Pineapple is formed by many flowers

that grow around a central core. Each flower produces a fruit. Pineapples are formed when all these little fruits merge. The remnants of each little fruit form the "eyes".

One serving, about 1/2 cup, has about 40 calories, vitamins C and A, and fiber.

The fruit is picked when it is ripe. They will not ripen further after they have been picked. Look for deep green crown leaves and fruit that is slightly soft.

The word "pineapple" comes from the Spanish word, Pina,because pineapples look like de pino - pine cones.

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Here are some delicious recipes showing the versatility of this sweet fruit.

Pina Colada Tofu Smoothie

4 oz soft silken tofu
1/2 cup soy milk or non-fat milk
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 tsp coconut extract (coconut extract contributes flavor without saturated fat)
2 tsp sugar

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serve over cracked or crushed ice.

Pineapple Angel Food Cake

16 oz box angel food cake mix
20 oz can crushed pineapple in unsweetened pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 350.
Prepare a 13x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix with undrained pineapple.
Mix well.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow to cool. If desired, serve with whipped topping.

Thai Pineapple Salad

A cool and spicy side dish.

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fish sauce
6 serrano chilies, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp chopped lime leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dried shrimp, finely chopped
6 cups 1/2 inch diced fresh pineapple
3/4 cup finely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, fish sauce, chilies, sugar, kaffir lime leaves, and garlic.
Stir in dried shrimp. Let stand 30 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, pour dressing to taste over pineapple and toss gently.
Transfer to serving dish and garnish with peanuts and cilantro.
Serve with remaining dressing, if any.
Makes about 8 servings.
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