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Pineapples have a tropical flare in both looks and taste, with exceptional juiciness and a vibrant tropical flavour that balances the tastes of sweet and tart. Contains a fibrous yellow flesh with a pine cone-like peel that varies from green, brown, and yellow with a diamond shaped pattern. As you travel to the base of the fruit there is more sugar content, a sweeter taste and a more tender texture. Although there is a learning curve involved in opening one, it is definitely worth the exploration and once you cut a few open, you’ll be able to do that process in minutes.
Pineapples have a wide tube-like shape and regal crown of sword-like, blue-green leaves grow on low-lying plants. The average pineapple weighs about two to four pounds (1-2 kg).
Fresh pineapple is available year-round, peaking between March and July.
Freshness is the key. The pineapple should be plump and heavy for its size, and golden in colour, especially near the base. The attached leaves will probably be a crown of crisp, fresh, deep green, but don’t worry if the tips are brown. Inspect the base to ensure that there is no blackness on the core, which indicates fermentation. Another few things to avoid are rind containing bruised or brown spots and soft flesh. Moreover, please don’t bother with trying to pull out the central leaves – this will not tell you anything and just ruins the look of the fruit.
For optimal freshness, use immediately. Pineapple can be stored at room temperature for no more than one or two days before serving as they are very perishable. At that point, any further storage of the whole fresh fruit would take place by wrapping in a plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator for a maximum of another three to five days.
Pineapple that has been sliced or cubed should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2 or 3 days. Place some pineapple juice in the container as well to extend its life-span an retain more taste and juiciness. For longer storage, pineapple can be frozen (in its own juice), however this process greatly affects its flavour; just remove the rind and core and cut the fruit into chunks.
HOW TO ENJOY
Pineapple is delicious eaten fresh on its own. Fresh pineapple is often served in wedges or rings; however, it is used in many other ways also:
An ingredient in most sweet and sour dishes and is used in many savoury dishes
Goes well with ham, pork, chicken, and seafood. Added to meats that roast will let them caramelize.
Chopped pineapple, grated fennel, and cashews go well together and are especially delicious as a side dish to chicken.
Mix diced pineapple and chile peppers for a simple salsa that goes well with fish such as halibut, tuna, and salmon.
Add them to spicy dishes that have hot chile peppers for a nice balance of hot and sweet.
When grilling chicken or fish put slices of fresh pineapple on the grill for the last few minutes of cooking time. Try grilling them with brown sugar or maple syrup with the juice of one lemon or lime!
Chunks of fresh pineapple are also a great addition to tuna or chicken salad.
Combine diced pineapple with chopped shrimp, grated ginger and a little olive oil. Season to taste and serve on a bed of romaine lettuce.
Served with cottage cheese and rice to make a healthful meal.
Salad & Dessert Ideas
Pineapple is a wonderful ingredient for fruit salads. Complement with other tropical fruits such as papaya, kiwi, and mango.
Add to pies, cakes, ice cream, yogurt, punches, and other desserts.
Drizzle maple syrup on pineapple slices and broil until brown. Serve plain or with yogurt.
Blended frozen pineapple in the food processor by itself, to become a delicious low calorie ice cream substitute.
Freeze chunks to use later in smoothies or a frozen pineapple sorbet!
When adding to cottage cheese or yogurt, do so just prior to serving since the fresh pineapple’s acid can potentially break down the dairy to become watery. After a while, this digestive enzyme – called bromelain – breaks down the protein in products such as milk, gelatin, and meat. On the other hand, the bromelain is broken down when heated so canned or boiled pineapple can be used with these products without causing a problem.
Because of the enzymes in fresh pineapple, it makes a great marinade for meats but should not be added to gelatin desserts.
Pineapple is high in manganese, vitamin C, as well as being a good source of B1, B6 and dietary fibre. It protects against cancer since, like Garlic and Onions, they contain sulphides which pathogens don’t find hospitable. They aid in digestion and can reduce inflammation. To maximize their power, eat 2 hours after a meal. Due to their anti-inflammatory properties, this is an invaluable fruit when experiencing sinusitis, a sore throat or are recovering from surgery. Packed with vitamin C, the body’s primary water-soluble antioxidant, and cancer-protecting enzymes. Eat them regularly during the flu season.
Pineapple (raw), 1 cup (155g), sliced
Total Fat: 0.667g
*Excellent source of: Vitamin C (23.8mg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.
- Mistakenly thought to have originated in South America, Christopher Columbus found them on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe in 1493. When pineapple was brought back to Europe, attempts were made to cultivate it. Soon they realized that a tropical climate was an essential ingredient. The 17th century had not yet begun when Portuguese and Spanish explorers introduced pineapples into many of their Asian, African and South Pacific colonies. These countries have continued to be growers of pineapple.
- In early times, pineapples were enjoyed only by royalty.
- San Jose, Costa Rica is called the “Big Pineapple” because the streets in the city are laid in the shape of a big pineapple!
- If you were a guest in the 1600s of a wealthy home, one of the ways their welcome would be conveyed was with a pineapple as the centerpiece of a giant fruit display. It is believed that when the pineapple was removed, the guest had overstayed their welcome.
- In a Caribbean ritual to manhood, barefoot youth were to run through pineapple and not complain about the resulting wounds.
- Caribbean Indians placed pineapples or the fruits’ crowns outside the entrances of their homes to symbolize friendship and hospitality.
- The Spanish explorers noticed that pineapples looked like pinecones, so they called the fruit ‘Pina.’ The English added ‘apple’ due to their juicy delectable flavour.
- The pineapple is the fruit of an herbaceous plant . The fruit is actually created from hundreds of flowers that grow in a spiral pattern around an axis. The flowers produce on the pineapple’s surface. Interestingly, each plant produces only one fruit.
- Contrary to popular belief, pulling a leave off the crown is not an indication of ripeness or sweetness.
- The fruits supply of sugar begins at the base of the plant. This is where the stored starch is converted to sugar and then distributed to the fruit as it ripens.