Where would tiki be without the pineapple? Cocktails like the Painkiller and Rum Runner wouldn’t exist. Without verdant pineapple leaves there would be a void in our garnish game. And no one would experience the pure tropical joy of sipping a Piña Colada from the hollowed-out fruit. The pineapple, in short, is kind of a big deal.
But pineapples can be daunting. The fruit’s rough outer skin makes it difficult to determine if it’s ripe. And you can’t simply bite into it or even use a peeler to remove said skin. You might also be wondering how much trouble it actually takes to turn a pineapple into a cup. Because we love the big, spiky yellow-green fruit and want you to love it too, we put together this handy how-to guide for all things pineapple. Use it well and use it often.
How to Identify a Ripe Pineapple
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Tools: Nose, hands
Step 1: Give the pineapple a big sniff. If it smells strongly of sweet, sweet pineapple, you’ve found a good one.
Step 2: Give one of the pineapple’s middle leaves a good tug. If it detaches from the fruit with minimal resistance, it’s ripe.
How to Peel a Pineapple
Tools: Sharp knife
Step 1: Lay the pineapple on its side. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice off the leafy top of the fruit. Set aside or wear as a hat. Slice off the bottom in the same way to create a flat surface.
Step 2: Turn the pineapple so it is standing vertically. Holding the pineapple steady with your less dominant hand, start at the top of the pineapple and begin slicing the skin off in one long cut that goes all the way to the bottom
Step 3: Repeat on all sides of the pineapple until the skin is completely removed.
How to Turn a Pineapple Into a Cup
Tools: Pineapple corer and/or sharp knife, large spoon
Step 1: Lay the pineapple on its side. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice off the leafy top of the fruit. Set aside or, again, wear as a hat.
Step 2: If you’re using a pineapple corer, twist the tool into the fruit and pull out the slices. Use a knife to remove the remaining core.
Step 3: If you don’t have a pineapple corer, run a knife in a circular motion along the inside of the pineapple, about half an inch in from the outer skin. Be careful not to pierce the bottom of the fruit or your tasty cocktail will escape.
Step 4: Once you’ve cut a complete circle inside the pineapple, use your knife to cut the inside core across twice, making four pieces.
Step 5: Use a large spoon to scoop out the fruit.
How to Make an Elaborate Cocktail Glass out of a Pineapple
Step 1: Slice off the leafy top of the pineapple. Then use a knife to cut a small, triangular notch in the edge of the flesh to create an opening for the straw.
Step 2: Core the pineapple (see above) and pour a cocktail inside. Reattach the top of the pineapple and secure with a toothpick garnish.
Step 3: Insert a straw into the opening and enjoy.
How to Garnish With Pineapple Leaves
Step 1: Pull out pineapple leaves one by one. These should come out easily if the pineapple is ripe.
Step 2: If you are going for a minimalist tropical garnish, simply place a leaf or two into your cocktail.
Step 3: If you want your pineapple leaf garnish to look a little fancier, spread two or three of the leaves into a fan. Secure the bottom of the leaves with a toothpick, then attach them to a wedge of pineapple and maraschino cherry.