Montana Public Radio

Pineapple, The Tastiest Bromeliad

Oct 18, 2013

Greg and Jon advise how to pick a ripe pineapple, why to stick to the fresh kind, and how you'll benefit from eating it.

Pineapple originated in an area between southern Brazil and Paraguay - it's one of the few edible fruits of the bromeliad family. Each fruit is actually a coalescence of many berries which can take well over two years to ripen. The fruit's supply of sugar comes from its stalk. Once the pineapple has been cut off the plant, it might become softer, but it won't get any riper. 

How do you pick out a ripe pineapple? First, make sure the fruit isn't refrigerated, because a cold pineapple won't reveal the aromatic clues you need. If it's at room temperature, sniff its stem end. If you smell a tropical, sweet, fruity aroma, it's ripe. Don't try to judge a pineapple by its outside color, the firmness of the fruit, or the looseness of its leaves. 

Pineapple contains a lot of vitamin C, as well as manganese, which is especially good for bone health. It's rich in bromelain, an anti-inflammatory which also aids in the digestion of proteins.

The Food Guys don't use canned pineapple. "Just eat the fresh fruit, even if you're making a pineapple upside-down cake. If you have fresh pineapple on the sugary syrup, you will never make it any other way." 

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 9/6/15 and 9/10/15. Listen weekly on the radio at 11:50 a.m. Sundays and again at 4:54 p.m. Thursdays, or via podcast.)