Working with this large tropical fruit may seem intimidating, but learning how to peel a pineapple and core it is much easier than you might think! By learning the simple techniques of peeling and coring a pineapple, you can use the fruit (and its juice!) in a number of different ways.
Benefits of Learning How to Peel a Pineapple
- Save money!
It’s much less expensive than buying pre-cut fruit, and you get so much more fruit for your buck!
- Minimize food waste.
Learning how to peel and core it properly, with the right tools and techniques, allows you to use as much of the fruit as possible.
- Better flavor.
Fresh pineapple tastes SO much better than canned. It’s delicious in savory entrees like Hawaiian chicken and in desserts like pina colada cheesecake!
Helpful Things to Know
Coring a pineapple isn’t always necessary.
Depending on how you plan to use the fruit, removing the fibrous core may not be necessary. For example, in a pineapple bowl. For dishes like pineapple fried rice, just chop it up finely and toss it right into the stir fry – it softens up, so you don’t even notice it’s there.
If you need rings for an upside down cake, or chunks for a fruit salad, that’s another story. You’ll want to master how to peel and break it down, leaving as much juicy flesh as possible.
Likewise, it isn’t necessary to core a pineapple if you plan to juice it. And if you’re using a juicing machine, the sturdy center will provide leverage to help push the fruit through the machine.
How to Tell if a Pineapple Is Ripe
When it’s ripe, the body of the pineapple should be firm, with a little bit of give. The outer peel will also become more yellow as it ripens, approaching a golden yellow from the top to the bottom.
When the green lingers only at the stem, and when the center leaves can be pulled out with minimal effort, it is perfectly ripe!
How to Peel A Pineapple
Trim off the crown on top, and 1/2-inch off of the bottom before peeling the pineapple. This provides a flat surface so that it can sit flat on the cutting board.
Use a sharp knife to cut the outer peel around the natural edges of the fruit. Don’t try to get all of the “eyes” in this step or you’ll waste the flesh.
After you peel the pineapple, you can use a paring knife to carve out any remaining ‘eyes’ from the flesh, or slice them away in rows.
The eyes will line up in rows running diagonally across the flesh. This allows you to slice away several at once, cutting just deep enough to totally remove the eyes. This method is a bit more wasteful, but much quicker.
How to Core a Pineapple
Whether you’re using a corer or knife, you will again begin by trimming both the top ½-inch and bottom ½-inch of the fruit before coring a pineapple to give you a flat surface to work with.
- If using a corer, first line up the blade with the center. Slowly press down while twisting until you cut all the way through.
Slowly pull the corer back up through the fruit (you may need to wiggle it back and forth a little). Then, poke the piece out through the center of the fruit (or the corer itself, depending on what you’re using).
TFN Pro Tip
No special gadget or expensive equipment is necessary to core a pineapple. Anything with sharp edges that is close to the same size as the core will work.
Good options are small metal cookie cutters or biscuit cutters, or even a shot jigger, as shown in the photo below.
- If using a knife, begin by peeling the pineapple. Look down at it from above — you should see the core, which is often a different shade, at the center. Very carefully insert your knife and carefully work it around the edge of the core.
You can make this process easier by slicing the fruit in half after peeling and removing the eyes. Once the core is free, poke it through the center.
What can be done with the pineapple core? Is it safe to eat?
You can eat it, but it’s generally very fibrous and has an irritating, almost numbing effect on the tongue and stomach. It certainly isn’t anything we’d recommend eating on its own or in large quantities!
So then what can be done with it? You can:
- Chop it up or shave it down to use as a garnish on salads or in dressings, marinades, and syrups.
- Boil it to soften and make a puree for smoothies or popsicles!
- Cube and freeze to use as ice cubes in cold, refreshing drinks.
Storing and Freezing
The cut pieces of fruit can be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to a whole year.
Frozen chunks are great for making popsicles and smoothies, and you don’t even need to thaw them!
However, if you need to thaw the fruit for a recipe, the best way is to let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Or, place the fruit in a zip top food storage bag and submerge it in cold water.