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CHEFS In Season Featuring Pineapple: Pineapple Recipes, Tips, Information and more from CHEFS Catalog.
Featured Pineapple Recipes
About Pineapple
Discovered in the wilds of the New World, no single piece of produce has been more symbolic than the pineapple. From the 15th century until the 19th century, the pineapple was a rare treat of royalty and the wealthy. So much so that King Charles II official portrait, from the 1600's, displays him in the act of royal privilegereceiving the gift of a pineapple.

Because of its scarcity, the pineapple became associated with social awe and recognition. Serving pineapple to guests showed the prominence, and often the resourcefulness, of the host. Guests served the tropical fruit were thus honored by their hosts. The iconic shape of the pineapple would quickly become symbolic of welcome and hospitality.

In Colonial America, sailors would display a pineapple at the entrance to their home to alert the neighbors to their safe return after a voyage and readiness to receive visitors. This welcoming tradition influenced architecture of the time. Pineapple motifs were common in Colonial architecture at the entrance of prominent buildings.

While the pineapple is available year-round, thanks to modern canning, nothing can compare to the freshness of a fresh pineapple. With a peak season for the pineapple is March through July, the sweet and acidic flavors of the pineapple are welcome additions to both sweet and savory dishes.

Pineapple In History
The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a tropical plant in the Bromeliaceae family. Growing from a center stalk surrounded by thick, sword-like leaves, the pineapple is the only bromeliad fruit that is edible, and the plant family's only commercial success story.

Pineapples originated in Brazil and Paraguay and were enjoyed by the ingenious tribes who called the fruit "anana" which translates to "excellent fruit". Indian migration and sea faring tribes would bring the fruit north to the Caribbean islands. Discovered there by Columbus in the late 15th century, Spanish sailors would introduce the fruit to Europe and subsequently to North America, Asia, Africa and beyond.

Columbus originally named the fruit "piña de los Indes," meaning pine of the Indes, for its resemblance to the conifer pine cone. Interestingly, the pine cone was originally referred to as a pineapplebeing the fruit of the conifer tree. The difference between the terms pine cone, in reference to the conifer, and pineapple, in reference to the fruit, would occur in the late 17th century as the pineapple fruit became more commonly available.

By the end of the 16th century, Spanish and Portuguese sailors had introduced pineapples into their colonies in Asia, Africa, and the South Pacific, where pineapples still grow today. Hawaii became the "pineapple state" (officially, the Aloha State), when James Dole established the first commercial pineapple plantation. Dole was not the first person to grow pineapples in Hawaii, they had been introduced in the early 19th century. However, Dole was the first to make use of the newly perfected canning technology and established a commercial canning enterprise that would make pineapple an American staple.

How to Select Pineapples
A pineapple will weigh between 4 and 9 pounds when ripe. But size is not a good indicator of ripeness. Some varietals of pineapple are smaller. However, a larger pineapple will have a larger ratio of edible fruit.

Unlike many fruit, color of a pineapple is also not a good indication of ripeness. The color change that occurs in the pineapple is the result of sugar moving from the plant into the fruit. It is not optimal to buy a pineapple that is completely green: at least the base should have some golden color. Typically, in most varieties, the higher the yellow coloring, the sweeter the fruit typically tastes. However, some varieties of pineapple are considered ripe when still green.

There are two well-known myths that circulate about "ripening" a pineapple post-purchase. However, contrary to popular belief, being able to easily pull leaves from the crown is not a sign of ripeness. In addition, storing a pineapple on its crown, believed to let the sugar run to the top of the fruit, will not make a pineapple sweeter. In fact, when stored at room temperature for long periods, a pineapple will turn more acidic. A pineapple will not continue to ripen after being picked, making the selection process important.

Signs of a Ripe Pineapple:
  • Firm and heavy for its size (a pineapple will usually weigh between 4 and 9 pounds. Larger pineapple will have a larger ratio of edible fruit to core)
  • green, compact crown of leaves,
  • smells sweet and has an intense pineapple smell at the stem end (base),
  • from Hawaii or Central America, as they tend to be the freshest for North America.

Avoid Pineapple With:
  • yellowed leaves,
  • soft spots,
  • mold,
  • visible bruises,
  • oozing skin,
  • darkened eyes,
  • musty, sour, or fermented smell

How to Store Pineapple
Fresh pineapple can be stored at room temperature for a few days. However, fresh pineapple will perish easily, so it is best to purchase them within two days of eating. Additionally, storing a pineapple at room temperature will not help improve sweetness, but will increase the acidity of the fruit. Pineapple may be refrigerated, frozen, dried, or canned to help prolong its shelf life.

Storage
  • Room temperature: up to 2 days
  • Refrigerated: store whole in a perforated plastic bag or cut* in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days. (*Ideally, store cut pineapple submerged in juice)
  • Frozen: store in airtight container or bag with natural juice for up to 6 months.
  • Canned: store up to 1 year in a cool, dry cabinet.

