Personally, I am a pineapple person. I have wonderful memories from my trip to Hawaii — especially those tropical plates of fresh island pineapples surrounded by gorgeous pikake flowers. Pure heaven!Although it is a tropical fruit, pineapple is popular the world over. Fresh pineapple is often served as a side dish or dessert to grilled meats, pork or seafood. It contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins. In marinades, it acts as a meat tenderizer. Canned versions are often used, but the natural enzymes are destroyed by cooking and canning, so when possible, choose fresh pineapple — it makes a delicious addition to vegetable salads, fruit salads, smoothies, grain dishes, salsas and more.
Here are my recipes and tips for other pineapple lovers:
Stir into soft cheese, cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
Grill pineapple rings and serve with BBQ meat or fish. Try these recipes:
Add to fruit salads. Pineapple’s great with bananas, dates, oranges and coconut.
Toss into green vegetable salads
Chop and add to stir fries or cooked grains. Try Pineapple Ginger Rice with Edamame opens in a new tab, Kung Pao Broccoli with Tofu and Pineapple opens in a new tab, or Coconut Tofu with Spicy Pineapple Dipping Sauce opens in a new tab.
Use pineapple juice or fresh pureed pineapple in place of vinegar or lemon juice in salad dressings.
Add chopped pineapple to tuna or shrimp salad. Here’s a Fresh Tuna Salad with Pineapple opens in a new tab.
Create your own salsa with diced pineapple, red onions, jalapenos and cilantro. Serve over grilled tofu, tempeh, meat, seafood or poultry. Or serve with chips. Try this Fresh Pineapple Salsa opens in a new tab or this recipe for Ham Steaks with Fresh Pineapple Salsa opens in a new tab.
Add a slice of pineapple to a sandwich. Here are some ideas:
Pineapple chunks on the grill, basted with teriyaki sauce is a fabulous side dish that goes with just about any protein you choose, or a steaming hot casserole of aromatic baked beans. If you like Asian flavors, you’ll love Pineapple Teriyaki Beef opens in a new tab.
Pineapple is a perfect addition to baked goods and other sweets and desserts.
Add to smoothies like this Pineapple Raspberry Smoothie opens in a new tab, this Mango Pineapple Smoothie opens in a new tab and this Pineapple Breeze Smoothie opens in a new tab.
Add it to cakes, muffins or quick breads.
Use chopped dried pineapple in cookies and trail mix. Try these Pineapple White Chocolate Chunk Macaroons opens in a new tab.
Serve over fresh or frozen yogurt, ice cream or other non-dairy frozen dessert.
To cut fresh pineapple, first chop off the crown and base with a sharp, serrated knife. Then slice off the skin in a downward motion, making sure to cut deeply enough to remove the eyes, following the fruit’s curvature. Dig out any remaining eyes or woody bits. Next slice the pineapple in half lengthwise and trim away the tough center core. Use the remaining flesh.
Pineapples are perishable. Once cut from the plant, they don’t continue to ripen. Look for a soft orange color, fresh-looking green leaves and a small compact crown. The bottom should smell fragrantly sweet. Keep whole pineapple on your kitchen counter for up to 2-3 days. Once cut, store in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze cut pineapple in juice for up to 6 months.
Are you a pineapple lover? Got a favorite recipe? Let me know.