Culinista Kitchen®,  Health

Pineapple 101

The Culinistas dish Pineapple & Persimmons prepared by a private chef during a weekly meal prep service.

by The Culinistas

We’ve shared our thoughts on fruit salad, but now it’s time to address one of our favorite fruit salad ingredients: pineapple.  

Where do pineapples come from?

Pineapples are native to Paraguay and southern Brazil.  Domesticated by the region’s natives, pineapples were brought North to Mexico and the West Indies from South and Central America.  Pineapples as a symbol of hospitality date way back; Carribbeans placed pineapples at the entrances to their properties or dwellings to welcome and signify friendship.  As Christopher Columbus and more Europeans came across the Atlantic, they began to adopt this symbolism, implementing pineapple carvings around entrances throughout England, Spain, and eventually the New England region.  They were introduced to the Philippines and presumably Guam and Hawaii by Spaniards during the early sixteenth century. Growing and trading pineapples soon became a major source of revenue for these settlers and expanded the reach of pineapple.

Throughout the past century, pineapples have transitioned to the forefront of commercial food production from the tropics.  Today, pineapples grow across the Central and South America.

When is pineapple in season?

Because pineapple is tropical and imported, it’s easy to overlook that there is a season.  Pineapples are at their prime from March to August.  They grow best in hotter areas; and the hotter the better.

What are the health benefits of pineapple?

The Culinistas has a special place in our hearts for pineapple, not only because of its sweet and tangy flavor profile, but for it’s nutritional benefits as well.  Not only does pineapple boost the immune system, it contains high amounts of Manganese and Vitamin C, which also work to improve bodily health. Manganese plays a vital role in building strong bones and connective tissue, while Vitamin C combats heart disease and joint pain.  In addition to this, pineapple contains high amounts of Thiamin, a B vitamin that assists in energy production, and Bromelain, an enzyme that works tirelessly to break down proteins, aiding in digestion and also a super skin restoring vitamin.

How can you elevate pineapple?

Enhance a simple bowl of pineapple slices by sprinkling a dash of rosewater, or a dusting of sumac.  Try pairing it with other fruits like mangoes or persimmons for a fun fruit salad or throw it on the grill in the summertime.  The char and caramelization that form on the outside of the fruit will enhance its sweetness, making it the perfect summertime dessert. A drizzle of chili-infused honey will make for a cohesive summer BBQ dessert.

A special thanks to Sylvie Rosokoff for the beautiful photograph.