It saddens me to report that we are working our way out of pineapple season – one of my favorite fruit seasons of the year. Nothing beats fresh pineapple and strawberries as a quick and easy side for any summer barbecue.
“But Shannon,” I hear you saying, “Pineapples are so expensive! It’s like 7 dollars at my local Whole Foods!”.
Well, reader, I suspect you’re talking about the already broken down pineapple because many of us will purchase that over a whole one believing that the breakdown process is incredibly difficult (or they wouldn’t be able to sell $7.00 canisters of pre-chunked pineapple.
The truth is, breaking down a pineapple is silly easy. And the result is absolutely delicious!
Start with a pineapple. When picking one out, you’re looking for one that is plump (not sunken on a particular side), fresh, and that is firm(er) when you squeeze it. The best part about pineapples? They’re picked when they’re ripe and they stop ripening once they’ve been removed from the plant. So picking one over another won’t make much of a difference.
The key is to store the whole fruit outside of the fridge and cut it up within a few days of purchase.
Now that we have our fruit, place it on a cutting board and remove the top and bottom.
Carefully, remove the outside spines of the pineapple, deep enough to remove the eyes, but not so deep you lose some of the pineapple-y goodness. A few remaining blemishes along the fruit are totally acceptable. When you’re ready, but the pineapple in half.
Working with each individual half, cut the fruit up into strips. You’ll want them to be about “bite-size” width.
Once you have your strips, turn them on their side and slide off the core if it’s present. 9 times of 10, I only remove a half an inch from the inner-most strips. The core isn’t as thick as you might be inclined to believe.
Store your pineapple in tupperware in the fridge or freeze it! One pineapple gave me about 3 tupperware containers full of delicious, fruity goodness. The whole process takes about 7 minutes with clean up. Oh, and the whole fruit? $2.50 at my local market. I think I can handle 7 minutes of slicing to save $4.50!
The possibilities are endless when it comes to this little fruit – pizza, kababs, asian applications, marinades, etc. One of my favorite applications of fresh pineapple is in the smoothie. It’s also a great way to use up pineapple that might be on its way to the trashcan (though who can really keep pineapple around that long!).
The Pineapple Smoothie, like breaking down the pineapple itself, is deceptively difficult. The result, exceptionally tasty, and quite healthy! Pineapple also mixes well with other fruits, so just adjust your fruit proportions, and get creative! Leave me your favorite recipes in the comments!
- 1-1.5 Cups Pineapple
- 1/3 Cup Low Fat Vanilla Yogurt
- 1 Cup Orange Juice
- Place all ingredients into a blender and blend. Add more pineapple until desired thickness is reached. Add more Orange Juice if blend is too thick.