How to Select A Fresh Pineapple
To begin with, select a pineapple that is plump and fresh looking. Fresh, green leaves in the crown are a good sign. The body should be firm – not soft. The larger the pineapple, the greater proportion of edible fruit. That doesn’t mean necessarily that it is better tasting or any riper than smaller fruit. Shell color is not necessarily a sign of maturity or ripeness.
A pineapple can be ripe when it is practically all green outside. The plantation calls it “green-shell ripe.” Shell color of ripe fruit are divided into seven groups or levels ranging from No. 0, all green, to No. 6, all yellow. A pineapple will not ripen any further – get any sweeter – after picking. It is sugar that makes pineapple sweet after ripe.
The sugar comes from the conversion of starch reserves in the stump at the time of ripening. Fresh pineapples from Hawaii are picked at maximum ripeness for delivery to U.S. markets. The sooner they are eaten, the better. If you don’t plan to use a fresh pineapple right away, store it in your refrigerator. It will keep better and longer.
Don’t be fooled:
Ease in pulling the leaves out of the crown is not a sign of ripeness or good quality.
Some tips on using pineapple:
Fresh pineapple contains bromelain, a protelytic enzyme that breaks down protein in a manner similar to what happens in digestion. Because of this, gelatin made with fresh pineapple won’t set. Cottage cheese, sour cream and other dairy products should not be mixed with fresh pineapple until just before serving. But, you can use fresh pineapple to great advantage in meat marinade to add a flavor accent and tenderize less tender cuts of meat.
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