has two features that make it somewhat hard to peel
- the peel, or should I say crust, is thick, hard and anything but smooth
- the juice is very acidic, which means that
- spilling juice on clothes or other property is likely to ruin them
- carbon steel knives will leave a metallic taste
The answer to this challenge:
In my first attacks on pineapples, I attempted to rescue every last bit of flesh from the peel. This inevitably turns peeling into a major surgical procedure, requiring a lot of time and precision. In other words, it's messy. Avoid.
What we at home call a tomato knife - arthropod kindly informs me that this is not a known term - is a small serrated utility knife, with a straight back and a curved blade, ending in a pointy tip, made of stainless steel; at my local supermarket, they are cheaper than pineapples.
The dents allow the knife to cut through the peel with ease, unlike a straight bladed knife, which would have to be very sharp.
(It would actually be a waste to use a sharp blade: with stainless steel, it wastes their sharpness, with carbon steel blades, it wastes the taste.)
The pointy tip allows the knife to cut inside the pineapple without spilling.
The exact procedure I use to peel a pineapple:
- take the pineapple and tomato knife out of the bag they were brought in;
decide where the peel and the flesh will be going
- with the holding hand (left for most people), grab the pineapple firmly by its top (the leaves), with thumb and index finger on the pineapple's body, middle finger along the edge of the body, for maximal control
- with the cutting hand, grab the knife, and make inward diagonal incisions around the stem (the centre of the bottom) to cut it loose; shake the parts out
- hold the pineapple upside down from this point on; think of it as an ice cream lollipop with chocolate cover
- slice the bottom off horizontally
- put the knife vertically, slightly outwards on the slice, on the inner edge of the peel; cut downwards along the inside of the peel, towards the leaves; shake off the loose slice of peel
- turn the pineapple about 1/6th, and repeat; after 5-7 times you have removed the peel
- remaining "eyes" can be cut out with three or four small diagonal cuts, or with the pointy tip
- the bare flesh is now exposed; my usual treatment is to cut off horizontal slices, pick them up with the point, and put them where they are wanted, e.g., my mouth
I can do this without spilling a single drop of juice. Prior experience in handling ice cream handling will help.
The first slice of flesh that comes off isn't very good; if you're handing out, keep that one to yourself.
If you don't know how much of the pineapple will be needed, or if the (harder, less tasty) kernel of the pineapple needs to be removed, it's better to cut it up slice by slice:
- cut the peel loose vertically with the tip of the knife, going around one slice deep
- take the peel off by cutting around horizontally
- remove the peel ring
- remove any eyes
- cut down around the kernel if it has to be removed
- slice the flesh off horizontally