Archive for the ‘Fruit’ Category

Pineapple Palate

May 7, 2009

I really love fresh pineapple, but whenever it’s served in restaurants or on buffets, it’s either canned or never ripe enough. To get really good, sweet pineapple—assuming you don’t live in a pineapple growing region—you have to let it ripen at home past the point you think is long enough. Most information about pineapples say that they do not get sweeter as they ripen off the stalk.

That has not been my experience. But to get the best taste, I’ve found that there should be no green anywhere on the fruit. Yellows and browns and oranges are the right, ripe colors. It can take two weeks after I bring a pineapple home before I cut it, because most supermarkets sell green fruit, not bush-ripened fruit.

The first picture is a pineapple I bought a couple of days ago. It’s mostly green with a bit of yellow toward the bottom. Buy a pineapple with some color at the bottom and it will ripen better than a completely green one. Still, if I tried to eat it now, it would be hard and too acidic—and frankly, flavorless.
The next picture is of a pineapple I’ve had sitting around for over 2 weeks. There is no green left at all. It had a very strong pineapple aroma. You have to be careful it doesn’t overripen, but if it does, just cut out any brown areas you see after you cut it, and it’s fine.

It ripens from bottom to top, so the bottom of the pineapple will always be sweeter than the top. Some websites say to ripen a pineapple upside down so the sugars get more distributed. I don’t know if this is true, but it can’t hurt, assuming you can find a place to hang or stand it upside down.

You can cut a fresh, ripe pineapple into slices and then peel and core them, or peel it first and then slice and core. Grill some slices with a bit of honey and bbq sauce and it’s a wonderful accompaniment to barbequed pork or chicken.

Warning: Pineapple contains a protein enzyme, which means it can be used to tenderize meat, but some people are also sensitive to fresh pineapple’s enzymes. My friend Mark says that if he eats fresh pineapple, his mouth and throat swell. If you cook pineapple, it eliminates the problem.

I’m glad my palate is pineapple friendly.