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Ingredient of the month : Pineapple

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Tropical Goodness

Pineapple is one fantastic fruit, spiny outside sweet inside. Also known as Ananas, this fruit is actually made of many individual berries that fuse together around a central core. Each pineapple scale is an individual berry. Its nutritional benefits are as fascinating as their anatomy. Pineapples contain high amounts of vitamin C and manganese. These tropical treats are also a good way to get important dietary fiber. They are low in calorie, rich with pectin. No matter how much you love pineapples, eat with restrain. Excessive raw pineapple can be harmful.

Selection and Storage

Choose Pineapples that are heavy for their size. While larger fruits will have a greater proportion of edible flesh, they make no difference in quality over a small size pineapple.

Choose fruit that should be free of soft spots, mold, bruises and darkened “eyes,” all of which may indicate that the fruit is over ripe. One can judge freshness, ripeness and quality by tapping a finger against the side of the fruit. A good, ripe pineapple has a dull, solid sound while immature and poor quality are indicated by a hollow thud. It stops ripening as soon as it is picked, therefore choose fruit with a fragrant sweet smell. Avoid those that smell musty, sour or fermented.

Ripe fruits perish quickly if left at room temperature and should be eaten as soon as possible. Pineapples cannot be stored in the refrigerator for long periods. You may prepare the fruit and place the whole or cut sections wrapped inside an air tight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days for later use.

Preparation

Pineapple can be cut and peeled in many ways. The crown and the base of the fruit are chopped off with a knife. To peel the fruit, place its base side down and carefully slice off the skin, carving out any remaining “eyes” with the tip of your knife. Once the rind is removed, cut the fruit into slices or chunks

Serving Suggestions

- Pair very well with a roast leg of ham.
– Raw pineapple is a great tenderizer for meat
– Pineapple juice can be a refreshing drink to serve
– A sweet and tangy addition to salads
– Nothing better than a Hawaiian- Ham and cheese pizza
– Lastly ideal for cakes, desserts and jams

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