You can tell when pineapples are ripe by the fact that the inside leaves of the crown are easy to pull out and the fruit exudes an intense aroma.
To cut pineapple, first remove the spiky crown by grasping it in your hand and twisting firmly. If you need slices, first pare off the skin with a sharp knife, then slice the fruit. Cut out the woody core after slicing. If a recipe requires that the fruit is chopped, cut the pineapple into four lengthwise and slice the skin off the fruit before chopping.