Pineapples are cone like in shape and covered in a hexagonal patterned, rough and waxy rind. The rind is green to yellow in color and covered in spiked protuberances. The fruit is topped with a sprout of narrow, pointed, green leaves. Modern cultivars are seedless and produce smoother leaves compared to the wild species that have thorny-edged serrated leaves. The juicy flesh of the Pineapple can vary from white to yellow depending on variety and offers a sweet, succulent flavor and mild acidity.
Pineapples are available year-round with peak production in the spring.
Pineapple, botanical name Ananas comosus, is a herbaceous perennial and member of the family, Bromeliaceae. The fruit of the Pineapple is actually made up of a compound of flowers, an occurrence that is known as a syncarp. There are hundreds of pineapple varieties most of which are grouped into four main classes, Smooth Cayenne, Red Spanish, Queen, and Abacaxi.
Providing dietary fiber, pineapples offer a source of vitamin C, some iron and calcium. Just under four ounces of fresh pineapple contains about 60 calories.
Pineapple are ripe when they are slightly soft to the touch and give off a sweet aroma. To prepare pineapple, cut off top and leaves, then slice skin off. Slice thick pieces from the core or cut horizontally into discs and core. Fresh pineapple can be baked into sponge cakes or coffee cakes, roasted with soy or brown sugar, or skewered and grilled. Puree and strain juice, then add to cocktails or agua fresca. Cooked and sweetened pineapple can be used as a topping for custards, flan and cheesecake. Blend pineapple with other tropical fruits and freeze into sorbet or sherbet. Dice fresh pineapple with tomato herbs and chiles for salsa and serve with seafood. Pineapples will ripen at room temperature, refrigerate to store.