Monday, March 1, 2010

How to Cut a Pineapple (safely and easily)


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I’m not the most coordinated person in the kitchen. I’m dangerous with a knife, especially when the knife is extremely sharp.

Back in July, about a week after purchasing a new knife, I’m innocently cutting up a green pepper to add to some eggs on Saturday morning. I’m chatting away with Mr.Surly as I chop, somehow lose concentration and almost completely took off the tip of my thumb. It cut right through the tip of my nail and thumb, leaving the very tip of my thumb hanging by a flap. After nearly fainting from blood loss, I wrapped my hand in a towel and Mr.Surly raced us to the hospital. Luckily the ER was empty so I was able to be seen immediately. Thank goodness the knife was sharp, so the cut was clean (apparently a dull knife will cause more damage), making for an easy reattachment. The doctor was able to sew the flap down and a couple stitches and Percocet later I’m back at home resting.

It’s been almost 8 months and I’m just now getting full sensation back on the tip of my thumb. I am happy to report that it has totally healed; looking at my thumb now you would never know that I nearly lost the tip of it. Needless to say, I’m still nervous of chopping things. So when Mr.Surly brought home a pineapple and asked me to cut it up so he could add it to his morning smoothies, I was a bit hesitant at first. If cutting a relatively soft green pepper almost caused me to lose the tip of my thumb, how was I going to manage cutting into a much tougher pineapple and still retain all 10 fingers?

I did a bit of research on youtube to find, what I felt, would be the safest way to cut the pineapple with little to no chance of injury. Finally, I came across this video. “This looks like something I could do,” I thought to myself. I’d like to give a shout out to Allegra1958 (who posted this video). Thanks to your informative video I can cut up a pineapple and avoid a trip to the ER. I thought I’d share so that others who, like me, are accident prone in the kitchen will also be able to confidently cut a fresh pineapple. Hopefully, it will save someone a trip to the hospital. I encourage you to check out the video (link here). Below I’ve given my own step by step. I apologize in advance for the pics; some are pretty blurry. It was hard photographing myself, while simultaneously trying to keep pineapple juice from getting all over my camera and avoiding cutting off my fingers.

How to Cut a Pineapple

Step 1: First, you want grab a cutting board with a non-slip grip bottom. If you don’t have one, moisten a kitchen towel and put it under your cutting board (a tip I learned from Martha Stewart). Trust me, you don't what that cutting board moving when your trying to cut into a tough pineapple with a sharp knife. Cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple so that it sits level on your cutting board, like so:
how to cut a pineapple

Step 2: Next, cut the pineapple into eighths. Below you can see that I only cut mine into fourths, this is because my pineapple was small and I didn’t trust myself to cut it any smaller. I felt that smaller slices would be harder to handle. After my accident, I like to err of the side of caution.
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Step 3: Now you need to remove the core. Take each eighth (or fourth) slice and cut off the tip, removing the stiff core. You’ll be able to see the edge of the core, just make sure to cut it all off of the slice.
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Step 4: Lay the slice down on the cutting board and make cuts all along the length, however thick you want your pieces of pineapple to be.
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Step 5: Using the palm of your hand, gently press down on the pineapple with the heel of your hand. Carefully slide the knife along the bottom of the slice. Your knife should glide along easily, if it doesn’t that means you’re too close to the skin. (Note the tip of my thumb in the picture below, it’s the one that I cut off about 1/4". You can’t even tell now can you? It took a couple months to regenerate and look normal again. The human body is amazing in its ability to heal).
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Sometimes, once I get near the end of the slice, I will stand it up to cut off the rest of the pineapple. No reason other than it makes me feel safer when cutting. (Please excuse my red fingers; I’m an obsessive hand-washer, and the air is dry).
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That's it. Put your pineapple in an container and refrigerate. That wasn't so bad, now, was it? If I can do it, then anyone can do it.

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