Things are heating up in North America, which means more and more of everyone’s favorite fruits are in season and on sale. Strawberries, peaches, and mangos are just a few of the delicious fruits starting to appear at great prices in supermarkets. Pineapple is another! One of the most versatile fruits out there, pineapple can be enjoyed fresh, grilled, baked, or blended. Here are some of the best ways you can enjoy a fresh pineapple this summer.
Nutritional Benefits of Pineapple
But first, what are the health benefits of pineapple? One serving (one cup of pineapple chunks) contains impressive amounts of both vitamin C and manganese. It also contains smaller amounts of nutrients like copper, folate, and thiamin. A pineapple’s bright yellow color indicates that it’s rich in antioxidants, which help the body reduce inflammation and improve your immune system. With so much natural sweetness and all these great benefits, what’s not to love?
Fresh pineapple is a great side dish to any meal or a refreshing dessert for afterward. It usually won’t need anything added, although some people like to add a bit of salt to enhance the sweet flavor. Many people experience a raw or burning sensation in their mouth after eating a lot of fresh pineapple. This is due to an enzyme unique to pineapple called bromelain. Bromelain digests protein, and guess what? When you eat it fresh, especially in large quantities, the enzyme starts to break down the sensitive skin inside your mouth.
Bromelain is most concentrated in the core, so if you experience this sensation, you’ll want to make sure you’ve completely cut out the core before digging into your fruit. You can also avoid it by cooking the fruit, which denatures the protein.
Grilled Pineapple Slices
If you’ve ever been to a Brazilian-style grill, you’ve undoubtedly tried grilled pineapple. It’s incredibly simple to make this at home. Sprinkle some brown sugar or honey over your pineapple slices and throw them on the grill for 2–3 minutes per side. Wonderful on its own, it also makes a great addition to an island-themed teriyaki burger.
Piña coladas are a wonderfully refreshing drink for a hot summer day. Add fresh or frozen pineapple chunks, some cream of coconut (or coconut milk if you’re watching your fat intake), ice, and sweetener of your choice to a blender and blend until smooth. For an adult-only version, add some rum. Don’t forget the slice of lime and a cherry on top!
Anyone who’s been to Disneyland most likely remembers the sweet taste of a Dole Whip. If you haven’t tried it before, it’s worth the (minimal) effort involved to make it at home! The recipe is simple: blend one cup of frozen pineapple with a frozen banana and sweetener of your choice. Use coconut milk to thin it to your preferred consistency and enjoy!
Dutch Oven Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Everything tastes better when you’re camping, even pineapple! (If that’s possible). Most pineapple upside-down recipes call for only pineapple slices, a vegan cake mix, brown sugar, and vegan butter, but you can adapt any vegan pineapple upside-down cake for a Dutch oven by looking up the number of coals needed to reach the right oven temperature for your diameter of the Dutch oven. If you’ve never tried Dutch oven cooking before, this is a great starter dish that’s nearly impossible to get wrong!
We hope you enjoy some of these summery ways to enjoy pineapple in the coming months. What is your favorite way to eat this delicious tropical fruit? Let us know in the comments!