Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pineapple is neither a pine or an apple.

There is no other fruit more sweet or refreshing than a pineapple. I'm not talking about pineapple from a can, I'm talking about a fresh, spiky, fragrant, tangible, uncut pineapple. Recently, my local grocery store had them on sale for $.99 in the produce department, which is unheard of since they usually run $4-5 each! I was stoked, so I grabbed two. Our family loves fresh pineapple, so I figured if we didn't eat them immediately, I knew they would freeze well. Pineapples are also great for the digestive system, and a few bites help relieve that awful full feeling after a big meal, and even help calm fiery heartburn.

In the past year, I learned the correct way to choose a fresh pineapple. I'm the person in the produce department who sniffs all my food before I buy it. Yes, I put it to my nose, and if it doesn't pass the sniff test, back it goes. This has been my method for choosing pineapples as well. As we all know, grocery stores usually have fruits and veggies on the shelves that appear, and sometimes even smell ripe, but aren't. They are hard, flavorless, and usually rot pretty quickly. Same goes for pineapples. But I digress...the correct way to choose a pineapple isn't through sniffing. It's all in the plume of leaves on top. To choose the best one, gently tug on one of the inner and topmost leaves. If it releases easily, pick it up and put it in your basket! That is a sign that it will be ripe, juicy, and delicious.

So once you get the thing home, then what? I went through several pineapples, cutting, sawing, and mangling them trying to get the maximum amount of fruit, with the least amount of skin remaining. There is a method to the madness, and there is a correct (and easy) way to chop one up. Let's walk through it, shall we?!

How to cut a pineapple
The first thing I do is wash my pineapples in warm water. Obviously, right? Then I cut off the top plume, and also about 3/4" on the bottom, allowing the pineapple to set on a flat bottom. Then you cut downward around the sides, virtually "peeling" it.
At this point, you can look down on the top flat edge and see that there is an obvious core. Cut the pineapple in sections, leaving the core as one piece. I usually give this to one of the kids to chew on. If your infant is old enough, freeze it, and it makes a chilly, tasty teether! Just keep an eye on them in case it starts to thaw and they get a hunk off, as it could be a potential choking hazard--like anything with kids!
Once you get the core removed, you can cut the fruit into any type of shapes you want. I'm a rough cut chopper, so they are just the right size for nibbling.
There is nothing more beautiful than a big glass bowl full of pineapple setting in the center of the dinner table. It beckons you to eat it! In this case, from two pineapples, I got a gallon sized freezer bag full of fruit. Pineapple can be eaten fresh, sauteed with a little butter and vanilla, grilled, put in salads, and pretty
much anything you can imagine; just don't put fresh pineapple in jello or it'll never set! Don't know why. So, in conclusion, the pineapple is an enigma of a fruit, with a name that gives it no explanation whatsoever! Happy snacking!


Paige said...

Delicious. Pineapple is my favorite fruit! I learned the correct way to choose a pineapple while living in Brazil. Pineapples are SO abundant there that I would eat so many I'd get sores on my mouth! But it was definitely worth it! Here's to $.99 pineapples!

Paige said...

p.s. You ARE a really good photographer.

Dana said...

Gid forwarded me your email. You find a date and plan to come visit! There are already kids here, so I'm sure Gabe would have a good time too. ;) And thanks for the compliment, but I have leaps and bounds to go!