Grown in the tropics, there are many varieties of this fruit. Avoid pineapples with dry leaves or signs of bruising. If ripe, a leaf can easily be pulled from the crown. Pineapple is delicious eaten raw, in fruit salads, or cooked. Try it pan-fried to serve with gammon or grilled meats, chop and add to salsas and curries, cakes and puddings. Pineapple contains an enzyme called ‘bromelain', which breaks down protein, so it can be used as a marinade to tenderize meat. This enzyme also prevents gelatin-based desserts from setting correctly (although canned or cooked pineapple can be used as cooking destroys the enzyme).
How to prepare a pineapple
Using a sharp knife, slice off the top 2cm of the fruit with the crown of leaves. Cut a thin slice from the base. Slice off the skin in wide strips from top to bottom removing as many prickly ‘eyes' as possible. Remove any remaining ‘eyes' with the tip of a knife.
Cut the pineapple in half and then in half again to give wedges. Cut away the tough central core and discard. Cut the pineapple in to slices or chunks.
To cut pineapple rings, slice the pineapple crossways, and then cut away all the tough rind. Cut away the central core with a small round pastry cutter.
Try making a delicious upside down pineapple cake.