Have you ever grown a pineapple? It takes a long time, almost two years, but it’s such a rewarding experience and also a good test of patience. I know the first time I grew one it really made me appreciate ALL that goes into producing one pineapple.
National Pina Colada Day was this week (yes, I was singing “Escape” all day long…”If you like pina colada…”you?) So, I did a celebratory pina colada day morning news segment featuring the mighty pineapple. After my segment, a friend of mine sent me this picture of his perfect pineapple plant. I admit, I’m a bit jealous! What I loved even more than his treasure was the story behind it. He told me a friend of his had given him the pineapple almost a couple of years ago and he planted it for regrowth. He was now going to invite his friend back over to enjoy the “fruits of his labor” in a cocktail. I think that is a great no food waste way of paying it forward. Maybe we all should start this trend. I did give a pineapple to my neighbor this week, so we’ll see.
For these pineapple tips, if not using your own homegrown pineapple, I recommend buying an organic pineapple and taking the time to brush and wipe it clean.
Usually the first step we all do for pineapple eating is to cut the top off. Good step. Cut it off and peel away the bottom few leaves. Sit the “plant” in water until a little new growth begins then transplant it to the soil and wait!
Next, we usually cut off the skin. Save the skins or peels, don’t toss. Pineapple skin is full of healthy benefits.
To make Pineapple Peel Tea: Put peelings along with a cinnamon stick, cloves, and ginger into saucepan. Cover with water. Simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat. Let sit and steep for 20 minutes. Strain. Enjoy hot. If like cold tea, use mint instead. Can also be steeped with black tea.
Pineapple Peels make a great meat tenderizer, too, for they are full of bromelain, an enzyme which helps break down proteins. Make “tea” as above only omit all seasoning. Let cool. Use in your favorite marinade or add to barbecue sauce.
Next comes the core. If you are not one who enjoys chewing on it as is, consider these Pineapple Core Uses:
- Freeze and use frozen core to help keep pitchers of iced tea, lemonade, white wine, or sangria chilled or cut into cubes before freezing for tasty ice cubes
- Freeze and use in your morning smoothies
- Stuff the core in chicken cavity before roasting
- Grate the core. Freeze it and use it in baking
- Throw core in water when making rice, even better when making coconut rice-think pina colada!
- Put core into pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Softened core is now ready to use. Use pineapple stock to make a simple syrup (equal parts stock to sugar, stir until sugar is dissolved) to use in cocktails or recipes like this one, Pineapple Core Buttercream Frosting. I can’t tell you how good it is on coconut cookies topped with toasted coconut flakes-think edible pina colada!
Put on Your TO COOK IS TO CREATE Thinking Cap: Think about all the pineapple recipes, what ones could you incorporate the core or the peels? How about a tropical pasta salad using the core in the pasta water and then in the salad? Like extra crunch in your cole slaw or fruit salad? Simply grate the raw rind into it. Make pineapple salsa? Use some of the grated core along with the diced pineapple. Want to add some zing to stir fry? Stir fry cubed pineapple cores into your recipe. Use pineapple core “stock” along with other stocks when making soup, especially nice with black bean soup. What else would benefit from some pineapple core buttercream frosting? Banana bread? Have a little bit of leftover frosting? Use it as a dip for graham crackers!
FOOD FUN: A little pineapple life lesson, “Be a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown, and be sweet on the inside.”