This month we’re featuring one of my favorite fruits as our produce of the month: pineapples! This sweet and juicy fruit has a long regal history. When we think of pineapples, we usually think of Hawaii. But pineapples were only introduced there in the late 1700s! They are originally from South America and the Caribbean. They were brought to Spain and introduced to Queen Isabella. Since it was so difficult to source them, they were considered a symbol of high stature and were displayed as grand centerpieces during parties and special events.
Pineapples are a delicious citrus fruit with a beautiful bright yellow color on the inside, and a pinecone looking pattern on the outside (possibly why they were named pineapples!). One cup of pineapple offers 105% of the daily recommendation for vitamin C. It’s also rich in manganese and vitamin B1. All of these micronutrients help keep the immune system strong to fight off disease. Pineapples are also a good source of fiber and folate. Fiber aids in digestive and cardiovascular health, and folate is necessary to make red and white blood cells. The most interesting fact about pineapples is that they have an enzyme called bromelain that breaks down protein. It’s used as a natural tenderizer for meats and has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. This is why our lips can feel tingly sometimes after eating a whole bunch of pineapple!
There are a lot of ways to incorporate pineapple in our diets. It’s perfect as a sweet snack all on its own. But it’s so much fun to add it to a savory dish to give it a sweet kick! Toss it in stir-fry and serve over brown rice. Or better yet, glaze it with brown sugar and cinnamon and throw it on the grill. A very popular recipe for pineapples (especially here in central Florida) is pineapple dole whip, a tangy frozen dessert made famous at Disney World. To find all of these recipes and more, visit the recipes page for this month’s produce of the month here.
If you’d like to learn more about our produce of the month program or would like information on how to incorporate fruits and veggies into your diet, reach out to me! I provide free consultations for those who have a USF Dining meal plan.
Stay safe, stay healthy!