Pineapple Cutters

Published May 1, 2012. From Cook's Illustrated.

If you have your heart set on fresh pineapple in a hurry, a dedicated pineapple cutter may be just what you need.

Overview:

Update September 2012:

Earlier this year we chose the Rösle Pineapple Slicer as our favorite tool for slicing and coring a whole pineapple. The only problem? Its $30 price. Now another manufacturer has come along with a similar corkscrew design costing a third less. For $19.99, our new winner let us cut into the pineapple without having to remove and reposition our hands with each twist, making the task go a little faster. The measurement markings on the shaft of the slicer also let us gauge how deeply to cut into the fruit without punching through the bottom. This feature allowed us to remove a good 1/2 inch more fruit than the Rösle, which had us relying solely on our intuition to know when to stop slicing. Another boon: Our new winner's narrow slicing base let us lay it flat in a drawer—not so with the wider Rösle base.

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Canned pineapple—or even precut supermarket wedges—can’t compare with a fresh, whole pineapple for juicy, tart sweetness. But removing the fruit’s… read more

Update September 2012:

Earlier this year we chose the Rösle Pineapple Slicer as our favorite tool for slicing and coring a whole pineapple. The only problem? Its $30 price. Now another manufacturer has come along with a similar corkscrew design costing a third less. For $19.99, our new winner let us cut into the pineapple without having to remove and reposition our hands with each twist, making the task go a little faster. The measurement markings on the shaft of the slicer also let us gauge how deeply to cut into the fruit without punching through the bottom. This feature allowed us to remove a good 1/2 inch more fruit than the Rösle, which had us relying solely on our intuition to know when to stop slicing. Another boon: Our new winner's narrow slicing base let us lay it flat in a drawer—not so with the wider Rösle base.

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Canned pineapple—or even precut supermarket wedges—can’t compare with a fresh, whole pineapple for juicy, tart sweetness. But removing the fruit’s spiky rind and tough core takes a sharp chef’s knife and patience, not to mention time and skill.

Specialized pineapple cutting tools separate the core, or the core and skin, from the flesh with some time-saving pushes or twists of a handle, and some even slice the fruit into rings at the same time. To find out whether any of them are worth buying, we rounded up six brands in a range of styles (priced from $7.99 to $30, all dishwasher-safe), bought a case of pineapples, and got to work.

The least effective design—a pair of thin, steel half-circles attached to a short plastic handle—required an awkward rocking motion to force its flimsy blades through the fruit. It was a bit frightening, too, since it was impossible to use without having one hand in the way of its blades. One tube-shaped model removed only the core, and while it did so quickly and cleanly, we still had to pare away the pineapple’s diamond-patterned skin and “eyes” with a knife. Another “stab-and-push” style tool with two concentric circular cutters required too much effort and wasted a lot of fruit.

We preferred the corkscrew-style corer/slicers, all of which worked nearly effortlessly. These hollow, serrated tubes with a spiral-shaped blade at one end simultaneously slice and separate the fruit from the core and rind with several clockwise turns of a handle. When the corkscrew models had spiraled to the bottom of the pineapple, we simply lifted the tool out, holding a neat stack of evenly sized rings. To extract the slices, we detached the handles and slid the fruit off. The only drawback was waste: These corer/slicers left significant amounts of fruit still attached to the shell (as much as 1/4 inch in places), particularly if the tool was inserted at a slight angle. In the end, a few differences among the three corkscrew-style cutters left us with one clear standout, a sturdy stainless-steel tube with a comfortable plastic handle that gave us good leverage. Its heft and design made it easy to twist straight down, generating less waste than the other models and making 30-second work of an ordinarily arduous task.

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