How to: Pick and Peel a Pineapple

Sing it: Summer, summer, summertime Time to sit back and relax

I'm sorry, I caught myself summoning Will Smith there. Moving on. With the advent of summer and record high temps in the Houston area, all I can think of is fresh fruit and light cocktails. It's a great time to find pineapples. They're available canned (bleh) or already peeled and chopped, for twice as much as what you'd pay for a whole, fresh one, which is obviously what we recommend buying. Here's how to pick a pineapple and break that baby down.

Just like when you're eating, use your senses to pick the right one.

Stare at it: It should be a bright yellow, maybe a bit of green here and there. Avoid any visible blemishes -- brown or black spots. If you can only find them with a very green peel, then take it home, let it hang out on your counter, and it will ripen in a few days.

Feel it up: It should be firm to the touch, but not hard. It should give a little.

Give it a whiff: Sniff that booty, I mean, the bottom; it should be fragrant, sweet with a hint of tartness.

This is how we break down a pineapple in Panama:

  • Remove both ends. You can break off the leafy top or just use a knife to cut about 1/2-inch off the top and bottom of the pineapple. This will stabilize the fruit and make it easier when removing the peel with a knife.
  • Stand the pineapple on a cutting board and with the knife, begin slicing off the peel; no need to go deep, you will clean it up once all the tough peel is gone. Move in a downward motion, always away from you. Give it a clockwise turn and repeat until you have removed all of the peel.
  • Remove the eyes. Cut the flesh in shallow diagonal slits on either side of each row--you'll probably be able to cut across three to four at a time. Remove the cut-outs and repeat.
  • The pineapple will end up looking like a spiral. Now it is ready to slice and enjoy.

    Word of caution: Make sure not to eat the core, it tends to be tough and it has an enzyme that causes your tongue to feel stiff and weird. Stay clear of it, and you'll thoroughly enjoy your pineapple.

  • What's your favorite summer fruit?

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