I'm remembering a jingle from more than twenty years ago; a commercial about the joys of eating California-grown fruit. Your typical banal lyrics, but the last line has been rattling around in my head ever since.
"It wouldn't be summer without 'em."
That about sums it up for me. I can't swim (gasp!), my bicycle fell victim to a car, and I gave up volleyball when I accidentally knocked a team mate unconscious. It was a great game right up until that point...
Anyway, with various typical summer activities beyond my grasp, I can at least enjoy the food. Who doesn't love a bowl of ice-cold cherries on a hot day? How about a sun-warmed peach? Why not try that most impressive and intimidating of fruits, the fresh pineappple?
Let's face it, a pineapple can be scary. All those spiky bits, no "press on the dotted line to open" markings; it's too easy to make a bad ripeness call and waste your money. Fear not, future feaster! Enjoying fresh pineapple is easier than you think.
According to quite a few websites (including Dole and the New York Times), what you buy at the market is what you get. Like certain other fruits, pineapples do not ripen further after picking. Harvesters must compromise between "Wow, that's yummy" and "Sweeeeeeeeeet!", because a fully ripe pineapple is not a happy traveler. Since they want to keep their customers happy, they choose fruit that's as close to perfectly ripe as possible for shipping to stores.
Choose a pretty pineapple. Fresh leaves and a firm body are important, at least in this instance. Soft or discolored spots should be bypassed. While pineapples can be ripe even while still green, try to get one with a yellow tint, just to be on the safe side. As a further precaution, buy your pineapple the day you plan to serve it.
From this point, all you need is good cutting equipment and a towel. For a straightforward introduction to the cutting and serving of pineapple, try this website, complete with pictures.
What's your favorite way to serve pineapple?