Pineapple

How to select for best flavor:

The best way to tell a ripe pineapple is by its smell. A good, ripe pineapple smells like a good, ripe pineapple. The next best test is the color of its skin. It should be yellow to golden orange. Buy a pineapple with the best color and the best scent that you can find. Pineapples have to be ripened in the field. A large quantity of starch is stored in the stem and distributed as sugar into the fruit as it ripens. If the fruit is cut too soon, it will never ripen. Pulling leaves off of the pineapple is not necessarily a good test of ripeness. Avoid green fruit or any with bruises, soft spots, dried out, brownish leaves and a shriveled appearance or a dull color.

 

Peak of the season:

Pineapples are available year round from Hawaii and South America. May through June is the peak season, but prices are usually fairly stable.

 

Nutritional value:

Pineapple is a great source of vitamin C and potassium, as well as dietary fiber. Pineapple also contains the enzyme bromelin, which is helpful in digesting protein. It is also one of the fruits that is known to increase hemoglobin content of blood. One cup of raw pineapple has about 75 calories, 1 gram of fat and 2 mgs. Of sodium. Pineapple juice has slightly more vitamin C and potassium, but nearly double the calories. There is a long-standing belief that pineapple stimulates the appetite. It may be worth a try for somebody who wants to increase their appetite.

 

General information:

Pineapples will not ripen at home. Buy the ripest pineapple you can find. It is usually a good value to buy the largest pineapple you can use. It can only have so much rind. Eat it right away, but if you have to save some in the refrigerator, keep it tightly sealed in plastic to prevent drying out.

 

The Inca used pineapples at their door as a sign of hospitality. This custom was picked up by the Spanish and English colonists. Many colonial houses in New England have pineapples carved on the doorposts.