Choose it: Pineapples are really sweet and juicy at the moment and can make a great addition to meals and smoothies. The best way to choose a ripe pineapple is to gently pull one of the inner leaves on the top of the pineapple, if it comes loose easily the pineapple is ready to eat. Also give the pineapple a gentle squeeze, it should give slightly under your fingers if it’s ripe. (I’ve also heard that you can smell the base of a pineapple and if it’s sweet smelling then it’s ripe). Once you’ve bought it, store it in the fridge to keep it fresh and don’t cut it until you are ready to use it to maximise how long it lasts.
Make it: Here’s an easy recipe, that not only makes yummy chicken burgers, but allows you to add pineapple to a main meal.
Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Burger
450g lean minced chicken (or turkey if desired)
4 tbsp bottled teriyaki sauce (or if you fancy making some try this recipe http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/teriyaki-sauce-recipe.html
1 tsp yellow mustard
4 slices fresh pineapple
1 egg white
1 strong onion, finely chopped
½ tsp black pepper
- Slice pineapple and keep refrigerated. Combine the other ingredients in a bowl and shape into 4 burgers.
- Grill the burgers for 4 minutes, then check for readiness. Put a slice of pineapple on each burger, serve with sweet potato wedges and a fresh salad.
Use it up: If you’ve already got a great main recipe to use your pineapple, or you’ve already done the recipe above and you’ve got pineapple left over, here are a few more ideas to try.
- Apple pineapple and celery salad – I’m a big lover of fruit in salads, and this great flavour combination will work really well with just your choice of salad leaves. Raisins or sultanas are also a great addition to the salad.
- Pineapple with lime, chilli and ginger: Boil 200g caster sugar, 2 finely chopped and deseeded chillies, 5cm piece of ginger (finely grated – 5 tsp if you prefer), zest of 1 lime, 1 tbsp honey and 100ml dark rum in a pan until the sugar dissolves, creating a syrupy glaze. Barbeque pineapple for 2-3 mins each side (or 10-12 mins total in a 200C oven). Pour over glaze and serve with ice cream (serves 4). Use ground ginger, cinnamon or all spice if you don’t have fresh ginger to hand but only use 2 1/2 tsp.
- Mango, banana and pineapple smoothie: I tend to be quite loose with smoothies and just chuck a few leftover bits of fruit in a smoothie maker and hope for the best. This is a nice flavour combination though, it’s very tropical and always reminds me of being on holiday (banana and mango are also in season at the moment). I usually go for something like 1 banana, 1 mango, 2-3 slices pineapple, and 250ml liquid – orange juice or coconut milk are both a good choice.
- Thai red curry: I first tried this in a Thai restaurant back in Manchester and now I’m always adding fruit to my curries. A handful of pineapple works great in a spicy Thai red curry. You can also add it to Sweet and Sour Sauce, Stir fries or pizzas. Remember pineapple works great as a flavour combination with chillies, sweet sauces and spices such as ginger.
Have fun experimenting with pineapple. Please let me know how you get on trying the recipes or any of your own ideas in the comments section.