Of all the fruits, pineapple has to be the most refreshing, sweet and delicious. In my childhood it was usually only available in tins, but now whole pineapples can be bought quite cheaply in supermarkets almost all year round.
It’s great that we can now have fresh juicy pineapple whenever we fancy it, but even more wonderful that this most succulent of fruit has a whole range of health benefits.
How unusual that something which tastes so sumptuous is so good for you!
Pineapple contains special enzymes called bromelains which can help improve digestion and aid the healing of tissues after injury, ulcers or surgery. Pineapple can also reduce inflammation and joint pain, and there is even some evidence that it can help angina and discourage the formation of dangerous blood clots since it may help improve circulation in people who suffer from narrowed arteries.
As well as containing an adult’s daily dose of vitamin C, a portion of pineapple also contains vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, sodium and antioxidants. These vitamins and minerals have a whole range of benefits which promote overall health and help protect against some life-threatening conditions.
Pineapples are not particularly quick to prepare but an efficient method makes the job easier. First, cut the top and bottom off the fruit, then cut into two or three wide slices. Use a sharp knife to thinly slice off the tough outer skin of the fruit. The core of the fruit is edible, though it is tough so may be discarded at the preparation stage. Finally, slice the fruit into rings or small chunks and refrigerate until use. Pineapple will keep for about three days in the fridge without turning brown.
As an ingredient in recipes and meals, pineapple is more versatile than you might think. It’s delicious eaten on its own as a dessert or snack, but there are lots of other options. For instance:
1. Accompany it with cream, ice cream, crème fraiche or Greek yoghurt, garnished with mint leaves
2. Freshly squeezed and drunk as juice
3. Pineapple juice can be used in a range of cocktails such as Pina Colada, Mai Tai and Blue Hawaiian.
4. Pineapple is a great partner for many other fresh fruits and a star player in fruit salads.
5. Pineapple upside down cake is served with custard as a traditional dessert. Slices of pineapple line a dish, then they’re covered with a sponge mixture. The dish is inverted to serve the pudding.
6. Pineapple can be an ingredient in moist fruit cakes, carrot cake or passion cake
7. It is a favourite accompaniment to cheese, especially when they are both cubed and served on cocktail sticks as a canapé.
8. In salads: for instance, with avocado, crispy lettuce and watercress
9. Sweet and sour cooked dishes such as Chinese sweet and sour chicken, pork or prawns.
10. In the 1960’s a pineapple ring was regularly served as an accompaniment to a gammon steak. These days a pineapple ring often finds its way into a “Hawaiian” burger.
11. Pineapple is often an ingredient in mild curry dishes such as Malayan chicken and Thai pineapple chicken curry
12. It is included in some coronation chicken recipes
13. In kebabs pineapple chunks can be skewered and grilles with cubes of meat and chunks of vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, courgettes and peppers
Find the complete list of the Top Twenty Healthiest Foods here
And check out these other healthy foods:
How do you like to eat pineapple? Please add your ideas in the Comments below.