If you like pineapples as much as me, you know that nothing is worse than buying one, getting home and cutting into it, only to discover that’s it is not sweet. Here are a few tips on how to pick, store and cut into this tropical treat:
The best time to get a pineapple is during its peak months of March-July. This low-calorie fruit is a GREAT source for Vitamin C (1 cup and you are over daily suggested amount) and manganese (great for bone strength). Research shows that pineapples are good for protecting against macular degeneration (loss of vision leading to blindness), helping with digestion, and aiding in preventing cancers of the mouth, breast and throat, while providing you a nice energy boost.
How do I select the right one?
When picking pineapples at the market, there a few things to look for and remember:
* It should feel heavy for its size.
* Look for a yellow gold hue, as it should be ripe; if very green, it was picked too early (except for Green pineapples, which you probably won’t see often).
* Smell the bottom side, and it should have a nice scent to it; if overly fragrant, it may be over ripe and fermenting.
* Make sure the “eyes” on the skin are bright, flat and pointed upward; if pointed downwards, walk away.
* Pick a leaf from the center (which should look fresh and green); if it comes off relatively easy with a couple of gentle tugs/pulls, it should be good to go.
Also, note that the size of the pineapple doesn’t affect its sweetness; the bigger one will just have more edible fruit.
How should I store it?
When storing, either cut off the top and place it in the fridge whole or keep the whole fruit intact and let it sit out for a couple days. If you want to freeze chunks for smoothies, lay the fruit on a tray IN ONE LAYER (helps it freeze evenly) and place in the freezer; once frozen, place in an air tight plastic bag and return it to the freezer.
How should I cut it?
* Twist off the leafy top, grabbing it from the bottom of the leaves.
* Turn it upside down and slice about ½ – 1 inch off of the bottom (helps to make it flat).
* Turn it right side up (where the leaves came out), and slice off the skin from top to bottom, following the pineapple’s natural curvature all the way around the fruit.
* Go back and slice the small parts of the skin (brown “eyes”) that you may have missed.
* Look in the middle, you’ll see the core (looks “woody”). Using the core as an anchor (cutting around it), cut the left side, then the right side; next cut the front and back sides.
GRILLED PINEAPPLE & MANGO SPICY SALSA
t = teaspoon
T = Tablespoon
c = cup
- ½ pineapple, sliced in circles
- 1 c mangoes, diced very small
- ½ small red onion, diced very small
- 3 T cilantro, chopped
- 1 t kosher salt
- Juice of ½-1 lime (to taste)
- 1 T Olive oil
- 1 t cayenne pepper
Preheat your grill to medium high heat. Place pineapple slices in a bowl and rub with oil and cayenne pepper. When the grill is hot, lightly oil the grates. Add the pineapples (making sure to let the excess oil to drip off BEFORE placing on the grill) and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side; take off the grill and let cool. Combine the rest of ingredients in a bowl; chop the pineapples and add, mixing well. While it tastes great immediately after combining the ingredients, the flavor is stronger if it sits for a few hours in the refrigerator before serving; enjoy!
Eating Well with Chef Cordell Consulting