Saturday, June 2, 2012

Technique: Cutting Pineapple

Have you ever felt at the mercy of a pineapple?  I have.  I had forgotten how I used to struggle with cutting one up.  If I cut too little, the tough brown casings aroud the seeds ruined the final product; if I cut too much, there wasn't much final product at all.  Speaking with a friend recently reminded me of those trials and tribulations and made me realize that I was not alone.  But I eventually got a good technique and have been off and enjoying pineapple ever since.  So here is a technique for cutting up a pineapple that minimizes waste and cuts away the brown spots, without taking a super-long time.

First, use a broad knife to cut away the top and the bottom of the pineapple, and then cut the remaining cylinder into disks about half and inch or so thick:

You will then trim the edges of each round.  I think of this as the Octagon Method, but as you can see, the number of cuts is not always eight:

Trimming the edges can get tricky for the top and bottom slice, which are narrower on one side than the other.  Slowing down my process helps.  I make sure the narrower side is face up, then trim using angled cuts rather than vertical ones.  The angled cut follows the arc of the pineapple to remove the tough outer layers without wasting too much of the fruit.*

I usually cut the resulting disk in half, cut out the core, and then chop what's left. Any tricks for taking out the core more easily?  I'm wondering if a properly sized cookie cutter would do the trick!


*The thicker your slices, the larger number of sides your polygon will need to minimize waste.  Of course, there will be some waste unless you have an infinite number of cuts or an infinite number and thinness of slices.  And if you're a geek, this is fun to think about as an introduction to calculus.

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