Produce Picks: Pineapple

Pineapple on a wooden background

Pineapple on a wooden background

One of Christopher Columbus’ many discoveries during his voyages was the pineapple, found on Guadeloupe Island in the Caribbean. They are low-growing plants whose hundreds of tiny flowers become fruitlets that join around the core to form the fruit. Pineapple has many health benefits. Its significant amounts of bromelain, an enzyme, may help ease inflammation, aid in digestion and potentially even suppress coughs. Just beware if you eat the entire pineapple: Its acidity may leave you with a sore tongue!

Nutrients

One cup of raw pineapple contains 82 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein, and it is an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. Pineapple is also a good source of thiamin, vitamin B6 and copper.

Textures and Flavors

In its raw form, pineapple is sweet, fibrous and acidic. It functions beautifully, however, in condiments, in baked goods and even when grilled. Heat unveils its buttery, rich sweetness and helps to break down its fiber. In relishes and salsa, pineapple contributes a sweet, crunchy tanginess.

Its versatility lends itself to a variety of cuisines. Caribbean spices like cumin, chile, paprika, nutmeg and thyme add “kick” to balance with the sweetness of the fruit, while Central and South American cuisine incorporates chiles, fresh onions, cilantro and pork. American recipes like kebabs and grilled meats pair perfectly with the juicy fruit when it is added to marinades, as the acidity breaks down the meat and promotes charring on the grill. Pineapple simply grilled on its own is equally delicious.

Food Pairings:

Pineapple + coconut + macadamia nuts

Pineapple + other tropical fruits + bananas + strawberries

Pineapple + cilantro + jalapenos + spices (cumin, paprika, nutmeg, thyme)

Pineapple + vinegar + peppers

Pineapple + avocado + lime + honey

Pineapple + ham + hot mustard

Pineapple salsa, cooled (red bell pepper + jalapeno + tomato) + seafood

Pineapple + brown sugar + butter

Pineapple + coconut + hazelnuts

Recipes:

Healthy Carrot Muffins

Mango, Strawberry and Pineapple Smoothie

Mango Pineapple Juice

Mascarpone with Raspberry and Pineapple

Mini Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes

Through his book and blog, Death of the Diet, Jason Machowsky, MS, RD, CSCS, empowers people to live the life they want by integrating healthy eating and physical activity habits into their daily routines. You can follow him on Twitter @JMachowskyRDFit.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Produce Picks: Squash

Learn everything you should know about squash, from its health benefits to best recipes.

Produce Picks: Sweet Potato

Make the most of this hearty, nutritious tuber while it's in peak season.

Produce Pick of the Month: Beets

Let’s explore what makes the beet unbeatable.

Nutrition News: Healthy Food Choices, Fructose and Trans Fat Under Fire, Top Produce Picks in June

Researchers urge focus on healthy food benefits, fructose study has startling results, the FDA may ban trans fats, and get the top produce pick for June.

Produce Safety 101

Keep your produce safe with these simple tips for shopping, preparation and storage.

Springtime Produce

Below is Food Network's list of spring-inspired recipes, each rich with in-season produce that will transform any basic dish into an inspired one.

Market Watch: Winter Produce

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands local produce. Eating locally year round is easier if you live in California or Florida but here’s how I do it in Connecticut.

POLL: What's Your Favorite Fall Produce?

Cast your vote in Food Network's poll to share your pick of fall produce.

Preserve It: Saving Spring Produce

Want to savor the deliciousness of spring produce a while longer? Preserving your goodies will let you enjoy them all year round.