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Pineapples have exceptional juiciness and a vibrant tropical flavor that balances the tastes of sweet and tart. Pineapples are a composite of many flowers whose individual fruitlets fuse together around a central core. Each fruitlet can be identified by an "eye," the rough spiny marking on the pineapple's surface. Pineapples have a wide cylindrical shape, a scaly green, brown or yellow skin and a regal crown of spiny, blue-green leaves and fibrous yellow flesh. The area closer to the base of the fruit has more sugar content and therefore a sweeter taste and more tender texture.
While glazed, sugar-coated pineapples were a luxurious treat, it was the fresh pineapple itself that became the sought after true symbol of prestige and social class. In fact, the pineapple, because of its rarity and expense, was such a status item in those times that all a party hostess had to do was to display the fruit as part of a decorative centerpiece, and she would be awarded more than just a modicum of social awe and recognition.
Pineapple can be cut and peeled in a variety of ways. Regardless of how you proceed, the first step is always to remove the crown and the base of the fruit with a knife. To peel the pineapple, place it base side down and carefully slice off the skin, carving out any remaining "eyes" with the tip of your knife. Or cut the pineapple into quarters, remove the core if desired, make slices into the quarters cutting from the flesh towards the rind, and then use your knife to separate the fruit from the rind. Once the rind is removed, cut the pineapple into the desired shape and size.
Fresh pineapple; the sweet fruit is a natural summertime snack and can be enjoyed sliced, chopped, cubed, crushed, and grated or juiced.
Peeled and cored pineapple
Lay the pineapple on its side on a cutting board. Holding the pineapple steady with your left hand, cut off the spiky green crown along with approximately the first 1/2 inch of the pineapple. Then, turn the pineapple and cut 1/2 inch off the bottom. Begin cutting off the peel vertically, down the sides of the pineapple. Cut just enough to remove the eyes so that you don't have brown spots all over the pineapple. Try not to cut too deeply into the fruit itself. Any remaining spots can be removed with the tip of a paring knife or a vegetable peeler. Once the skin and any remaining eyes are removed, lay the pineapple on its side on the cutting board. You are now ready to proceed with the cutting. For rings, cut the pineapple into slices as thick as desired. To remove the core from the slices, lay each slice on the cutting board and cut out the circular core from the center with a paring knife.
After peeling, cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple with a sharp knife, making a stable flat base Stand the pineapple upright and remove the skin. Use a paring knife to remove any remaining eyes. Slice the fruit away from the core. Discard core and chop it by cutting them in small pieces approximately ¼ inch in diameter, although the chopped food doesn't need to be exactly the same size. If the recipe calls for the ingredients to be "coarsely chopped," make the pieces slightly larger
Pineapple Crush is a pineapple-flavored soft drink. The drink quickly became popular.
Pineapple can be grated thinly or thickly using a grater as required by the recipe. Thinly grated apple can be added to beverage or in salad. This is best for garnishing any variety of dishes.
Dice or cube ingredients by cutting them into uniform strips. Line up the strips with your non-working hand and cut them into square pieces. Cube them as per the recipe's need regarding the size of the cubes, (for example, "cut into ½-inch cubes"). Small cubes are wonderful addition to salads whereas large ones are used for veggies.
How to Select
Slice using a sharp knife by cutting vertically across the cutting board. Slice them thinly or thickly as preferred.
Although the season for pineapple runs from March through June, they are available year-round in local markets. Once the fresh pineapple is cut from the plant, it will not ripen any further, so forget about letting it ripen on the counter. Without any starch reserves to convert to sugar, it will simply begin to rot and ferment.
Fresh ripe pineapples should have green, fresh-looking leaves in a small, compact crown, and a leaf should be easy to remove if fully ripe. Once again, the nose proves to be a powerful tool in determining ripeness. The fruit should be plump, feel heavy and have a strong sweet, but not fermented, pineapple aroma. Coloring may be green or yellow-gold, depending on the variety. Feel the bottom. It should yield to medium pressure, have no indication of mold, and the eyes should be bright, shiny and flat. Avoid any that are dry or look old and wrinkly. Dark eyes, soft spots and yellowed leaves are all indicators of a pineapple way past its prime.
Many grocery stores stock fresh pineapple and will peel and core it on demand using a simple machine. If you do not have the benefit of your grocer's machine, use a sturdy, sharp serrated knife to cut off the base and the crown. Slice off the skin in a downward vertical motion, following the natural curvature of the fruit. Be sure to slice far enough in to cut off the eyes, which are woody or dig out the eyes with the knife tip or the tip of a peeler. Culinary Uses
" Pineapple juice is also an excellent choice as an acidulator to keep fruits and vegetables from oxidizing and turning brown, but use canned rather than fresh so it will not soften the foods soaking in it.
" Hollowed out pineapple boats make a lovely edible presentation for cold salads, vegetables or fruits.
" Pineapple Cake is a favorite American dessert.
" Pineapple also works well in savory dishes, marrying well with vegetables and spices.
" Combine diced pineapple with chopped broccoli, grated ginger and a little olive oil. Season to taste and serve this fragrant salad.
" Pineapple Raita is one of the all time favourite sweet n sour dishes relished before or with meal.
" Mix diced pineapple and chili peppers for an easy to prepare salsa.
" Drizzle maple syrup on pineapple slices and broil until brown. Serve plain or with yoghurt.
" Chopped pineapple, grated fennel and cashews go well together and are delicious.
" Everyone loves colorful, delicious fresh fruit salad, plus it's a perfect addition to any meal and makes a great snack or dessert.
" Pineapple is delicious fresh in salads or desserts, as well as sautéed, grilled or broiled.
" It will also digest proteins in milk products, so again add to cottage cheese or yoghurt just before serving.
" It matches well with apricots, avocados, bacon, bananas, coconut, cucumbers, grapefruits, hazelnuts, liqueurs, lime, mangoes, lemon, mint, oranges, papayas, raspberries, rum, strawberries, sugar, vanilla How to Store
Fresh pineapple is quite perishable. It bruises easily in spite of its seemingly armored exterior and will ferment if kept at room temperature for too long. If storing at room temperature, use within two days.
Storing at room temperature will increase the acidity level of the pineapple, but will not improve sweetness. You can extend the lifespan to three to five days by refrigerating the whole pineapple in a perforated plastic bag.
Once trimmed and cut, be sure the pineapple is covered in juice in an airtight container, refrigerate and use within five to seven days. Let the fruit return to room temperature before eating to improve flavor.
Freshly-cut pineapple can be frozen in juice or syrup, but it will lose some flavor. Peel, core and cut into chunks. Place in airtight plastic bags or covered containers with their natural juice and freeze up to 6 months. Health Benefits
" Due to the large amounts of natural acids (citric, malic, and tartaric) and bromelain enzyme, large amounts of fresh pineapple should not be consumed as a main dish.
" On the other hand, it is these same juices in moderate amounts that aid in digestion as they closely resemble natural gastric juices.
" Pineapple is also a natural diuretic; helps clear mucous from bronchial tissues, and its fiber aids in elimination.
" Unripe pineapple is not only inedible, it is poisonous, causing throat irritation and severe vomiting and diarrhea.
" Excessive consumption of the fibrous pineapple core can result in fiber balls collecting in the digestive tract.
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