February 23, 2006 at 6:07 a.m.
Pineapples need to be harvested as nearly ripe as possible and rushed to market because they don’t continue to ripen after picking. This fruit has no starch reserve, so there is nothing to convert sugar once it has been harvested. You won’t gain anything by keeping it on the counter to ripen as you can do with some fruits.
Pineapple should be eaten as soon as possible for the best flavor, but to keep it a few days longer, cut it away from the shell and store it in the fridge in a tight container or wrap in plastic wrap. You can freeze fresh pineapple by just wrapping it airtight in heavy duty plastic wrap or bags. The info doesn’t say, but I’m thinking you can freeze it after you’ve cut away the shell.
How do you know if it’s really ripe inside? Ripe pineapple has a certain sound to it when you thump it with your knuckle. It’s a dull “thud” sound, like when you’re tapping a watermelon to see if it’s ripe.
Be sure you don’t use fresh pineapple when a gelatin salad recipe calls for pineapple as it contains a certain enzyme that breaks down and when mixed with the gelatin, it will not set. Cottage cheese, sour cream and other dairy products should not be mixed with fresh pineapple until just before serving time.
Let’s do recipes using canned as well as fresh pineapple.
This chicken dish is so easy to make and ready in just 25 minutes, start to finish.
HONEY-GLAZED CHICKEN TERIYAKI
1-20 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained (save juice)
3 T. honey
1-1/2 t. soy sauce (I use lite.)
1/4 t. garlic powder
couple dashes of powdered ginger
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
In a bowl, combine 1 T. pineapple juice, soy sauce, garlic and ginger; set aside.
Put chicken in a single layer in a foil-lined 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour pineapple chunks over chicken. Pour sauce over chicken and pineapple.
Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until no longer pink in center. If pineapple is getting too browned, cover pan loosely with foil.
Transfer chicken to a serving plate and top with pineapple and sauce.
*When I make this dish, I use a few type of foil called “release” and the chicken or sauce does not stick. Serve with white, brown or wild rice. Serves 5.
This salad goes really well with pork, turkey or chicken.
SUNFLOWER PINEAPPLE SLAW
2-1/2 c. fresh pineapple cut in tidbit-size pieces or one 20 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained (save juice)
2-1/2 c. shredded cabbage (1/2 small head or about 1/2 lb.)
1 c. shredded carrots (2 small)
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1/2 c. mayonnaise
3 T. orange juice concentrate, undiluted*
1/4 t. salt
couple dashes white pepper
In a large bowl, combine first four ingredients. Stir together mayonnaise, orange juice, salt and pepper. Pour over salad mixture, toss and chill for one hour.
*If using canned pineapple, use 2 T. pineapple juice and 2 T. orange juice concentrate. Serves 6.
This quick bread recipe makes three large loaves––one to eat and two to freeze for later.
PINEAPPLE BANANA BREAD
1 c. butter or margarine, softened
2-1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. honey
1 T. vanilla
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1-20 oz. can crushed pineapple in its own juice, undrained
4-1/2 c. flour
1 c. chopped walnuts, optional
2 t. cinnamon
1-1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
Grease three 9x5 inch loaf pans; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar and honey; beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in bananas and pineapple. Combine last five ingredients in a bowl, stirring to combine. Stir into pineapple mixture just until ingredients are moistened.
Turn into the three pans. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and cool on racks. Makes three loaves, about 16 slices each.
And, a pineapple dessert.
CREAMY PINEAPPLE DESSERT
1-20 oz. can pineapple tidbits*
1 small package vanilla pudding mix (not instant)
1 small package lemon-flavored gelatin
1-4 oz. carton whipped topping, thawed (1 c.)
2 c. vanilla wafer cookie crumbs
1/4 c. melted butter or margarine
Drain pineapple (save juice). Add water to juice to make 2 cups liquid. Combine pudding mix, gelatin and juice mixture in medium saucepan. Cook, stirring over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil. Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap or waxed paper; refrigerate until thickened and cooled completely; fold topping into pudding mixture.
Meanwhile, combine cookie crumbs and butter, mixing well. Press into a 9-inch square pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes; cool.
Pour pudding mixture into cooled crust. Arrange pineapple tidbits over pudding. Chill about two hours until firm. Serves 9.
*If you don’t have tidbits, cut chunks of pineapple in half.
Thought for today: A trip to nostalgia now and then is good for the spirit, as long as you don’t set up housekeeping.
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