How to Prepare a Pineapple
Fancy spears: Cut the top (crown end) off as well as the bottom 1/2 inch of the pineapple and throw away. Set the fruit on end and using a serrated knife, cut away wide strips of the skin of the pineapple from top to bottom, leaving as much fruit as possible. If there are still “eyes” (brown circular divets) on the outside of the fruit flesh, you will see that they form diagonal lines around the pineapple. Using a knife, remove them by cutting narrow v-shaped groves diagonally around the fruit, following the pattern of the eyes. Cut the fruit in half lengthwise and in half again to make 4 long quarters. Slice away the tough core (lengthwise) and the clean quarter will remain to be sliced lengthwise into beautiful long spears. *Note: freeze the core spears to be used as stirring sticks for iced tea or other drinks.
Wedges for drinks or dipping: Cut the top and bottom 1/2 inch of the pineapple off and throw away. Put the fruit on end and cut into half lengthwise. Then cut the half into half or thirds lengthwise again (depending upon the size of wedge desired). If the core is too hard to chew, slice the hard core off lengthwise. Leave the skin on (if desired) and cut into 1/2 inch slices. If you are using the wedge as a garnish for a drink, make a 1/2 inch cut from the tip toward the middle of the wedge so you can place it on the edge of the glass.
Chunks, the quick way: Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the whole pineapple lengthwise into halves, then quarters. Use a serrated knife to slice away the tough core, then run the knife between the fruit and the skin to separate. Finally, cut the fruit into chunks or fingers-sized portions. *Note: freeze the core spears to be used as stirring sticks for iced tea or other drinks.
Quarter pineapple centerpieces: Cut the pineapple in quarters lengthwise (you can leave the top on if you choose, or you can remove the top if you find it is to difficult to cut). As above, slice the core off lengthwise and save if you wish. Take the knife and run it along the skin, cutting the fruit away from the skin. Cut the fruit into 1/2 inch slices and carefully place them back into the shell. Repeat for all 4 quarters.
Pineapple “boats”: Leave the crown and the stem end on the pineapple. For a large boat, put the pineapple on its side and using a sharp or serrated knife, slice a quarter of the fruit off lengthwise without cutting any of the crown. Use a paring knife or curved grapefruit knife, cut the fruit out of the skin, leaving a “shell boat” (try not to cut the “shell” through to the other side as the boat will “leak”). The removed fruit can be cut in chunks and then put back into the boats. If you wish to create 2 smaller boats out of one pineapple, cut the fruit in half lengthwise, slicing the crown in half also. Follow the rest of the above instructions. For a fun serving presentation, the boats can also be filled with fruit salad, main or side dish such as pineapple fried rice, or ice cream.