Pineapples do not ripen once picked, so look for fruit that's heavy for its size, fragrant, and golden in color. A bit of green is fine, but pass over any fruits that are black or soft in spots.
1. Slice or twist off the leaves -- use as a garnish if appropriate, or discard. Use a serrated knife, which makes quick work of both the pineapple's tough outer skin and sweet, interior flesh. Trim about 1/2-inch in on both ends of the pineapple to make it flat, then stand the fruit on one end.
2. Following the contour of the fruit, slice off the skin, taking care to stay as closer to the skin as possible. The sweetest part of the fruit is closest to the skin -- some pineapple "eyes" may remain, but these are easily removed using either a melon baller or a sharp paring knife, working in a circular motion.
For pineapple spears or chunks: Halve the pineapple lengthwise through he core, then halve lengthwise again. Slice off the fibrous center core, then lie the pineapple flat and cut into spears or wedges as desired.
For rounds: Lay the pineapple on its side after trimming both ends and slicing off the prickly skin. Slice the pineapple crosswise into rounds. To remove the core, use a biscuit cutter to punch out the center.
Watch our Kitchen Conundrums expert Thomas Joseph quickly and easily cut up a pineapple: