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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pineapple Revisited

Pineapple Revisited:


Today the pineapple ranks second only to the banana as America's favorite tropical fruit.  This member of the bromeliad family is called a multiple fruit.  One pineapple is actually dozens of individual flowers that grow together to form the entire fruit.   Pineapple season runs from March to June, but they are available in the market all year.  The pineapple symbolizes hospitality.  Pineapple shapes are often put in entrance ways.  During Colonial times a fresh pineapple was used as a centerpiece at a festive meal.  The fruit would be served as a dessert at the end of the meal.


The pineapple is native to southern Brazil and Paraguay and spread throughout South America.  Eventually it reached the Caribbean and was discovered by Columbus in 1493 and brought to Europe.  The Spanish introduced the pineapple into the Philippines and Hawaii. John Kidwell is credited with introducing the Pineapple industry to Hawaii.  The pineapple is named for its resemblance to the pine cone.

My Story:

When I was in college a classmate's father, who had been stationed in Hawaii during W.W.II, used to tell a story about a pineapple.  He and a buddy were frequently on guard duty manning a large anti-aircraft gun.  One day they got to talking to a native who offered to show them how to make a good drink.   The Hawaiian took a pineapple, chopped off the top, and scooped out the insides.  He then filled the hollow pineapple with water and replaced the top with the instructions to taste the water in about three days.   Well,  the soldiers didn't think too much about it.  Then after a few days in the middle of the night they were bored and went looking for the pineapple.  They took a taste and it was indeed very good.  After consuming the contents of the pineapple they were so drunk they managed to set off the gun they were guarding, which launched a full scale response.   When they were finally brought before their commanding officer, his question was if they knew how much money they had cost the government. 


The pineapple can be consumed fresh and cooked, canned, or juiced.  Pineapple is found in various cuisines and is used in desserts, fruit salad, jam, yogurt, ice cream, and candy, and as a complement to meat.


Pineapple is a rich source of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.  It is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin C.  It is rich in B-complex group of vitamins like folates, thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and minerals like copper, manganese and potassium.

Health Benefits:

Pineapples are low in calories and have several health promoting compounds, minerals, and vitamins.  Raw pineapple is an excellent source of manganese and vitamin C.   Manganese is a mineral critical to the development of strong bones and connective tissue.  Bromelian found in pineapples helps to break down protein and so the pineapple is considered an aid to digestion. It is also considered an effective anti-inflammatory.  It also has anti-clotting and anti cancer properties  At least a half cup of pineapple a day is said to relieve painful joints common to osteoarthritis.  An old folk remedy for morning sickness is fresh pineapple juice.  Studies have shown that consumption of pineapple regularly helps fight against ingestion and worm infestation. 

Selecting and Storing:

Select pineapples that are heavy for their size and free of soft spots, bruises, and darkened "eyes".   The pineapple does not ripen after it is picked. Smell the pineapple for a sweet fruity smell.  The more scales on the pineapple the sweeter and juicier the taste.  Your pineapple can be left at room temperature for one to two days.  This will actually help it become softer and juicier.  After two days you can wrap it in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for three to five days.

To Peel a Pineapple

To peel a pineapple cut off the top and base so the fruit will stand.  With a sharp knife carefully peel off the skin.  Quarter the pineapple cutting it from top to bottom.  Remove the core if desired,   Cut the quarters into pieces.

Planting a Pineapple Top:

Remove the top of the pineapple with no part of the fruit attached.  Peel off about one inch of the leaves from the base and plant the top in potting soil.   It may take as long as 2 years but a stalk will grow out of the center of the leaves and a new pineapple will grow on the stalk.

So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.

Simple but Good:

Pineapple Grilled Pork Chops:

1 can (8 ounces) pineapple rings, juice drained and reserved
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
4 pork chops
1 pinch ground black pepper

Mix together the drained pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, and garlic powder in a large plastic bag, and smash the bag a few times with your hands to mix the marinade and dissolve the sugar.  Place the pork chops into the marinade, squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it and refrigerate overnight.  Reserve the pineapple rings.  
Preheat outdoor grill to medium heat and lightly oil the grate.  
Remove the chops from the marinade and grill until brown (about 5 - 8 minutes per side).  Brush the chops several times with the marinade and let it cook onto the surface of the meat.   Discard excess marinade.  While the meat is grilling place the pineapple rings on the grate and grill to create marks.  Serve chops topped with the grilled pineapple rings.
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