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Class 1 - Costa Rica

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This fresh product is classified as Class 1 - Costa Rica is the country of origin.


Pronounce it: pine-ap-pel

With its tuft of spiky, dusty green leaves and cross-hatched, golden orange skin, the pineapple has an unmistakable appearance. A single pineapple is, in fact, a collection of multiple diamond-shaped fruits, each one the fruit of an individual blossom.

Grown in the tropics, their juicy yellow flesh is sweet with an acidic tang and very fragrant. There are hundreds of varieties, ranging from those small enough to feed just one person, up to quite substantial sizes.

Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelin which breaks down protein, making it great in marinades or to tenderise meat or fish; but the same enzyme, in its raw state, prevents gelatine from setting, so don't, for example, try to make jellies with the raw fruit (though cooked is fine, as heat destroys the enzyme).


All year round.

Choose the best

Go for pineapples that feel heavy for their size, with no bruising or withered, brown leaves. A ripe pineapple should smell sweetly and strongly of pineapple. An additional test for ripeness is to pluck out one of the leaves - it should come away easily.

Prepare it

Slice off the leafy top, making the cut a little way down, so that you're cutting across the flesh (the leafy top can be used for decoration). Then cut a slice from the bottom, so that it can sit up on a cutting board. Using a long sharp knife, slice off the peel in broad downward strokes, taking off as many of the brown eyes as you can (any that remain can be dug out with the tip of a knife or a peeler). Then slice, as required, cutting out the tough core from the centre of each slice. To stuff a pineapple, cut in half lengthways slice out the core to make a trough.

Fresh pineapple is low in calories. Nonetheless, it is a storehouse for several unique health promoting compounds, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.

Buyer's guide

Pineapples cannot ripen further once picked. To test for ripeness, pull out a leaf and sniff. If it comes away from the fruit easily, the pineapple is ripe: if the leaf smells of fermentation, its past its best.


Refrigerate cut pineapple, but cover tightly as it has a pervasive odour.


Super Sweet varieties of pineapple are mainly sold in the UK. These rarely need extra sugar to balance their acidity. Other varieties, such as Smooth Cayenne, will need sweetening. One medium pineapple serves four people.

To minimise waste, cut off the skin, then cut v-shaped diagonal €š¬˜trenches from all around the pineapple to remove its €š¬˜eyes.

Pineapple flesh is eaten raw in salsas, desserts and sweet or savoury salads. Pineapple juice or purée is also good in exotic fruit drinks such as smoothies, especially those made with coconut water. It is also excellent cooked, especially griddled, fried or baked in cakes. Rum, cherry or orange liqueurs taste good with pineapple, as do citrus fruit and spices, including fresh chilli.

Raw pineapple juice will prevent gelatine from setting as it contains bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down protein. If you want to make pineapple jelly, you must cook the pineapple first.

Article by Sybil Kapoor

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