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Pineapple is a sweet and sour fruit that is obtained from the tropical pineapple plant. Pineapple tree is botanically called ‘Ananas comosus’. Pineapple has juicy flesh that varies from yellow to white color. This juicy fruit is usually oval in shape with some hard leaves on the top. Even the rind of the pineapple is also very tough but the inside flesh is widely used to make some good pineapple recipes such as pineapple slush, pineapple ice cream and pineapple jam.

History of Pineapple

Pineapple is believed to be native to South America. Pineapple was grown in South America by the Guarani Indians, among whom it is popular as ‘nana’ that means ‘excellent fruit’. Pineapple is also associated with Christopher Columbus who discovered it in 1493 at the island of Guadeloupe. He termed the fruit as ‘pina de Indes’ that means ‘Indian pine’. Along with Columbus, another explorer who is credited for discovering this sweet and sour fruit is Magellan. In 1519 he found the pineapples in Brazil and after 1555 the popularity of the fruit has spread to all parts of the world.

Culinary Use of Pineapple

Owing to its juicy and soft flesh, pineapple is widely used for making desserts and sweet dishes. Pineapple-flavored ice cream is highly popular in international cuisine. Pineapple recipes also include pineapple cake and pineapple sauce. Jams and marmalades made up of pineapple are commonly served as breakfast items. Sliced or cut pineapple is a preferred ingredient in fruit salads or puddings. Smoothies, muffins, pies and salsa are some of the commonly made pineapple dishes.

Savory pineapple dishes include pork, poultry and rice recipes. This luscious fruit contains few enzymes that help in tenderizing the pork meat very well. Plenty of drinks are also made with the pineapple juice. Fruit cocktails as well as alcoholic drinks are the addition to the list of pineapple recipes. For canning purposes as well, pineapple is considered as a favorite fruit. Pineapple flavor is highly used for making artificial flavorings and essence. Obviously the pineapple taste best when eaten raw like other fruits such as orange, apple and peach.

Popular Pineapple Recipes

  • Pineapple upside down cake – This is one of the most popular pineapple recipes. It is commonly served as a dessert in International cuisine.
  • Pineapple nut bread – This is pineapple-flavored bread that incorporates crushed and drained pineapple.
  • Pineapple Ice cream – All over the world, this pineapple dish is highly admired. The luscious flavor and chunks of pineapple makes this ice cream one of the most popular desserts in the global cuisine.
  • Pineapple raita – This is also one of the most popular pineapple dishes served in Indian cuisine. Chunks of pineapple compliment the sweet and salty yogurt very well.
  • Pineapple chutney – It is also an Indian recipe that can be fondly served as a condiment.

Cuisines Commonly Making Pineapple Dishes

Pineapple is a versatile ingredient, hence used in almost all cuisines in some or the other form. Pineapple recipes are quite popular in Caribbean cuisine. In Caribbean cuisine, pineapple is widely used to make desserts as well as cocktails. Savory chicken and pork dishes are also flavored with either pineapple glaze or with pineapple chunks.

Asian cuisine is also famous for making plenty of Pineapple dishes. Vietnamese pineapple chicken is famous worldwide. Caramelized pineapple is also an Asian side dish to be served with grilled meat and fish. Pineapple raita and pineapple chutney are famous pineapple recipes in Indian cuisine.

European as well as British cuisine has many pineapple recipes in their palate. English breakfast always includes jams-especially pineapple jam. Marmalades, muffins and pineapple pies are fondly served in European cuisine.

Preferred Methods of Making Pineapple Recipes

  • Baked – Most of the pineapple dishes, for instance, pineapple pies, cakes and muffins are made by baking method.
  • Caramelized – Pineapple is the most preferred fruit for caramelization. Caramelized pineapple is commonly served as a side dish with roasted and grilled meats and seafood.
  • Boiled – Pineapple pieces are boiled to make jams or marmalades.
  • Blended – Often pineapple flesh is churned in food processor to make salsa, dips or sauces.
  • Extracted – For fresh fruit juice, pineapple juice is extracted from its flesh.
  • Canned – Pineapple is the first choice for canning purposes.

Nutritive Value of Pineapple

  • Pineapple is a rich source of Vitamin C and practically no fat and cholesterol contents are present in it.
  • Pineapple juice aids in building strong bones and body tissues, as it contains good amount of manganese.
  • For healthy metabolism, consumption of pineapple is essential, as it helps in cleansing the body and improves metabolism rate.
  • Pineapple dishes are consumed to avoid constipation as well as to regulate bowel movements.
  • Gum diseases can also be kept at bay with the consumption of pineapple, as Vitamin C helps in the proper growth of gums and teeth.

Buying and Storing of Pineapple

The best months for buying pineapple are from March till July, though canned pineapples can be easily available through out the year. Never buy green colored pineapples as they tend to be less sweet and unripe. Fruit having soft spots or mold should be avoided. Smell the pineapple before buying. If intense fruity smell is coming than it can be considered for buying. Also check, if spikes present on the crown of the pineapple are easily coming out then fruit is over ripe.

Fresh pineapples can be easily kept in fridge for not more than 4-5 days. The best way to store the fruit for longer time is to cut in pieces and it may be frozen. Leftover pineapple dishes can also be stored in refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Types of Pineapple

Some of the popularly sold varieties of pineapple are as follows:

  • Cayenne – This is one of the most popular varieties of pineapple. It is large in size and very sweet in taste.
  • Queen pineapples – These pineapples are smaller than Cayenne and have less sweet taste.
  • Red-Spanish pineapples – They are medium-sized pineapples with light purple rind and yellow-colored flesh.

Sweet baby, sugarloaf and pernambuco are some of other varieties of pineapple that are sold commercially.

Pineapple Trivia

  • It is very easy to grow pineapples in your kitchen garden by planting the dried crown of purchased pineapples.
  • One third of the world’s total production of pineapple comes from Hawaii.