Produce Picks: Pineapple

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.

Next Up

How to Shop for Organic Produce

With such a wide variety of options, shopping for organic foods has gotten a lot more complicated. Use the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen to help save money and make the healthiest organic choices.

Your Guide to Utilizing Spring Produce

The next time you're at the grocery store, grab some rhubarb, asparagus and carrots, and craft these springtime recipes from Food Network.

How to Pick a Watermelon

Our top tips for picking and buying summer’s quintessential fruit, whether you're picking it fresh off the vine or off the grocery store shelf.

Picnic Picks for Dad's Special Day

Put a spin on timeless, picnic-ready recipes that Dad is sure to love.

Editors’ Picks: Pantry Staples That Are Worth Upgrading

Keep these stocked for five-star meals, no matter what else you’ve got on hand.

These Products Actually Keep My Produce From Going Bad

No more throwing out rotten tomatoes and brown bananas!

How to Cut a Pineapple

Why pay extra for pre-cut pineapple when you can cut it yourself for a fraction of the price? Follow our step-by-step guide to perfect rings, wedges and chunks.

5 Quick Pickle Recipes For All Your Fresh Summer Produce

These pickled veggies can last, but once you taste ’em, they probably won’t last for long!

5 Best Sake Picks, According to a Spirits Expert

We rounded up the best yuzu and nigori sake as well as the best for cocktails!

Where Can You Pick Up a Classic Thanksgiving Meal?

Just can’t do a fully homecooked meal this year? Celebrate with these takeout options instead.