Pineapple, the tropical fruit par excellence, is offered all year round in our supermarkets. Native to South America, it can be cooked in desserts as well as in sweet and savory dishes. Rich in vitamins and minerals, it brings a multitude of health benefits.
Characteristics of pineapple:
- Rich in manganese;
- Contains bromelain;
- Rich in fiber;
- Promotes blood circulation;
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Pineapple and its nutritional properties: understand everything in 2 min
What is pineapple?
Food identity card
- Type: Fruit;
- Family: Bromeliaceae;
- Origin: South America;
- Season: October to April;
- Yellow color ;
- Flavor: Sweet.
Characteristics of pineapple
During its harvest, the pineapple is composed of a thick bark whose color goes from green to brown through to pink. This bark contains a sweet yellow flesh and is crowned with a crown of green leaves. A pineapple weighs on average 1.8kg.
Word from the nutritionist
Rich in water and fiber, pineapple is a food of choice during periods of weight loss. One serving corresponds to 150g of fresh pineapple.
Per 100g of raw pineapple:
|Vitamin C||18 mg|
|Vitamin B1||0.08 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.09 mg|
9 benefits of pineapple: why eat it?
- Bromelain is known for its anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, antiplatelet and fibrinolytic properties (used to dissolve blood clots).
- Some studies have shown that, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, bromelain, very present in pineapple, could prove to be a safe alternative treatment for osteoarthritis.
- Polyphenols and flavonoids, phenolic compounds found in plants, have antioxidant properties. They can help prevent the onset of several diseases (cancers, cardiovascular diseases and various chronic diseases) by neutralizing free radicals in the body.
- Fresh pineapple and pineapple juice are excellent sources of manganese. Manganese acts as a cofactor for several enzymes that facilitate a dozen different metabolic processes. It also participates in the prevention of damage caused by free radicals.
- Fresh pineapple is a good source of vitamin C. Canned pineapple and pineapple juice are sources of this vitamin. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties and may be partly responsible for the beneficial effects associated with high consumption of fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C in the blood helped reduce oxidation and inflammation in the body, a protective effect against the onset of certain degenerative diseases associated with aging.
- Pineapple (fresh, canned or juice) is a source of vitamin B1. Also called thiamine, vitamin B1 is part of a coenzyme necessary for energy production, mainly from the carbohydrates we eat. It also participates in the transmission of nerve impulses and promotes normal growth.
- Pineapple (fresh, canned or juice) is a source of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, is part of coenzymes that participate in the metabolism of proteins and fatty acids as well as in the synthesis (manufacture) of neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses). It also contributes to the production of red blood cells and allows them to transport more oxygen. Pyridoxine is also necessary for the transformation of glycogen into glucose and it contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system. This vitamin finally plays a role in the formation of certain components of nerve cells and in the modulation of hormone receptors.
- Pineapple (fresh, canned or juice) is a source of copper. As a constituent of several enzymes, copper is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (protein used for the structure and repair of tissues) in the body. Several copper-containing enzymes also help the body’s defense against free radicals.
- The pineapple is rich in fibers which stimulate the intestinal transit and allow to play on satiety.
Choosing the right pineapple
The scent of a pineapple is a good indicator of its degree of maturity and its sugar content: it should be full and fruity, but not too pronounced, a probable sign of the beginning of fermentation.
On the other hand, the color of the bark is not necessarily a good indication: a fruit with green bark can be perfectly ripe.
For equal size, choose the heaviest fruits, whose leaves are firm, fresh and of a beautiful dark green. Avoid those that appear old, dried out, damaged or have soft parts, or those with brown leaves.
It is best to avoid canned fruits, drinks and juices when they contain large amounts of added sugar.
The different varieties of pineapple
There are over a hundred varieties of pineapple. In trade, there are generally five varieties: Victoria, Queen, Caribbean, Abacaxi and Cayenne. We differentiate the different varieties by their size, the color of the bark and the flavor of their flesh.
In the refrigerator: Pineapple can be stored for 1 or 2 days at room temperature, but it is best to keep it in the refrigerator (up to 4 or 5 days). We put it in a perforated plastic bag in the fruit and vegetable bin. Peeled and cut into pieces, it will keep for a few days in an airtight container. We have to cover the pieces of water.
In the freezer: Peel it, remove the heart and cut it into pieces or make a puree and put it in freezer bags. It is recommended not to freeze it for more than 3 months, at the risk of losing its flavor.
How to cook it? How to match it?
How to peel and cut the pineapple. Remove the crown of leaves and the base of the fruit. Place the fruit vertically on a work surface. Peel it up and down with a knife, then cut it into slices. Remove the heart with a cookie cutter or knife.
- Serve it plain.
- Milk or yogurt shakes. Put in the blender milk (from cow, goat, soy or almond) or yogurt with a banana, pineapple and ice cubes.
- Fruit Skewers. Pineapple, orange, grape, apple, pear, etc.
- Salsa. Mix diced pineapple with red pepper, jalapeño, cilantro leaves and chopped onion. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and serve with corn chips or grilled fish.
- Cold soup. Dice pineapple, cucumber, tomato, and chop a sweet onion. Combine the ingredients and add a fresh basil flavored vinaigrette. Cool before serving.
