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Insider’s Viewpoint: All About The Pineapple

Take your taste buds on a tropical vacation by infusing your summer table with the sweet and tangy flavor of pineapple. Pineapples are one of America’s favorite tropical fruits, second only to bananas. Use them to liven up your summer barbeque dishes including salsas, drinks, desserts and more!

Seasonality
Pineapples peak from March through July, but are available year round. Look for canned, frozen, dried and juice varieties too!

Nutrition Perks
Pineapples are an excellent source of vitamin C. One cup of cubed pineapple supplies around 80 calories and two grams of fiber.

Selection Tips
Pineapples are picked when ripe and ready to eat. Choose one that feels heavy for its size, has a fruity aroma and crisp, dark green leaves. Avoid dry-looking leaves and soft or dark spots.

Storage
Eat soon after purchase and within three days of cutting for the best flavor.

Unique Attributes
Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Bromelain will break down the protein in meats, so don’t let it come into contact with meat for more than a day or the meat may become too soft. However, pairing pineapple with meat shortly before cooking will make the meat more tender.

How to Core

  • Twist and remove the crown and use a sharp knife to cut off the base.
  • Stand the pineapple up and cut strips from top to bottom. Repeat for all sides until outer skin is removed.
  • Place the pineapple upright and cut around the core.
  • Slice or cube as desired.

Grilling Tips
When grilled, a pineapple’s natural sugars caramelize and provide an intense and irresistibly sweet flavor.

  • Brush and wipe grill grates clean and liberally apply nonstick grilling spray.
  • Slice the pineapple into large, equal-sized pieces so they don’t slip through the grates.
  • Begin with a hot grill and then lower the heat if necessary.
  • Grill approximately 3-5 minutes per half-inch slice or enough to soften the texture and caramelize the natural fruit sugar.

A Symbol of Hospitality
Pineapples are often used as a symbol of hospitality, dating back to the 17th century. Trade routes between America and the Caribbean were slow so it was noteworthy for a host to obtain a pineapple to serve to guests. There are also tales of sea captains who would place a pineapple outside of their home upon their return as an invitation for his friends to visit and listen to tales of his expedition. The tradition continued to grow and you can still find plenty of pineapple-themed merchandise, from tablecloths to candles and much more!

Recipe

Honey Cranberry BBQ Chicken Sandwich

Prep Time: 15 minutes Grill Time: 20 minutes Serves: 4 sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1/2 cup Tomato Purée
  • 1/4 cup Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. Roasted Garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper, ground
  • 1/2 tsp. Paprika, smoked
  • 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 4 (4-5 ounce) Chicken Breasts, all natural
  • 4 Pineapple Slices, canned or fresh
  • 4 Red Onion Slices
  • 4 Green Lettuce Leaves
  • 4 Hamburger Buns, 100% whole wheat
  • Instructions

    In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk honey, tomato puree, cranberry sauce, red wine vinegar, roasted garlic, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika and black pepper to combine and bring to a boil.

    Lower the heat and simmer 10 minutes, whisking occasionally; set aside.

    Prepare an outdoor grill for cooking over medium-high heat and spray grates with non-stick grilling spray.

    Place chicken breasts onto the grill and cook 6-8 minutes per side, brushing evenly with sauce during the last few minutes of grilling, until minimum internal temperature reaches 165°F.

    Remove from the grill; let stand 5 minutes to retain juices.

    Place pineapple rings and onion slices onto sprayed grill grates; grill 3 minutes per side or until heated through and grill marks appear.

    Top bun with lettuce, chicken breast, onion, pineapple and sauce; serve.

    Nutrition Facts per serving plus 3 Tbsp sauce: 400 calories; 3.5g fat; 0g saturated fat; 0g trans fat; 80mg cholesterol; 375mg sodium; 53g carbohydrate; 4g fiber; 32g sugar; 40g protein.

    Recipe Credit Weis Markets

    Kathryn Long
    Healthy Living Coordinator
    Weis Markets
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