I’ve just returned from my Hawaiian vacation two days ago and I’m already yearning for all the wonderful tropical fruits at the Hilo Farmers’ Market – especially the sugar-sweet, deliciously fragrant pineapples.
Last Saturday, I took my prize fruit back to our plantation-style vacation rental in Hakalau and cut it up on our lanai. I did it the way my mother taught me years ago, growing up in Hawaii.
When buying a pineapple, look for one that’s plump and heavy for its size. Give it a gentle squeeze – the fruit should give slightly, but not too much. Smell the pineapple. It should be very fragrant.
Using a sharp chef’s knife (mine, from the vacation home was not very), cut off the crown and then the base. Then slice off the rind. The bracts on the pineapple rind go deep into the fruit. Remove the bracts with a paring knife, cutting shallow diagonal channels across the pineapple. If there are any bruised or brown parts, trim those off, too.
My mom always cut the pineapple in lengthwise wedges instead of crosswise slices because the base of the pineapple is sweeter than the top. By cutting in wedges, everyone gets a bit of the sweetest and a bit of the not-as-sweet part. Mom always said we should start eating from the less-sweet side, finishing up with the sweetest.
The pineapple in Hawaii was so tender, we ate it down to the core. If the pineapple you buy has a fibrous core, just slice it off each wedge.
I like to eat pineapple as is, but here are some ways to use the cut fruit if you’d like to do more with it.
- Cut the wedges into chunks and add to a fruit salad.
- Chop the pineapple and combine with chopped onion, chopped cilantro, minced jalapeno, lime juice and a pinch of salt for a pineapple salsa to serve with tortilla chips.
- Grill pineapple wedges and serve as a side dish for grilled chicken.
- Or grill pineapple wedges, dice and use it as a tropical topping for ice cream.
- Combine pineapple bits with other fruits and blend into a smoothie.
Special Fork is a recipe website for your smartphone and PC that solves the daily dinnertime dilemma: what to cook now! Our bloggers blog Monday through Friday to give you cooking inspiration. Check out our recipe database for quick ideas that take no more than 30 minutes of prep time. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.