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What goes with pineapple? Learn the best ingredient pairings, meal ideas, popular flavor combinations, and other helpful tips.
Have you ever wondered why pineapples and coconut work so well together? It's because they have similar flavor profiles making them great flavor matches.
Knowing what goes well with pineapple will help you get started putting meals together using the ingredients you already have on hand. This helps keep things new and exciting instead of always falling back into the same meals each week.
What's A Pineapple?
Pineapple is a well-known tropical fruit with a spiky exterior resemblant to that of a pinecone, hence the name. When cut open, the yellow (and sometimes white) flesh is sweet and fibrous. The flavor is often described as a mixture of apple, strawberry, and peach all mixed together.
Have you ever eaten fresh pineapple and instantly noticed your mouth felt tingly or irritated? This is due to an enzyme called bromelain that breaks down protein (which is why it's often used as a meat tenderizer). Cooking the pineapple either by grilling, broiling, or roasting helps to remove most of the enzymes.
Fun fact: the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality, which is why you'll see them on everything from brass door knockers to light fixtures.
Pineapple is high in vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B1. The bromelain does more than hurt your mouth though, it breaks down mucus in respiratory conditions such as pneumonia and bronchitis. It's also been known to greatly reduce swelling in inflammatory conditions. To maximize the bromelain's effects, eat the fruit alone or between meals.
When to Buy
Pineapples are in season from late winter through summer. Peep the seasonal produce guide to see what else is in season right now.
What to Look For
A sweet and fragrant aroma is key to selecting a ripe pineapple. Sniff near the base where it's most aromatic. Ripe pineapples are also ever so slightly soft when squeezed, have glossy golden yellow skin, and a healthy-looking leaf crown. They should also feel heavy for their size.
Avoid buying a pineapple with no scent because it won't become sweeter once picked. It also shouldn't smell funky (like vinegar), which is a sign that it's overripe.
To improve its overall flavor, store a pineapple upside down for a day or two before cutting it. Since its sugars are more concentrated at the base (which is why that area is so aromatic), the inversion helps disperse the sugars to the other end.
Store cut pineapple in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to five days at most.
How to Prepare
Pineapples can be baked, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted, sautéed, or eaten raw. Broiling really heightens its flavor.
What Goes With Pineapple?
Chile peppers (red), ginger, jalapeño, red onion, shallots, spinach, sweet potatoes, and watercress.
Apricots, avocado, bananas, coconut, grapefruit, kiwi fruit, kumquats, lemon, lime, mangoes, oranges, papaya, passion fruit, pomegranate, raspberries, strawberries, and tamarind.
Allspice, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, curry, fennel seeds, pepper (black), saffron, salt (fleur de sel and kosher), star anise, and Szechuan pepper.
Basil, cilantro, lemongrass, mint, and rosemary.
Nuts & Seeds
Cashews, macadamia nuts, pistachios, and walnuts.
Honey, maple syrup, sugar (brown and white).
Butter, caramel, cream, ice cream, and yogurt.
Chicken, ham, meat, and seafood (esp. shrimp).
Chocolate, coconut products (cream, milk, desiccated), liquor: brandy, cognac, Cointreau, grand Marnier, kirsch, rum, sweet wine, olive oil, rice, tapioca, vanilla, and vinegar (rice).
Popular Pineapple Pairings
- avocado + watercress
- banana + ginger + rum + sugar + vanilla
- berries + citrus + mangoes + star anise
- coconut + honey + oranges
- ice cream + brown sugar + vanilla
- lime + sugar
- vanilla + rum + walnuts
What to Make With Pineapple
Pineapple is a commonly used ingredient in baked goods, cocktails, rice pudding, curry, marinades, fruit salad, jam, fried rice, and smoothies.
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