By Carl Hanson

Bite into fresh pineapple and you can almost taste the sunshine. But the pineapple's spiky crown, the tough, prickly rind -- a whole pineapple can seem inhospitable, an impenetrable fortress. And so we rarely bother to buy them. But we should. Because a fresh pineapple is easy to cut up. And so worth it.

Here's a simple step-by-step for cutting up a whole fresh pineapple. No mad knife skills required. Just a cutting board and a sharp chef's knife. But first things first.

How to Pick a Perfect Pineapple

There are three things to look for when picking out a pineapple at the market:

  • The crown should be bright green
  • The rind should be firm but yield to slight pressure
  • The base of the fruit should smell fragrant know, like a pineapple
Photo by Meredith

Okay, that sweet, juicy fruit is in there. Let's get at it!

The Best Way to Cut a Pineapple

1. Remove Both Ends

Cut about an inch off the bottom and about an inch off the top. Pro Tip: If you like, use the pineapple crown as decoration for your fruit platter. Or plant it in your garden!

Photo by Meredith

2. Trim the Sides

Stand the pineapple on its bottom and slicing from top to bottom, following the contours of the pineapple, cut away the rind in strips. And those strips? Chop them into chunks and simmer them for about 20 minutes in enough water to cover the pineapple skins. Let the "pineapple tea" cool completely, then strain and refrigerate. Sweeten with a little honey or sugar if you like.

Photo by Meredith

3. Remove the Eyes

You'll notice that the eyes aren't just haphazardly arranged on your fruit. They actually run in parallel lines, angling on a diagonal from left to right. Once you see the lines, you can slice into either side of the line, and remove the lines of eyes in long wedges.

Photo by Meredith

4. Remove the Core

Slice the peeled pineapple in half from top to bottom. Slice again lengthwise into quarters. And then slice off the core from each quarter.

Photo by Meredith

How to Slice Up Your Cut Pineapple

  • To make long pieces that are perfect for the grill, cut the quartered strips again into two or three lengthwise strips.
  • To make pieces for fruit salads, cut the long strips into bite-size pieces.
  • To make pineapple rings, start with the peeled pineapple column. Lay it on its side, and cut into rounds. Then remove the tough inner core with a circular cookie cutter -- or slice the rounds in half and use a melon baller.
Photo by Meredith

VIDEO: How to Cut a Pineapple

Now see how it's done! This short video shows you how to cut up a whole pineapple, slicing away the prickly skin and tough inner core. You'll see how to cut it up into slices, chunks, and pineapple rings.

Pineapple Recipes You Should Know

Now that you've liberated your tropical treasure from its fortress of rind, it's time to reap the rewards. A simple fruit platter is a genius move -- fresh pineapple doesn't need more than a hand to carry it up to your mouth. But there are also tons of both sweet and savory recipes that call for pineapple and demand your attention. And don't miss our 14 Best Savory Main Dish Recipes with Pineapple.

Some of our favorite top-rated recipes with fresh pineapple:

Pineapple Jalapeño Pizza

"Tropical goodness with a kick! A perfect balance of sweet, savory, and spicy in every bite! A great party pleaser or a quick and easy meal for those hectic days!" -- Catherella1

Pineapple and Banana Smoothie

"Pineapple is a great post-workout fruit to help minimize soreness. Everyone loved it! I couldn't believe with just a few simple ingredients, we could get such a yummy tropical drink." -- princessncali

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

"This is THE BEST pineapple upside-down cake EVER. No lie, I've made this so many times I cant keep up. Fresh pineapple is a must. And that brown butter is awesome." -- NRD

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

"Really great on grilled chicken and fish. It was also good on tacos and salad. I ate it with chips, too. All around good with a nice kick from the jalapeño." -- LAURA*P

Grilled Pineapple with Mascarpone Cream

"I fell in love with this recipe the moment I saw it. Definitely a hit among the whole family. Perfect summer dessert that is refreshing and lower in calorie." -- Flasteph

Find more delicious fresh pineapple recipes.