Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!
Nutritional and Other Information
About Pineapples from
the Barren County Farmers' Market




Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Pineapples are members of the family of tropical plants called the "bromeliads." The pineapple is not a single fruit but a composite mass of between 100 and 200 berry-like fruitlets that form together into one compact fruit. They grow on a short stem that grows up from a low plant with large, gray-green, pointed leaves. Some can reach twenty pounds but those grown commercially are usually around 2-5 pounds.

Pineapples were first cultivated by the Guarani Indians of Brazil and Paraguay, who have long used it for aiding digestion and for wound healing. Cuttings were taken to The West Indies long before the arrival of Europeans. When Columbus discovered the fruit on his voyage to the West Indies, he was so amazed with it that it was one of the first fruits he took back to Europe.

In 1535, pineapples were brought to Spain by way of the Spanish explorers that went to America. By the 17th century, pineapples were considered to be a food only for the aristocrats of the general French public. Even Louis XIV had hothouses producing pineapples. Today, the pineapple is the most popular of all tropical fruits, and is grown in tropical regions all around the world.

Pineapples contain an enzyme that is used to aid digestion and to tenderize meat. This is the reason that fresh pineapple cannot be used in gelatin desserts as it will break down the protein in the gelatin. But heating destroys this enzyme, and you can use canned pineapple in gelatin desserts. People who work with pineapples have to wear protective gloves to protect their skin.

Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Selecting a quality product

When choosing a pineapple, pick one that seems heavy for its size - it will probably be juicier. To test for ripeness, pull at one of the bottom leaves. If it comes out easily, it is ripe. There should be no sign of greening. If the pineapple shows signs of greening, do not buy it. The pineapple must be picked ripe because the starches will not convert to sugar. The leaves should be crisp and green with no yellow or brown spots. The skin of the pineapple should give slightly to pressure, though soft or dark spots are indications of over-ripening. The average sized pineapple weighs 2-5 pounds.

Tips on Storage

Unpeeled pineapple should not be stored in the fridge, although after it is peeled and cubed, it can be. When picked ripe and fresh, the core is often quite edible and not tough or stringy as when found in older pineapples. Unlike some fruits, pineapples do not continue to ripen or sweeten after picking since it has no reserve starch to be converted into sugars. It will start to deteriorate gradually and keeping them in the fridge will slow down this process. Using plastic wrap, store the cut pineapple in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

To Prepare: Cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple. Stand the pineapple upright and slice the skin off using a knife. Dig out any eyes left in the flesh with the tip of a vegetable peeler.

Coring: Remove the skin, then cut out the core.




Recipes

Fresh Pineapple Slaw

Makes 6 servings

2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 medium green pepper, julienned
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons unsweetened pineapple juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon canola oil
2 ounces crumbled blue cheese

Combine pineapple, carrot, and green pepper in a medium bowl, toss gently. Combine vinegar and the next 3 ingredients and stir well with a wire whisk. Pour over pineapple mixture and toss. Cover and chill 1 hour. Top with blue cheese just before serving.




Pineapple Squares

1 cup margarine
1 tbsp shortening
2 tbsp sugar
3 egg yolks
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
Filling and frosting - below

Cream margarine and shortening with sugar and egg yolks. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Spread on greased 15x10" baking pan. Bake 20 minutes at 350F or until lightly browned. Cool completely.

Spread cooled filling on top. Top with whipped topping, sprinkle with coconut. Mark off in small squares; top each with a half of a maraschino cherry. To serve, place each square in a miniature cupcake paper. These are very, very rich.

Filling:

Cook 1 large can crushed pineapple with 3 tbsp cornstarch and 1 1/2 cups sugar until thickened.

Frosting:

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup shortening
6 oz can evaporated milk
2 tsp vanilla

Thoroughly cream sugar and shortening. Slowly add milk and vanilla. Beat well, 5-10 minutes until fluffy.

These cookies can also be made with cherry or apricot fillings.




Pineapple Chicken Tenders

1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup light soy sauce
2 pounds chicken breast tenders, raw

In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix pineapple juice, brown sugar and soy sauce. Remove from heat just before the mixture comes to a boil. Place the chicken tenders in a medium bowl. Cover with juice mixture, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes.

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil grate. Thread chicken onto wooden skewers. Grill chicken tenders about 5 minutes per side, until no longer pink and juices run clear. They cook quickly, so watch them closely.




Pineapple, Raisin, and Rum Bread Pudding

(6 servings)

20 oz can crushed pineapple with liq.
5 cups packed french bread, 1 in. cubes
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp rum
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp sliced almonds
1/2 cup milk
2/3 c raisins
2 tbsp margarine, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Glaze:

1 tbsp rum
1 tsp margarine
1 tbsp light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine pineapple, milk and bread in mixing bowl. Stir together and let stand 10 min. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into lightly oiled 9 x 9 in. baking pan. Last 3 ingredients are for glaze. Melt margarine . Add rum and brown sugar and stir just until sugar is dissolved. Spoon in thin layer over top of pudding. Bake for 25 min, top with almonds. Bake for another 15 to 20 min, or until top is golden brown and turning crusty. Serve warm.

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