The pineapple is an amalgam of individual fruits that are joined together. It has no seeds. Its yellowish flesh is fibrous, juicy and sweet. The flesh is more tender, sweet and colored at the bottom of the fruit. The following are four varieties of pineapple of commercial importance:
The Cayenne pineapple, whose firm and fibrous flesh is juicy, acidic and very sweet, is the most common variety.
The Queen pineapple’s flesh is firmer and yellower than the Cayenne variety; it is a little less juicy, acidic and sweet.
The Red Spanish pineapple has a pale, tart, slightly fibrous and very aromatic flesh.
The Pernambuco pineapple is a medium-sized pineapple with yellowish or whitish flesh. Its tender, sweet flesh is moderately acidic.
Pineapple canning is a major industry (the Cayenne variety lends itself well into canning). The skin, core and ends of the pineapple are made into compote, alcohol, vinegar and cattle fodder.
Choose: A pineapple that is heavy for its size and has a pleasant smell, with no spots, mold, or moist parts, whose flesh yields slightly to finger pressure. The leaves should have a good green color. Tap the pineapple lightly with the palm of the hand; a muffled sound indicates a ripe fruit, a hollow sound indicates that it is low in juice.
Avoid: A pineapple with an overly strong smell, blackened “eyes”, soft parts and yellowed leaves.
Pineapple is very fragile; eat as soon as possible after purchase.
At Room Temperature: 1-2 days.
In the Fridge: 3-5 days, in a loosely closed or perforated plastic bag. Take out of fridge a few minutes before eating for more flavor.
Cover cut pineapple with liquid and place in an airtight container to keep it several days.
In the Freezer: Cut, in its own juice or in a sweet syrup (reduced flavor).
The skin must be removed before the pineapple is edible. Several methods can be used:
Cut off the two ends, and then slice the skin off thinly, from top to bottom. Remove the remaining eyes by cutting around them with the point of a knife. Cut the pineapple into slices, then, if desired, into cubes. It is not necessary to remove the core if the pineapple is very ripe.
Cut off the two ends, then cut the pineapple into two lengthwise. Separate the flesh from the skin with a knife, remove the core if desired, then cut the flesh. One can also keep the pineapple whole and only remove the top, then take out the flesh with a knife. The cut-up flesh can be put back into the shell.
A cylindrical utensil can be used to remove the skin. It can’t be adjusted to the size of the pineapple, so this sometimes results in the loss of a large amount of flesh.
Pineapple loses juice when it is peeled and cut. It can be saved by cutting the fruit in a deep plate.
SERING IDEAS FOR PINEAPPLE
Pineapple is excellent plain or sprinkled with rum or kirsch. It is used in sauces, pies, cakes and fruit salads, yogurts, ice creams, sorbets, confectionery and punches.
Pineapple upside-down cake is a classic North American recipe. Pineapple can accompany savory foods. It is often part of sweet-and-sour dishes, accompanying seafood, duck, chicken or pork. Ham with pineapple is a classic combination in Canada and the United States.
Pineapple works well with cottage cheese, rice and salads of cabbage, chicken or shrimp.
Dried pineapple is used as is or after soaking in water, juice or alcohol.
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that pineapple contains vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and folic acid? Pineapple contains an enzyme that can tenderize meat, prevent gelatin from setting, curdle milk (but not yogurt or ice creams), and soften other fruits in a fruit salad (unless added at the last moment). Cooking removes these properties, so canned pineapple can be used with gelatin or in fruit salads.