It's distinctive look and sweet flavor made a splash when early European explorers brought pineapples home from the Caribbean and South America. Pineapples were woven into coats of arms and used as architectural ornaments.
Today, most pineapples come from Hawaii and Southeast Asia. Though they are available year round, the peak season is in spring. Once you get past the onerous task of peeling the prickly exterior (we've got tips) pineapple is a succulent, vitamin-rich fruit delight.
Pineapple is packed with vitamin
C . One cup of this juicy, tropical fruit has 40 percent of the daily requirement (RDA),
about 75 calories and the added bonus of two grams of fiber.
What to Look For
Pick pineapples with golden orange-brown skin and a sweet aroma. A leaf pulled gently should come away easily. Pineapples do not ripen further after they're harvested. Avoid pineapples with dried leaves or soft spots.
How to Store
Although the sugar content of pineapples is determined by when they're harvested, they will get juicier and softer if you store them at room temperature until half the fruit is yellow and the bottom has a sweet aroma.
Refrigerate after preparing.
Getting Past the Prickly Part
Place the pineapple on its side and lop off the frond top and the bottom. Next, stand it upright on the stem end and trim off the prickly exterior. The "eyes" or little brown nubs underneath will follow a diagonal pattern. Take a thin paring knife and slice down each side of the "eyes" to remove.
Using this technique, the fruit keeps it shape and you won't waste any. Cut into chunks or rings.
Pineapple makes a tasty contribution to fruit salads, salsas, sorbets and smoothies. Cooked it's good with ginger, curry, coconut, rum or black pepper. Or sizzle it under the broiler for a hot dessert. Try these recipes:
Spring Fruit Salad
Tropical Fruit Salsa
Roasted Pineapple au Poivre