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Seasonal Produce: Pineapple

While Hawaii is the largest U.S. producer of pineapple, this delectable fruit was first grown in Central and South America. Spanish explorers brought pineapple to Hawaii and named it after the piña, or pine cone, it resembles. There are three major varieties of pineapples: Cayenne (from Hawaii), Red Spanish (from Puerto Rico and Florida) and Sugar Loaf (from Mexico), but the main type sold is the golden-skinned Cayenne.

Purchasing

  • Pineapples are harvested when ripe. While they do not become sweeter after picking, the fruit does become juicier and less acidic.
  • Select fresh-looking pineapples that are heavy for their size with a sweet, tropical aroma at the stem end. Deep green crown leaves indicate freshness.
  • Avoid fruit that has soft spots, dry brown leaves or a fermented aroma.
  • If pineapple has a weak aroma, let stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 days until it softens slightly and the aroma develops. Once aromatic, refrigerate for 2 to 4 days.
  • Refrigerate leftover cut pineapple in a tightly covered nonmetallic container for up to 2 days. Or, freeze for use in blender drinks.

Preparing

  • Fresh and frozen pineapples contain the enzyme bromelin, which readily breaks down protein. As a result, any gelatin dish that contains even a small amount of fresh or frozen pineapple will not set. Heat destroys this enzyme so canned or cooked pineapple work fine with gelatin.
  • Cut off crown leaves and bottom to form 2 flat bases. Stand pineapple upright and use sharp knife to remove skin, cutting downward just below surface in vertical strips. Remove brown “eyes” by making shallow diagonal cuts with paring knife and lifting out these sections.
  • Remove tough core by slicing crosswise and using small round cookie cutter to cut out center of each slice. Or, cut lengthwise into quarters and trim away core with paring knife. Cut fruit into wedges, chunks or leave in round slices.
  • For pineapple boats, cut pineapple in half lengthwise through crown. Remove fruit from shells with paring or curved grapefruit knife, leaving shells intact. Remove core, cut fruit as desired and return to shells.

Nutrition

  • Excellent source of vitamin C.

Serving

  • Kabob it! Thread fresh pineapple chunks on skewers with meat and veggies for grilling or with KRAFT Cheese Cubes and other fruits for easy appetizers.
  • Plunge juicy chunks into a warm chocolate fondue along with JET-PUFFED Marshmallows and pound cake cubes.
  • Add wedges or chunks to all types of salads—fruit, tossed green and chicken to name just a few—for instant tropical flavor.
  • Swap fresh or frozen pineapple chunks for other fruits in your favorite smoothies, shakes and other blender drinks.
  • Stir chopped pineapple into TACO BELL HOME ORIGINALS Thick ‘N Chunky Salsa for a touch of sweet flavor.
  • Grill or broil pineapple slices for a great burger topping or to serve with ice cream for dessert.
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