You don’t have to travel to Hawaii to get a taste of the islands; pineapples are one of the rare imported fruits that travel well, so pick one up at your local grocery store and enjoy bringing a little stay-cation into your daily routine. Keep reading for all you need to know about picking and cutting a pineapple, as well as some quick and easy recipes that you’re sure to love.
How to Pick a Ripe Pineapple
Fruit that is imported can look wilted, so make sure to pick a pineapple that’s fresh looking. Look for green leaves and a firm body; the skin color is not necessarily a sign of ripeness. Pineapples don’t ripen any further once they are picked, so the sooner they are eaten, the better.
How to Cut a Pineapple
There are plenty of fancy contraptions that claim to help you cut a pineapple with ease. But let me tell you from experience, all you need is a sharp knife and a cutting board. Okay, and maybe a few paper towels.
First, twist off the top leaves. Then cut off the top and bottom to allow for a flat cutting surface. Next, cut the pineapple into quarters. “Peel” the skin with your knife and cut out the core. Slice into cubes, and store in an airtight container.
Pineapples for Breakfast
Mimosas are one of my favorite parts of brunch. Whether you’re feeding a crowd or making breakfast for one, it’s easy to spice up this traditional brunch cocktail with pineapple juice. Pineapple juice is available in most stores, or use a juicer for an extra fresh burst of tropical flavor.
Serves 1, but is easily multiplied
- 2 ounces pineapple juice
- 3 ounces sparkling wine
- 1 slice pineapple for garnish
Pour juice and sparkling wine into a champagne glass, and top with pineapple garnish. Drink and repeat!
Pineapples for Lunch
Spice up your turkey sandwich lunch routine with a teriyaki turkey burger topped with grilled pineapple slices. This burger is easy to make and perfect for making the night before.
Teri Turkey Burger with Grilled Pineapple
Makes 4 servings
- 1 pound ground lean turkey
- 1 bottle of your favorite teriyaki sauce
- 4 1/2-inch slices of pineapple
- 4 whole wheat buns
- Other garnishes as desired: lettuce, tomato slices, mustard, onions, cheese, pickles
Divide the ground turkey into 4 patties, and let soak in teriyaki sauce for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Add burgers and pineapple slices to hot grill, and cook through, flipping once. Add patty and pineapple to bun, along with your favorite toppings.
Pineapple for Dinner
Summer is right around the corner, and there’s nothing better than dinner on the grill. Skewer bite-sized pineapple chunks along with your favorite meat and veggies and pop on the grill for a quick and easy dinner. Here’s one of my favorite flavor combinations:
Grilled Pineapple and Shrimp Kebabs
- 1 cup cubed pineapple
- 1 cup shrimp, washed and deveined
- 1 red pepper, cubed
- 1/4-pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Skewer sticks
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Coarse salt and pepper
Soak sticks for 15 minutes (to prevent burning on the grill) while you prep and cut ingredients. Then slide ingredients onto sticks and sprinkle with paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook on hot grill for 5-7 minutes. Flip skewer and cook for another few minutes until shrimp is cooked all the way through and veggies are slightly softened. Serve as-is or with your favorite rice dish.
Pineapple for Dessert
It’s safe to say that I saved the best for last! I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of chocolate-covered strawberries, but chocolate-covered pineapple has gotten the shaft. I only recently started making it, and I may be slightly obsessed. Try it for yourself and I guarantee you will be, too!
Chocolate-dipped Pineapple Spears
- 1/2 pineapple, quartered, cored, and skinned
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon shortening, optional
- Wax paper
Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl according to package directions. Pat pineapple spears on a paper towel to dry slightly, and dip into chocolate one at a time. Tap spear on side of bowl to remove excess chocolate and lay flat on wax paper to cool and harden. If chocolate is too chunky, add shortening to melted chocolate and stir well to help smooth.
It’s really easy to incorporate a little tropical into your life, thanks to the diversity of pineapple. So go on and try it — it’ll make your day a little more sunny.
All photos are courtesy of the author.