Did you know you can make spectacular flower-like garnishes out of pineapple slices? It’s true – and it’s actually pretty simple to do!
You may have seen a dried pineapple flower garnish atop hummingbird cupcakes (that recipe’s coming soon!) …
… or perhaps piled gloriously atop, say, a gorgeous coconut layer cake. So pretty, right?!
Basically, to make dried pineapple flowers, you take paper-thin slices of pineapple and dry them in the oven under very low heat. The core of the pineapple dries to a perfect flower center, with the edges going paper-thin, curling slightly, and – I find this part unavoidable – browning a bit along the edges. Still looks great to me!
Pineapple flower garnishes are perfectly edible too. Like a crunchy-sweet thin little pineapple cracker.
Okay, so they’re simple. But are they easy to make?
I have to say, I don’t think making pineapple flowers is necessarily easy. Simple, yes. But not super easy.
Once you’re through digging out all of the eyes and get the hang of the thin slices, you’re home-free. But it takes a bit of time and effort – all told I’d say about 25 minutes to prep the flowers and, if you’re like me, perhaps a couple of curse words along the way. But they’re TOTALLY WORTH IT! I promise.
So are you ready to learn how to make a dried pineapple flower garnish? Let’s do this!
How to Make Dried Pineapple Flower Garnishes
Step 1: Pick Your Pineapple
In this case, you’re better off with a less-ripe pineapple, if you can find one. If you pull on a middle leaf and it doesn’t come out of the pineapple easily, you are on the right track. If you’re a little less lucky like me, your only choice at the store is an uber-ripe pineapple like the one photographed below. No problem! You can use that too. It’ll just be a bit less fun to handle because it’s so juicy. And your “flowers” might take a little longer to dry, resulting in browner edges.
Step 2: Cut Your Pineapple
Take your pineapple and cut off the top and the bottom.
Now trim off the peel – just a thin layer. We’ll cut out those eyes separately in a minute.
Now grab a carrot peeler or a paring knife. Using the end of the carrot peeler or the tip of the knife, cut out all of the little “eyes” on the pineapple. I’ll be perfectly honest – this part is a huge pain, especially if you have that aforementioned juicy/ripe pineapple on your hands like I do here. But it’s totally worth it because 1) The uneven edges result in frillier flowers and 2) Your pineapple flowers will be larger in the long run. So power through, my friends! It’s worth it.
Whew! You’re done with that part.
Now, it’s time to slice.
Grab your sharpest big knife. And I mean sharp. Because you want some paper-thin layers here, folks – as thin as you can get them. Can you see your knife through the pineapple? You’re on the right track!
If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably have a few “fail” slices. Honestly, with this troublesomely juicy pineapple, I probably had one good slice for every three bad. No matter – just use the scraps for a smoothie and carry on with the your good slices!
Step 4: Dry your pineapple slices with paper towels
Grab your good slices and gently place them on a layer of paper towels. Blot the tops with more paper towels. The objective is to get as much juice off of those bad boys as possible.
Step 5: Dry them in the oven
Preheat your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet (or two, depending on how many slices you have) with parchment paper. Lay the pineapple slices in a single layer on the parchment.
And then put them in the oven! This part will take awhile – at least an hour, and up to two hours. Just try to be patient, because it’s worth it. I promise!
After the first 30 minutes, flip your pineapple slices. After the next 30 minutes, flip them again. If they’re still a bit sticky to the touch, keep them in the oven, flipping every 15 minutes, until the centers are dotted and dark and the pineapples feel dry or just a tiny bit tacky.
Remove your pineapple flowers from the oven and place them in muffin cups. This will help them to dry with a bit of a curve – just like a real flower. Pretty!
Keep your pineapple slices on a wire rack or in the muffin cups (as long as plenty of air can circulate) at room temperature for up to 3 days before serving. Don’t place them in an airtight container or refrigerate them – these babies need air circulation to retain their shape and stay nice and dry.
And then, when you’re ready to use them as garnish, go for it! Plop ’em on, and listen to the oohs and aahs of your family and friends.
How to Make a Dried Pineapple Flower Garnish
- 1 fresh pineapple (less ripe is best if you can find one!)
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet or two with parchment paper.
- Cut off the top and the bottom of the pineapple. Trim off the peel - just a thin layer, leaving the eyes.
- Grab a carrot peeler or a paring knife, and using the end of the peeler or the tip of the knife, cut out all of the little "eyes" on the pineapple.
- With a sharp knife, cut paper-thin slices of pineapple - as thin as you can. If you can see your knife through the slice of pineapple while cutting, you're doing it right! *This step is crucial. If your layers are too thick, your pineapples won't dry properly and you'll end up with soggy, sad flower attempts.
- Place slices on a layer of paper towels and blot the tops with more paper towels, extracting as much juice as possible.
- Lay the pineapple slices in a single layer on the parchment. They can be close to one another, but not touching or overlapping.
- Cook for 30 minutes and turn over. Cook for another 30 minutes. Check the pineapple slices - they're done when they're dry and the center may be a smidge tacky, but not damp at all. If they're not there yet, keep baking them, flipping every 15 minutes, until they're dry.
- Remove the pineapple flowers from the oven and carefully place them in a muffin tin. Once they cool, they'll retain that flower shape.
- To store, keep your pineapple slices on a wire rack or in the muffin cups (as long as plenty of air can circulate) at room temperature for up to 3 days before serving. Don't place them in an airtight container or refrigerate them - they need air circulation to retain their shape and stay nice and dry.
- Arrange on cupcakes or cake however you like!