Pineapples often bring to mind tropical vacations or heated pizza debates. They have an intense flavor that can enhance a wide variety of dishes from sweet to savory. Due to that intense flavor, adding pineapple to a smoothie can take it from dull to delish.
Pineapples are often used in sweet dishes like fruit salads as well as savory, like a slice on a burger. They can also be blended into drinks like smoothies and pina coladas.
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The core of the pineapple can make a great teether for babies. You can cut the fruit into thin sticks to serve to younger babies. It can be quite slippery, so you can offer it on a preloaded fork or you can coat it with something like chia seeds or hemp hearts to give it a bit more grip. You can also blend it into other foods like this cranberry sauce.
Pineapple is a good source of manganese and vitamin C. The vitamin C makes it a great to serve with an iron-containing food to help increase absorption. Pineapples also have bromelain, which is a mixture of proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes help to break down proteins which make pineapple a great meat marinade and tenderizer. It’s also why you may get a tingling sensation when you eat it.
Where do Pineapples Grow?
The pineapple is indigenous to South America, but was introduced to Europe in the 17th century and was seen as an icon of luxury (1). They do well in warm and tropical climates, so are often grown in green houses outside of South America.
Many people think they grow on trees, but pineapples actually grow on small shrubs. Each shrub will only produce 1 pineapple per season. The fruit is called a “multiple fruit” because it is actually made from a cluster of flowers that grow together.
The fruit will not ripen after it is harvested. It is a myth that you can tell the ripeness by removing a leaf from the crown. It should feel firm, but give a little bit when you squeeze it. The base of the pineapple should have a sweet smell.
You can store a whole pineapple on the counter until you are ready to cut it. Prior to cutting, store your pineapple upside down for 30 minutes to let the juices flow throughout the pineapple. After cutting, store in the fridge in an air tight container.
You can purchase frozen pineapple or you can freeze your own. Chop it however you would like. Spread it in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, you can transfer into a freezer bag. This technique helps prevent the pineapple from sticking together. If you’re planning on using it all at once in a recipe, you can skip placing it on a baking sheet and freeze directly into a bag.
Pineapple Banana Sorbet
- 1 blender
- 1 can pineapple in pineapple juice (15 ounces)
- 1 whole banana (optional)
- Freeze the can of pineapple for at least 3 hours.
- Thaw the pineapple for about 30 minutes then run the can under hot water to loosen the pineapple from the sides.
- Combine the can of pineapple with the banana in a blender.
- Blend until smooth.
Krystyn Parks is a Registered Dietitian and Lactation Consultant who specializes in feeding children. She has a Master’s Degree in Nutritional Science from California State University Long Beach. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and has been registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration since 2013.