Thursday, February 9, 2012

Make A Pretty Pineapple Fruit Platter

Fresh, sweet, juicy, delicious pineapple.  My research said pineapple is second only to the banana as America's favorite tropical fruit.  For me, it would be the most favorite fruit!  Oh, pineapple is so good.  Years and years ago, I found an article in some magazine or the other that showed how to make a "pretty pineapple" as I call it and I have been serving them this way ever since.  I have cut them up for many people, including our daughters, but it's really not difficult.

Pineapple is what I would call an awkward fruit.  It's hard and prickly and rolls around and  how do you cut one up?  Since it comes in cans and is usually cut in rings, we tend to think of serving it that way.  You can also cut it in chunks or you can cheat and buy it at the grocery already cut up.   Don't do that.  Try making your own "pretty pineapple."

Native to southern Brazil and Paraguay (perhaps especially the Parana-Paraguay River) area where wild relatives occur, the pineapple was apparently domesticated by the Indians and carried by them up through South and Central America to Mexico and the West Indies long before the arrival of Europeans. Christopher Columbus and his shipmates saw the pineapple for the first time on the island of Guadeloupe in 1493 and then again in Panama in 1502. Caribbean Indians placed pineapples or pineapple crowns outside the entrances to their dwellings as symbols of friendship and hospitality. Europeans adopted the motif and the fruit was represented in carvings over doorways in Spain, England, and later in New England for many years.  Wikipedia

No, pineapple didn't come from Hawaii.  Just thought you might like that little bit of history.  Can you tell I have been married to a history teacher for 42 years?

How do you choose a "good" pineapple at the market?   They never get more ripe than they were at the time of harvest, so it's not you picking the wrong pineapple, it's the pineapple.  Everything I have read says try to get a heavy pineapple - that indicates a lot of flesh and juice.  Smell the bottom of the pineapple - you want a sweet pineapple scent.  Also, pull one of the inner leaves from the crown.  If it comes away easily, the pineapple is ripe.  A pineapple can be left on the counter for 1-2 days before using.  If you don't use it within that time, put it in a plastic bag and keep it in the refrigerator.  It will be good for another 3 days.

Now, how exactly do you cut up a pineapple?  Here is how I do it.  Twist or cut the leafy top off and discard.  Sit the pineapple on a cutting board upright, and using a long serrated knife, cut it in half and then in half again so that you have 4 quarters.  Now, to make a "pretty pineapple."

Take the same knife and remove the core from each quarter.  Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of that process, but you can see and "feel" where that hard core is.  After you remove the core from each quarter, your pineapple will look like this.

See how you have a nice flat top where the core used to be?  That's what you want.  Next, take your long serrated knife and start at one end of the yellow fruit (inside the area that is kind of hard) and cut the fruit in about 3/4 inch segments all the way down to the the other end.  Cut all the way down to the bottom of the soft fruit until you hit the hard outer part of the pineapple.
Next, take your long serrated knife, and starting at one end where you made your first cut, cut underneath all the segments you made, cutting from one end to the other.  Then, slide the segments in opposite directions all the way down, making your fruit look like this.

See?  It's a pretty pineapple.  Repeat this process with all four quarters.  It is not hard, just take your time.  It really doesn't take that long to do.  Now, use  a large platter or tray and arrange your pineapple.  I have some big round glass plates that I use, and I also have a silver tray that I use from time to time.    I place the pineapple quarters at north, south, east and west and then fill in between with other fresh fruit.  You can decide how you want to arrange yours.
Fill in with fruit that you like.  For Superbowl Sunday, I used strawberries, grapes and kiwi as you can see in the picture above.  If you are using fruit that will brown, like apples or bananas, squeeze some lemon juice over them to keep them from browning.  You could also put a bowl of fruit dip in the middle if you wanted.

I always try to have a fruit platter for those who don't eat dessert or have dietary restrictions.  Not only is fruit healthy, it is delicious.   The grandsons love it!

Next time you have a party or company coming over, make a "pretty pineapple" and fill in with additional fruit of your choosing.  You are going to get some oohs and aahs and questions about how you made such a lovely dish.  Just tell 'em Everyday Donna told you how.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.   Mother Teresa

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