Important Colombian skills: pineapple addition

18 Mar

Second only to the people, the hardest thing for us to leave behind in Colombia will be the fruit.

FRUIT! Fruit-bearing trees on every corner! Long-leaf mango trees! Banana trees lining the center of the street! Men pushing carts overflowing with mangoes and mandarin oranges! Pineapples and banana bushels dangling from string along the sides!

We have our own fruit rituals. Whenever we buy strawberries, we cut them up and put 3/4 in the fridge and 1/4 in the freezer. We also stick about 1/2 of our banana bushels in the freezer, which we peel first and place in plastic bags for easy access, later on. These frozen fruits are the secret to out-of-this-world thick jugos.

Freezing fruit also allows me to deal with ugly fruits that I don’t want to eat but don’t want to throw away. You see, I’m picky. I won’t eat a brown banana or a strawberry that looks weird. I just don’t want to. But if I freeze it among its brothers and sisters and later throw it into a blender, I forget that it is ugly and I eat it. This is the best way I’ve come up with to deal with bruised fruit. I suppose I could also “grow up”.

This is also a bit of a control issue: I need to cut fruits “just so”. Strawberries need to have any white tops completely lopped away, so that the final product is an even-toned, deep red. Bananas cannot be eaten with that little tail at the very bottom (the really, really small nub that sticks out with the black string)(Note: I just shivered typing that). Along these lines is rule #3: no pineapple shall be consumed with those terrible, poking brown things sticking out of its edges. They are like spears for your mouth! Woof.

If left to her own devices, Gloria will cut every fruit in our home in half the time that it would take a mortal human and will leave a lot of two-toned strawberries and pokey pineapples in her wake. She wastes not a centimeter of the fruit, meaning that the final product is likely to stress. me. out. And if she sees me cutting fruit she steps in, tells me “gringa, your’e wasting all of it!” and then “corrects” my “errors” with the remainder. I know I’m wasteful, but I’m also NOT GOING TO EAT IT IF IT’S UGLY.

BUT! When Gloria is away, I will cut things! And we eat a lot of pineapple. Well, maybe more like ~1 a week, but that’s approximately 52 more than we ate while in Boston.

There are many ways to cut and chop foodstuffs, and usually only one “correct” way. If I’m unsure, I usually prefer to a) ask Greg; b) make Greg do it; and c) just wing it and see how things go. Option “C” is how I’ve perfected my pineapple attack, which I’m so proud of that I had to share it with my mother, who should never, ever wield a knife to cut something like this (seriously, Lea, don’t).

First, buy a pineapple! Second, cut off the tops and bottoms. You can opt to wear the top as a hat. Lay the pineapple on its side.

Third, slice the skin off in one, long piece by cutting into the skin at an angle and then moving inwards to get your knife to slice and saw around the entire thing, moving the body as you go.

Fourth, marvel at the fact that if you cut close enough, the inside of the skin looks like the suckers of an octopus! If you don’t see the suckers, congratulations! You don’t have to do a lot of busy work cutting the stabby brown mouth spears off of the slices of your pineapple. If you can see the octopus, congratulations! IT’S COOL, RIGHT?!! Now get to work.

Slice the body into…er, slices and then, using the tip of your knife, cut out the little circle in the middle. You can cut it out sloppily, like I do. Usually, mine is a square. *shrug*

Once you perfect this technique, you will waste some pineapple but you will have only juicy, tender and not-stabby slices of pineapple at the ready. You will be glad for this.

My very wasteful technique clocks in at about 6 minutes from start to finish, including the time spent taking pictures and eating along the way.

And look! Those slices are the perfect mid-day snack alongside some juicy [red only] strawberries and an arepa half topped with cheese and avocado. But don’t tell Gloria; I don’t want to get yelled at…again.


One Response to “Important Colombian skills: pineapple addition”

  1. Lea Anthony March 18, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    Oooooooooo Nina when you get home you can demonstrate your fruit filleting technique
    So we can marvel and sample!
    You certainly have learned a lot of things in Columbia…but do you wash all your fruit like Mama told her? Does she Greg?

    No knife flailing episodes in the kitchen, so Dad is safe.

    Cold here..I am wearing one of my knitted cowls in the house. Pacific storm is blowing major whitecaps ……..Kisses

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