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While pineapple is delicious canned, many people agree that fresh pineapple takes the prize in flavor. This tropical fruit is generally available year round in the United States, with the majority imported from Costa Rica. Its scales on the thick outer skin are actually the fruit's flowers. One pineapple is made up of a cluster of individual flowerets that fuse together to form the entire fruit. Contrary to popular belief, pineapples do not grow on trees, but rather they come from a flowering plant.

A pineapple's scaly skin can be intimidating to cut. Practice these steps:

  1. Cut off crown and bottom ends with a large knife and discard.
  2. Stand the pineapple upright and shave off the outer skin, including eyes that may be left behind, by holding the knife parallel to the pineapple and slicing down.
  3. Cut pineapple in half from top to bottom.
  4. Halve each piece again to make four pieces.
  5. Slice off the core from each piece. (Feel to find where the firm core is and where the softer flesh is to avoid losing too much fruit.)
  6. Halve each piece again to make 8 pieces.
  7. Cut each piece into ½-inch triangles.

Check out this 30 second video from Utah State Extension to see for yourself!

Use fresh pineapple to make salsa, to put in a fresh fruit salad or to top a lettuce salad. Bromelain, a mixture of enzymes in pineapple, helps to break down collagen fibers in meats, making them juicy and tender. While it works great with tough meats, do not use fresh pineapple in gelatin. The bromelain will breakdown the gelatin and restrict if from setting (canned fruit is fine). Enjoy the fresh taste of a fresh pineapple!

Pineapple Barbecue Chicken (Printable PDF)

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

1 ½ cups, fresh pineapple, chopped

1 cup favorite barbecue sauce

Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Spread into prepared dish. Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reads at least 165°F measured by a food thermometer. Stir, and spoon sauce and juices over chicken and vegetables. May serve over rice or in a flour tortilla.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 300 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 540 milligrams sodium, 29 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 35 grams protein