How to Clean and Prepare a Pineapple
A fresh pineapple must be skinned and cored before eating. Trimming can be done with a pineapple corer or using a knife.

Pineapple Corer
A pineapple corer is a corkscrew for a pineapple. After the crown and top of the pineapple are cut off, the corer is in twisted into the fruit flesh. Turning the the corer into the pineapple flesh will separate the fruit from the skin, spiral cut the meat, and remove the core with twisting movement. The handle is typically removable so that the pineapple will slide right off into a serving dish.
Trimming a Pineapple with a Knife
You can use a chef's knife, serrated knife or pairing knife to remove the skin, whichever you are most comfortable with. A knife can be used to remove the eyes, or a potato peeler will efficiently remove them as well.

To Trim and Peel a Pineapple
Trim and Peel a Pineapple
  1. Cut off the crown and top of the pineapple.
  2. Cut off the bottom of the pineapple.
  3. Cut down the sides of the pineapple following the curved shape removing the skin and eyes in strips. It is often easiest to place the knife behind one of the exposed eyes to judge the thickness the cut should be.
  4. Continue removing the skin until the pineapple is bare.
  5. Using a paring knife, remove any remaining eyes by cutting them out in a wedge. Alternatively, use the tip of a potato peeler to cut out the individual eyes.
  6. Cut the pineapple into quarters, lengthwise.
  7. Lay each quarter on its side and slice out the fibrous core from the center section.
  8. Slice cored sections into bite size pieces.

How to Cook with Pineapple
Because of pineapple's dual acidity and sweetness, it's popular in sweet, as well as savory recipes. Pineapple is delicious both raw and cooked, and it can also be dehydrated, candied, and juiced. It is wonderful in sauces, salsas, marinades, and salads, and makes a nice topping for cottage cheese, yogurt, or ice cream! It also makes tasty appearances in cakes and sweets. Of course it's a natural in tropical drinks, usually mixed with rum or vodka.

Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that will break down proteins in meat, dairy, and gelatins. Added to dairy and gelatins, the active enzyme will cause the products to become watery or separate. However, once bromelain is heated it goes inactive, which means that cooking the pineapple or using canned (not frozen) will prevent the dairy or gelatin from having an adverse reaction.

Pineapple and Meat, Fruits and Veggies
The bromelain in fresh and frozen pineapple juice is perfect in a marinade for helping to tenderize meat and add flavor at the same time. When using fresh pineapple juice with seafood, marinade for only a short time. The delicate meat will pre-cook and may make the meat tough or alter the flavor of the final dish.

Canned pineapple juice is a better choice for just adding flavor. The bromelain will continue to break down the meats. Canned pineapple juice is also a great acidulator to help prevent browning and oxidation in cut fruits and vegetables, without causing them to turn mushy.

Pineapple and Dairy & Gelatin Products
Fresh and frozen pineapple in will cause dairy to separate and gelatin will fail to set and remain watery. Neither of which is desirable. It is best to used canned pineapple or pre-cook the pineapple to neutralize the bromelain enzyme causing the problems.

If adding fresh or frozen pineapple to dairy, add immediately before serving. Left in dairy for long periods will cause the milk-based products to taste bitter, separate and potentially curdle.

Neutralize Bromelain Enzyme
Add pineapple to saucepan with natural juice and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.

Pineapple Measures and equivalents
  • Pineapple can be substituted for papaya, guava, or mange in most recipes
  • 1 medium pineapple, peeled and cored = 5 cups cut pineapple, approximately
  • 2 pounds pineapple = 3 cups cut, approximately
  • 1/4 pound = 1 serving
  • 20 ounce can = 10 cored slices
  • 8 ounce can chunks = 2/3 cup, drained + 1/2 cup juice
  • 8 ounce can crushed = 2/3 cup drained + 1/3 cup juice

Did you Know:
  • A pineapple is actually a collection of up to 200 fruitlets. The plant produces many flowers that combine to make the whole fruit. Each eye on the pineapple represents one of the fruitlets.
  • A pineapple plant will grow to about 5 feet tall. The surrounding leaves are about 3 feet long.
  • One pineapple plant produces one pineapple every 2 years.
  • A pineapple can weigh up to 20 pounds
  • After canning the skin, core, and ends are used to make alcohol, vinegar, and livestock feed.
  • Pineapples, like tomatoes and citrus, were carried on ships for protection against scurvy.
  • Sir Walter Raleigh referred to the pineapple as "the princesse [sic] of fruits that grow under the Sun"
  • George Washington grew pineapples in his hothouse at Mt. Vernon
  • In Colonial times, merchants would rent pineapples to middle-class patrons to use as decoration, and then would resell the same fruit to wealthier patrons to eat.
  • Hawaiians named the pineapple "halakahiki", meaning "foreign Hala" or "foreign fruit", because the fruit resembled the fruit of the Hawaiian Hala Tree.
  • A pineapple can be grown from the crown of a pineapple. Allow the cut crown to dry for 2 to 3 days then plant in soil.
  • Most commercial plantations plant pineapples by hand, a labor-intensive process.



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