Pineapple is a favorite tropical fruit next to Banana. Pineapples are actually not just one fruit but a composite of many flowers whose individual fruitlets fuse together around a central core. Each fruitlet can be identified by an "eye," the rough spiny marking on the pineapple's surface.
Pineapples have a wide cylindrical shape, a scaly green, brown or yellow skin and a regal crown of spiny, blue-green leaves. The fibrous flesh of pineapple is yellow in color and has a vibrant tropical flavor that balances the tastes of sweet and tart. The area closer to the base of the fruit has more sugar content and therefore a sweeter taste and more tender texture.
Look for pineapples that are heavy for their size. While larger pineapples will have a greater proportion of edible flesh, there is usually no difference in quality in terms of size. Pineapple stops ripening as soon as it is picked, so choose fruit with a fragrant sweet smell at the stem end.
Pineapple can be left at room temperature for one or two days before serving, will not make the fruit any sweeter, it will help it to become softer and juicier.
Pineapple can be cut and peeled in a variety of ways. Regardless of how you proceed, the first step is always to remove the crown and the base of the fruit with a knife.
Place its base side down and carefully slice off the skin, carving out any remaining "eyes" with the tip of your knife. Then cut the pineapple into quarters, remove the core if desired, make slices into the quarters cutting from the flesh towards the rind, cut the pineapple into the desired shape and size.
Pineapple that has been cut should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Cut fruit, if chilled, retains many of its nutrients for at least 6 days.
Pineapple is a wonderful addition to fruit salads, especially those containing other tropical fruits such as papaya, kiwi and mango.
Mix diced pineapple and chili peppers for an easy to prepare salsa.
Drizzle maple syrup on pineapple slices and broil until brown.
Boil diced pineapple chunks in sugar syrup (water + sugar boiled) if the pineapple has a tart taste.
Pineapple juice is a favorite among tropical beverages.
Pineapple is an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, copper and dietary fiber.