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All Things Pineapple
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 • Posted May 9, 2013

Brooke and I love pineapple, especially fresh pineapple. It has been very inexpensive for the past few weeks at our local grocery store, so I wanted to share some ideas on how to use it. It is such a refreshing treat! When you’re shopping for one, try to make sure that the outside is free of mold - you have to look for it to see it. It often shows up first on the core on the bottom. If you do find that you purchased one with mold on it, cut it up and refrigerate it in a covered container as soon as possible.

Once the fresh pineapple is cut from the plant, it will not ripen any further, so forget about letting it ripen on the counter. As with any produce, make sure you wash it off by rinsing it in clean running water before you cut it. Even if you aren’t eating any of the outer layers, you still have to cut through them and any bacteria that is on the outside can get into the good part through your knife. Cut off the top and bottom, all of the “spiney” part around the outside and then cut around the core and throw the core away too. The middle is the good part!

Pineapple will always remind me of my grandfather, and that is another reason why I love it. We would eat it on anything! Here are a couple of ideas from my experience: I love to chop it up with any other fruits(canned, fresh or frozen will work, but the frozen may need a little honey if it’s tart!) that I have, add in some lime juice and cilantro, and serve it with cinnamon tortilla chips (buttered whole wheat tortillas sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, then cut into wedges with a pizza cutter and toasted or baked).

Another dish I love is to make jalapeno poppers (jalapenos stuffed with Neufchatel low fat cream cheese and wrapped in bacon and grilled or baked) with a strip of fresh pineapple inside. I’ve also used the small red, yellow, and orange bell peppers to do this and it’s much sweeter and kid friendly if you the heat of jalapenos won’t work for you. It’s almost as good, and it is much less messy and lower in fat to use turkey bacon. They won’t flare up on the grill then either!

Broiled Pineapple Sundaes

    * 3 tablespoons brown sugar * 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice * 1 1/2 teaspoons honey * 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon * 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger * 1/4 teaspoon vanilla * 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh pineapple * 1/4 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped * 2 cups vanilla fat-free frozen Greek yogurt

1. Preheat broiler to high.

2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

3. Spread pineapple in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan lined with foil. Broil 5 minutes or until bubbly.

4. Place nuts in a skillet; cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking pan frequently.

5. Add in the liquid mixture to the nuts. Cook on medium for 5 minutes. Toss in the broiled pineapple once it’s done, and stir it all together.

6. Spoon 1/2 cup yogurt into each of 4 dessert bowls. Top each serving with about 1/4 cup pineapple mixture.

Notes: You could do this as a breakfast sundae with regular yogurt. I think it would be good with any type of toasted nuts, I am partial to pecans or walnuts. I think it would be excellent as a topping for an angel food cake, or even chicken, pork, or beef- but like I said before, I like pineapple on anything!

Lime Coconut Grilled Pineapple

    * 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut * Zest and juice of 1 lime * 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar * 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges

1. Place coconut in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until coconut is golden and lightly toasted. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Preheat grill to medium. In a small bowl, combine lime juice and sugar.

3. Oil grill. Put pineapple wedges on grill and cook, turning once, until softened and browned in spots, 7 to 8 minutes total. Transfer pineapple to a dish and dot with lime juice mixture.

4. Just before serving, arrange pineapple on a platter and sprinkle with lime zest and toasted coconut.

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