elite do it. 🙂  Please remember that this is really only one way to slice it.  It’s good any way you slice it, especially if you buy it fresh from a market in Mexico…
The pineapple originated in South America.  It eventually became popular in the Caribbean and there became known to the Europeans when Christopher Columbus and his crew visited.

Pineapples are difficult to ripen at home (I’ve heard it said that you should turn them upside down to ripen them), so it’s best to find them fairly ripe at the market.  A good pineapple will have deep green leaves, and will smell sweet.  It should be free of bruises and very soft spots.
pineapple cut
First, slice off the top and bottom of the pineapple, as shown.
pineapple skin
Now you’re going to slice off the skin, using a knife, from top to bottom.  You can see that I’ve already done one slice here.  Now I’m going to look on the side and use that as a guide for my next slice.  At this point, I just want to cut off the skin, but I’m not worried about all the eyes.  After a few slices I’ll be all the away around the pineapple.
peeled pineapple
You’ll see that I happened to peel this pineapple in seven slices, so it is now septagon.  This will give the slices a nice look when we’re done.  At least, in theory.

Now we’re going to remove the eyes – here’s how we do it.  We’re going to take the knife and put it at an angle to the pineapple.  We’ll make two slices at an angle to take out each eye.  You’ll see what I mean in the next picture (I hope) – this is the hard part to describe.
pineapple anlges
You may have been tempted to stick the point of your knife into the pineapple and twist out the eyes.  You might save a bit more of the pineapple, but you might also mangle it, and you won’t have the cool look that I almost succeeded in getting at they end (hey, nobody said I was actually good at this!).

Now you can see what I meant by cutting at angles – there are cuts all around the pineapple, all at the same angle.  It looks almost like a screw, except of course the grooves are short and don’t go all the way around.
It’s time to actually slice the pineapple.  Try to slice it nice and evenly.  If you cut out the eyes properly, you might get a nice pinwheel effect in the final slices.  It worked for me a couple times, but of course I didn’t take a picture of those slices, so too bad for me.

I simply sliced out the core at an angle on each half slice, but another nice way to do it is with a round metal cookie-cutter, if you have one the right size.  Eating the core won’t kill you, but it’s a little hard.

There they are, in all their glory!  Serve them however you want, don’t let me intrude upon your creativity.  They’ll even keep in the fridge for a couple of days – but who wants to wait that long?
pineapple and hannah
Now your family and friends can sit down and enjoy the fruit of your labours.  There’s nothing like fresh pineapple!

If you don’t believe a word I said and want a second opinion, take it from Tony Tantillo.  He has a good overview of pineapples here. 😎

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlene March 5, 2005 at 3:34 am

Looking forward to FRESH pineapple in Angola. I hope we can grow some on the farm, especially now that I know how to cut one. Have you ever read The Pineapple Story? It is an old but great missionary story, I think you can still find it on the internet. The illustrations were marvelous. Praying for you as you travel to Ontario… God Bless!

Charlene March 5, 2005 at 3:38 am

Here is a link to A PINEAPPLE STORY, great story, especially for children and the young at heart!

Josiah January 15, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Maybe the 2008 sequel should be a video. The taking the eyes off step is a bit confusing and the only part I’d really like some clarity on. 🙂

Jim January 17, 2009 at 8:19 am

Good idea, Josiah!

Taking the eyes out is simple, and it really makes the finished product look nice, sliced or unsliced. Basically what you’re doing is cutting wedges in the pineapple at an angle, wedges that include and eye or two.

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