Pineapple is available year-round, but May is the prime season for fresh pineapples from Hawaii. This juicy, sweet-tart fruit is actually a cluster of many fruitlets that are fused around a central core.
The spiky-topped pineapple is a good source of fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6, and copper, and a great source of vitamin C. It’s also an excellent source of manganese, a mineral mandatory for both healthy bones and energy production. Pineapple is also packed with bromelain, an enzyme that helps break down proteins for digestion and also works as an anti-inflammatory agent.
When buying fresh pineapples, be sure to look for ripe (or almost ripe) fruits; green pineapple won’t be sweet. There should be a sweet, pineapple aroma at the stem. Avoid any pineapples with soft or dark spots. In addition, look for fruit that’s heavy for its size. A slightly unripe pineapple will ripen in three to four days stored at room temperature. Fresh, ripe pineapple can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Some prep tips for pineapple: First, slice off the top and bottom to steady the fruit, then use a sharp knife to pare off the skin, following the curve of the fruit; slice right behind the “eyes” so they’re removed in the process. After cutting the pineapple lengthwise into quarters, slice away the lighter-colored, fibrous core. And be sure to add the tropical tang of pineapple to more than just fruit salad; for inspiration, here are some deliciously diverse dishes featuring the fruit.
From New York Magazine
In this gazpacho-inspired soup, pineapple takes the place of the traditional tomatoes.
From Martha Stewart
Pineapple and jalapeños are first sautéed then dressed with red wine vinegar in this simple side dish.
From Fine Cooking
This recipe’s zesty spice rub works equally well with pork or poultry and pairs beautifully with pineapple.
From Food & Wine
Serve this classic pineapple dessert solo or pair it with ice cream.
For a decadent yet simple dessert, broil pineapple and serve with a rich rum-chocolate sauce.
From Serious Eats
Puree pineapple, lime juice, jalapenos and sugar and freeze to make mouthwatering homemade frozen pops.