- North-south salad. Mix diced pineapple, sections of orange and various greens (lettuce, chicory, lamb’s lettuce or mixed greens). Add pieces of cheese and walnuts. Season with balsamic vinegar sauce with orange zest.
- The sweet flavor of pineapple can enhance a simple carrot and cabbage salad. More surprising: the spinach salad, ricotta cheese and diced pineapple, drizzled with a vinaigrette.
- In sorbets, creams and frozen yogurts, as well as in pies, cakes and puddings. For example, garnish a coconut pie preparation with grilled pineapple rings and bake in the oven.
- Dip pineapple chunks in melted chocolate. Let cool and serve with a cheese with personality, such as Roquefort or aged goat cheese baked in the oven.
- If we traditionally associate pineapple with pork (especially ham), it is because its enzyme (bromelain) has the effect of softening and facilitating digestion. Grill pineapple slices with a tenderloin or pork chops or garnish the surface with a roast before placing it in the oven.
- Pineapple and three cheese pizza. Top a pizza crust with mozzarella cheese. Add diced pineapple drained, cheddar cheese, black olives and feta. Season with oregano and bake.
- Skewers. Thread pineapple pieces on skewers with pieces of salmon, pepper and apple, previously marinated for 2 hours in a lemon vinaigrette. Serve over rice.
- Mexican stir fry. Saute thin strips of pepper and chicken breast until the chicken is cooked. Add the pineapple cubes and cooked black beans. Reheat, remove from heat and add the salsa of your choice. Garnish the tortillas with this preparation, adding, if desired, a little grated cheese.
- In Malaysia, it is added to vegetable, meat or fish curries. The shrimp curry, with coconut milk, chili paste, fish sauce and diced pineapple is particularly tasty.
- Polynesian-style soufflé omelette. Brown diced pineapple in a little butter. Beat egg yolks with sugar and fold in the whipped egg whites. Add the eggs to the pineapple, cook the omelet for a few minutes, fold it and finish cooking in the oven. In the traditional recipe, sprinkle a little rum and flambé before serving.
The consumption of pineapple causes the release of histamine in the body. This is also the case with other foods, including strawberries and tomatoes. In some people, this can cause mild reactions, such as hives. It is important to note that these reactions are not allergies, but rather food intolerance. Stopping consumption of the food stops the symptoms. The real allergy to pineapple is rather rare, although cases have been observed4. Cross-reactions are also possible with latex and pollen. People allergic to these 2 compounds may demonstrate hypersensitivity to pineapple (as well as other fruits, such as kiwi and bananas), and vice versa. People intolerant or allergic to pineapple should avoid the consumption of the fruit, but also taking bromelain supplements. It is recommended that you consult an allergist to determine the cause of reactions to certain foods and the precautions to take.
History of pineapple
The term “pineapple” appeared in the French language in 1544. It comes from the Spanish pineapple, which borrowed it from the word nana in tupi-guarani (a native language of Brazil) whose meaning is “exquisite fruit”.
The pineapple is native to Paraguay and southern Brazil. It could have been domesticated thousands of years ago by the Tupi-Guarani Indians. These would have spread it throughout South and Central America, while the Caribbean Indians, excellent navigators, established it in Guadeloupe and in the other Caribbean islands. Christopher Columbus discovered the fruit in 1493. When it landed in America, the cultivated pineapple is distinguished from the wild pineapple by many characteristics. The Indians already knew very well the biological cycle and the culture of this fruit. Since that time, research carried out on pineapples by Europeans and Americans has not led to any appreciable improvements in terms of size, flavor, uniformity, etc.
The Spanish and Portuguese introduced pineapple to Spain, the Philippines, China, Africa and India. From the end of the 16th century, it was cultivated in almost all of the tropical regions of the world. The temperate countries of Europe have tried to produce it in a greenhouse, but the experiment has proved unprofitable. Thailand, the Philippines, Brazil, China, India and Nigeria are the main world producers of pineapple.
Pineapple: several fruits in one
Botanically speaking, the pineapple is not a fruit, but a multitude of berries that are formed after the flowers have blended on the ear. Each of the “eyes” or bulges of the bark constitutes a berry, therefore a fruit.
There are a few wild pineapple species. Two of them (A. bracteatus and A. fritzmuelleri) are the ancestors of the cultivated species, but their fruit is not edible. Of the many cultivars that have been selected, only a few are grown commercially. The cultivar “Cayenne smooth” is by far the most widespread (it represents 70% of world production and 95% of processed products). However, the cultivar “Hawaian Gold”, selected by the Hawaii Pineapple Research Institute, is gaining ground in our markets. Sweeter and less acid than “Smooth Cayenne”, it is particularly suitable for the consumption of fresh fruit.
Pineapple is also cultivated for its richness in bromelain. In addition to its therapeutic uses (see our Bromelain sheet), this enzyme has many industrial uses ranging from the tenderization of meats to the tanning of leathers, via stabilization of latex paints. In addition, from the leaves of certain varieties selected for this purpose, fibers are used to make cordage, nets, baskets, as well as fine papers and textiles.