Pineapple: As if you needed a reason

As the temperature timidly begins to climb this spring, help summer come along a little faster by celebrating pineapple this month. Even if the last gusts of winter wind are still blowing, pineapple transports us to a warm tropical beach.

Pineapples are actually made up of a bunch of distinct flowers that merge together around the central core. Each pokey eye is one flower. The pineapple’s regal crown gives it an elegant appearance. It’s not just pineapple’s beauty that makes it so special; it’s also the fruit’s one of a kind, tart and sweet tropical flavor that makes it a true delicacy. Pineapple’s acidic exuberance adds brightness and complexity to slaws, salads, and stir-fries.

Pineapple is packed with vitamins and fiber Click To Tweet

Health benefits of pineapple

As if the taste wasn’t reason enough to eat pineapples, they are good for you, too. Eating one cup of pineapple will provide you with all the vitamin C you’ll need in a day. It’s also an excellent source of manganese. Both of these vitamins serve important antioxidant purposes in the body, keeping toxic free-radicals from wreaking havoc on our cells. Pineapples also pack in copper, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, and folate.

Not only are pineapples full of vitamins, their fiber content is especially healthy for cholesterol. One study looked at the bile acid binding effect of different fruits, which is a measure of how well a fruit might lower cholesterol. Pineapples were about 60% as effective as an actual cholesterol-lowering drug—not bad for something you could put on your yogurt in the morning!

High cholesterol? Try pineapple Click To Tweet

Choosing a pineapple

When selecting pineapples, smell the base of the fruit to assess its ripeness and freshness. It should smell sweet and fragrant, but not at all musty or sour — this is a sign it’s going bad. Pineapples, unlike bananas or pears, don’t ripen off the vine, but they do get softer and juicier if they sit at room temperature.

They spoil fairly quickly, so it’s best to cut a fresh pineapple into chunks and store in the refrigerator. They’ll stay good for about a week.

How to prepare pineapple

Cutting up a whole pineapple is intimidating — so pre-cut, frozen, or canned versions are available. But if you’re feeling adventurous, preparing a fresh pineapple will yield the freshest slices. Try this method to get as much fleshy good stuff out of the pineapple as possible.

Pineapple recipes

Pineapple’s versatility makes it a happy addition to many meals:

  • If you’ve been antsy for the start of grilling season, slices of grilled pineapple are a fun side dish at any BBQ.
  • Try an easy pineapple sorbet by freezing canned pineapple with its juice, then blending in a food processor with a dash of coconut milk for a tropical dessert.
  • Add pineapple to a chicken stir-fry with peppers, green onions, ginger, and garlic.

References

Kahlon TS, Smith GE. In vitro binding of bile acids by bananas, peaches, pineapple, grapes, pears, apricots and nectarines. Food Chemistry. 2007; 101(3): 1046-1051

Manganese. Micronutrient Information Center. Oregon State University. Accessed on 10/26/2015 from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/manganese

SELF Nutrition Data. Pineapple, raw, 1 cup, chunks. Accessed on 10/26/2015 from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2019/2

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