Save money on groceries the easy way by minimizing waste. That’s a fancy way to say don’t trash perfectly good food.
Jameson says I’m like an Indian because I use up every bit of the buffalo. Or pineapple. She’s extremely proud to be 1/16 Cherokee so don’t rain on her parade by pointing out that she should really say I’m like a Native American.
What do you do when you cut up a pineapple? I used to cut off the skin (rind? what is it that covers a pineapple?) and toss it, then cut the pineapple meat away from the core and toss the woody core.
Here’s what I do now to squeeze every penny from my pineapple purchase:
1. Choose your pineapple.
I read this trick somewhere and so far it’s held true: Try to pluck one of the pineapple leaves straight up from the pineapple. If it pops off easily, the pineapple is ripe. Jameson loves to test the pineapples at the grocery store. All of them. I usually still let the pineapple ripen for a couple of days so that it will be extra sweet.
2. Soak the pineapple in a 1:5 vinegar to water solution right when you get it home.
I do this to almost all of my fruit and veggies to help kill germs and mold spores. I know it works because my pineapples used to grow nasty mold on the bottom from sitting on the counter to ripen for a couple days; now I never see mold on a pineapple when I’m ready to cut it.
3. Cut off the top and bottom, then cut the rind away from the sides. Don’t throw away the top, bottom, or rind yet!
Go deep enough that you don’t have to keep cutting away to get rid of the brown eyes. Are they called eyes on pineapples like on potatoes? Google says yes.
4. Cut the pineapple meat away from the core.
I like to cut the meat off in four pieces, leaving a rectangular core. An average size pineapple will give you about 1.5 pounds of pineapple.
OK, this is where the Indian part comes in:
5. Over a bowl or measuring cup (anything wide enough to not drip all over the counter), squeeze the top, bottom, and rind to make freshly squeezed pineapple juice.
You’ll get about half a cup of juice, depending on who is squeezing, how ripe your pineapple is, and how deeply you cut into the pineapple. This is great fun for Jameson. I wouldn’t bother letting anyone under 6 wring out the rinds as they’d probably make more mess than juice but not everyone has my low threshold for sticky. Serve it up right away; once I left it in the fridge for 2 days and it was already moldy.
6. Cut the core into strips, then into chunks.
You can eat these; sometimes I do. But I’ve decided that the best way to use a pineapple core is in a smoothie. I flash freeze it then bag it so that the chunks stay separated in the freezer.
And that’s how you save money in the kitchen: you don’t throw away anything before considering potential uses for your scraps and leftovers. With each pineapple purchase you now get two bonus products: a serving of freshly squeezed pineapple juice and a cup of smoothie fixins.
What do you use up that other people throw away?