The easiest way to prepare the glistening, caramelized fresh pineapple rings that top our Pecan Pineapple Upside-Down Cake is to buy a peeled and cored fresh pineapple from the grocery store and just slice it into rings. But if your market carries only whole fresh pineapples, here’s how to trim one down into picture-perfect rings.
Look for a fresh, dark-green top and taut, shiny skin. Pick it up. It should feel heavy for its size and give a little when pressed, but there shouldn’t be any large, very soft spots. It should have a light, sweet pineapple fragrance, especially at its base. A pineapple with a heavy, cloying fragrance may be overripe.
Contrary to popular belief, a pineapple with greenish skin may actually be ripe; skin color varies with variety. You may also have heard that the ease with which a leaf can be pulled free is a sign of ripeness, but this isn’t necessarily so.
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