How to prepare exotic fruit
1. First you need to buy a ripe pineapple – colour is not always a good indicator here; some from Central America are very green and others from the Ivory Coast are golden amber. Look at the little thorny bits that stick out – they should be brown.
2. Feel the pineapple at the base with your thumbs: it should 'give' and feel soft if it's ripe.
3. Look for proud, lively green tufts that don't look too aged or tired. Give one a tug if you can: if the pineapple is ripe the leaf should pull off easily. And don't forget to smell its strong pineapple perfume, which will probably tell you more than anything if it's ready to eat.
4. I have now created my own way of dealing with a pineapple. Needless to say you need a really sharp knife. First slice off the leafy top and about ½ inch (1 cm) of the fruit with it – you need to get this as straight as possible. Put it to one side then cut off the opposite end, which can be discarded.
5. Now stand it upright and slice off the skin vertically, going all the way round. What you now have is a whole, peeled pineapple.
6. What you need to do next is use the tip of a potato peeler to dig out the 'eyes', which are similar to those of a potato.
7. Now slice the pineapple vertically in half, then into quarters. The central core can be a bit tough, so slice this off along the centre of each quarter, then cut the quarters into chunks, as big or as small as you need them.
1. When you buy passion fruit, look for a crinkled skin, which is a sign of ripeness.
2. Just cut the fruit in half and scoop out the edible seeds and all the lovely juicy flesh that surrounds them.
1. To prepare this fragrant, juicy little fruit, peel off the papery skin – you may have to make the first cut with a small, sharp knife but, after that, you should be able to peel it away with your fingers.
2. Slice the fruit around the middle.
3. Separate it into two halves and discard the stone.
The way to tell if an avocado is ripe is to hold it in the palm of your hand and give it some gentle pressure; if it is ripe, you will feel it 'give' slightly. To prepare the avocado, halve it and remove the stone then cut each half into quarters and peel off the skin. A ripe, buttery-textured avocado, served with a really good vinaigrette, is simplicity itself.
Pawpaw (or papaya)
When ripe, a pawpaw should, like an avocado, have some 'give' when you hold it in your hand and exert a little pressure. To prepare it, slice it in half vertically, scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon, pare off the skin with a small, sharp knife, then slice or chop the flesh.
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