Pineapples have exceptional juiciness and a vibrant tropical flavor that balances the tastes of sweet and tart. They are second only to bananas as America's favorite tropical fruit. Although the season for pineapple runs from March through June, they are available year-round in local markets.
There's good reason they're one of our favorite fruits - they're LOADED with vitamins and minerals (vitamin C, vitamin B complex, folate, manganese, and copper). And the pineapple is a terrific source of dietary fiber.
But another reason pineapple is so good for us is its natural and abundant enzyme, bromelain. Enzymes help us digest and utilize the food we eat - really an important issue when trying to lose weight and maintain energy.
And besides the enzyme factor, bromelain also addresses excessive inflammation, excessive coagulation of the blood, and certain types of tumor growth. In short, regularly including pineapple in the diet is one of the tastiest and easiest ways to build the immune system and boost the anti-oxidant factor in cells and the bloodstream. Eating pineapple is a win-win in every way.
We eat it fresh in salads and mixed into cottage cheese and yogurt.
I add it to my green smoothies and I love to puree it and make ice cubes from it. Pineapple ice cubes added to mineral water makes an amazing healthy "soda pop."
My mom loved to make us an upside down cake using canned pineapple rings. Sometimes she'd use a scratch yellow cake recipe, and sometimes she'd just whip up a box cake mix and simply pour it over the fruit. She always did this in her cast iron frying pan, by the way.
And have you noticed that most children really like pineapple? We skewer chunks with other fruits for after-school snacks or healthy desserts. There's something intriguing about skewered things that entices children to eat. And we all know it's a favorite on the barbecue.
Of course, there's dried pineapple, too. Who doesn't love that? It's considered one of the most popular snacks for road trips, day hikes, and back-packing excursions. No surprises there - it's filling and satisfying and there's no mess to it.
One last idea: I steep the peels and core in a large pot of water for a few hours and freeze the liquid. It makes the best lemonade and fruit punch base you've ever tasted! With so many uses, and with only 82 calories to a cup of fresh pineapple, it deserves the raves it gets.