Harvest of the Month: Pineapple

Pineapples may not be the first produce that comes to mind in the winter months, but they are available year-round. They can be included in many traditional holiday recipes such as baked ham, pineapple upside down cake, and holiday punch. Pineapples are a good source of vitamin C, and they are the only source of a plant compound called bromelain, which is associated with several health benefits including enhanced immune function, cancer prevention, improved wound healing and better digestive health.

How to Select

Fresh pineapple will not ripen any further once it is cut from the plant, so don’t plan to let it ripen on the counter. Look for pineapples with green, fresh-looking leaves. The leaves should be easy to remove if it is fully ripe. The pineapple should be plump, feel heavy, and have a strong sweet aroma.

How to Store

Fresh pineapple is very perishable, so if you store it at room temperature, use it within two days. Refrigerating the whole pineapple in a perforated plastic bad can extend the lifespan 3 to 5 days. Once it is trimmed and cut, cover it in juice in an airtight container, refrigerate, and use within 5 to 7 days.

How to Prepare

Use a sharp, sturdy serrated knife to cut off the base and the crown. Slice off the skin in a downward vertical motion, following the natural curvature of the fruit. Be sure to slice far enough to cut off the woody eyes, or dig them out with the knife tip or the tip of a peeler. Trim away the center core.

Try pineapple in a slow cooker with this ham and pineapple recipe.

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