It’s no secret Southerners love a pineapple. Both in recipes and their homes—the fruit is a symbol of welcome, hospitality, and friendship after all. So don’t let this fruit’s spiky exterior fool you—they're plenty sweet, and actually quite easy to skin, chop, and use. They come covered in a prickly and tough outer layer that may make it unclear exactly how to tackle deconstructing it. But with the right approach, you’ll have a peeled and chopped pineapple in a snap.

Sweet and oh-so-refreshing, pineapples are the basis for so many of our favorite summertime recipes, from fruity drinks to Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. Next time your recipe calls for pineapple, skip the canned fruit and cut your own fresh slices. Can't get enough of this versatile fruit? Try it grilled on a burger, sprinkled as a pizza topping, or whipped up into lighter-than-air ice cream. Or try our pineapple-coconut cupcakes with buttermilk-cream cheese frosting next time you feel like indulging. So get to peelin'!

We’ll show you how: start with a whole fresh pineapple (tip: look for green leaves and a firm outer layer) and cut off both ends (the top and bottom). Cut a thick slice off the bottom. Now the fruit can sit upright on its flat bottom. Slice off the skin in strips top to bottom making your way around the width of the pineapple. Now the hard part is over! Cut it in half, and from there slice into long wedges and remove the tough core center part. At this point, you can devour the strips or chop into smaller pieces.

We love this technique since it’s often cheaper to buy a whole pineapple and cut it up yourself, rather than buy a pre-chopped one. And well, the canned version is great for some recipes, but sometimes you just can’t beat a fresh, juicy pineapple.

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