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Pineapples: The Essential How-To Guide | Families

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Pineapples: The Essential How-To Guide
Pineapples: The Essential How-To Guide

Who doesn't love a pineapple? They're delicious! Whether cubed, juiced, in salsa, on ham, or even in a smoothie. But there they are, in the exotic fruit section, all spiky and daunting. And you wonder, how do you cut into that?! Not to worry, all you need is a little guidance.

Breaking the Skin

The first step into pineapple paradise is, of course, getting to the pulp. Most pineapples at the store come with a little card attached with directions for easy cutting. If yours didn't, here's my way:

  1. Grab a serrated knife. It will make the process much easier.
  2. Cut the top and bottom off (save the leafy top part for a fun activity I'll describe later).
  3. Slowly slice the rind off from top to bottom using a sawing motion (as if cutting bread). Don't be afraid to get in there, slice deep enough into the rind to get all the little brown circles. Follow the shape of the fruit. You'll know you're doing it right when you get to the juicy yellow pulp.
  4. Slice the remaining cylinder in two, top to bottom. If you try to do it horizontally, you'll have a tough time getting through the core. Then slice each half into three long spears. 
  5. The core is perfectly edible, though really tough and fibrous, so I cut around it. The result will be six long, thick spears of pineapple (perfect for grilling). After that, you can slice it into cubes or whatever other shape your recipe requires.

 

Tips

  • Sprinkle a little brown sugar on the spears and grill for an easy and exotic dessert at your next BBQ. Served with coconut ice cream's even better!
  • Cut into cubes and freeze to make fruity ice cubes for your punch.

 

Tropical Delight Smoothie

  • 1/3 Cup frozen pineapple cubes
  • 1 small banana, sliced
  • 1 14oz. can of coconut milk

Put everything in blender and blend! If too thick, add a couple tablespoons of water or pineapple juice. Taste it before adding any sugar, I find it's delicious without it. Also good with mango or passion fruit.

 

Pineapple Salsa

  • 1 Cup diced pineapple
  • 1 Tbsp. minced red onion
  • 2 Tsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tsp. minced jalapeno (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 Tsp. minced garlic
  • dash of salt

Mix everything together and let sit for at least an hour so all the flavors combine. Easy on the onion, it can be overpowering. This salsa is great on grilled fish or just with chips!

 

Fun Stuff

If you plant the leafy top part in a pot (remove any excess fruit still attached to it), it will grow into a beautiful pineapple plant that will eventually yield a pineapple! It can take up to two years for your plant to fruit, but you can speed up the process by cutting an apple into quarters and placing a wedge among the leaves six to eight months after planting. Something about a specific chemical from the apple that speeds up growth... it's all very technical, either way it's beautiful. It only requires partial sunlight, so it's the perfect houseplant!

 

 

Sources

  • Byron E. and Laurelynn G. Martin, Growing Tasty Tropical Plants in Any Home Anywhere, Storey 2010.
  • Robert E. Paull, The Pineapple, CABI 2002.



Originally published on Suite101.com 

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