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Great holiday gift: The Pineapple

A great holiday gift

By Eileen Goltz

There is always the problem of what to bring as a hostess gift when you’ve been invited to share a yontif meal with friends. I bring wine and fruit. My favorite fruit of choice is the pineapple.

There are three basic types of pineapple available to consumers: the smooth cayenne (the most popular and readily available), the red Spanish, and the sugar loaf. All are loaded with fiber vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. Pineapples are also full of omega-3 fatty acids, beta carotene. You should look for large fruits and let them sit at room temperature for a few days before using them. This isn’t to ripen them (they don’t ripen any further after they are picked) but rather to allow it to soften and become juicer. Don’t let them sit too long, however, as they can start to ferment and rot rather quickly. Color doesn’t matter; the best of the best pineapples are firm, plump and have a sweet obvious pineapple aroma. The one test I like best is to pick up the pineapple and smell the bottom of it. If it smells like fresh pineapple, it’s ready, if it has no smell, it’s not ripe yet, pass on it; and if it smells like wine or has a slightly overblown odor, it’s over ripe and may have already started to ferment and spoil.

The best way to enjoy your pineapple is to cut it just before you want to use it. Basic pineapple cutting:

1. Chop off the crown of the pineapple about 1/2 inch below the crown.

2. Cut about 1/2 inch off the bottom.

3. Flip the pineapple over in a bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes to let the juices flow through the fruit before cutting

4. Cut the pineapple into quarters

5. Cut out the center core of each quarter (I like to eat the core but most people toss it)

6. Cut away skin of pineapple

7. Slice the quarters into chunks or slices.

The pineapple is so versatile that the fruit can be eaten as is or topped with yogurt, or broiled and topped with brown sugar and nuts, used as an ingredient in a salad dressing, a marinade, a main course or even in a dessert like the classic pineapple upside-down cake. Whatever your pineapple “motis operandi” is, the following recipes will make your “gift” one that’s never returned.

NOTE: If fresh pineapple is too expensive or not readily available you can use the canned in its own juice for the following recipes.


2 seedless cucumbers coarsely chopped

1 onion red, diced fine

1 bunch parsley, chopped

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon chili sauce

2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped (optional)

Cut cucumber lengthwise in quarters. Slice each quarter into 1/4 inch slices. Peel pineapple and cut into quarters. Remove core. Cut each quarter in half and slice into 1/2 inch slices. Combine cucumber, pineapple, onion and parsley leaves in a bowl. In another bowl, combine lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar and chili sauce. Pour over salad and toss together. Serve on a platter. Serves 6 to 8.


2 to 3 cups bite size pineapple chunks

2 to 3 cups bite size cantaloupe chunks

1 to 2 cups seedless grapes

2 cups strawberries sliced

1 cup blackberries or blueberries or raspberries

Honey Dressing:

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon prepared dry mustard

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup rice wine or apple cider vinegar

1 cup oil

1 teaspoon onion, grated

1 teaspoon celery seeds

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

In a large bowl combine the fruit; toss gently. Cover and refrigerate. In a blender combine the sugar, mustard, paprika, salt, honey, lemon juice and vinegar. Blend until combined and then slowly add the oil while the blender is on. Pour the dressing into a bowl and add the onion, celery seed and poppy seeds. Mix to combine, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, spoon the dressing over the fruit and toss to combine. Serves 6 to 8.

You can serve this over salad greens.


1 fresh pineapple

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons water

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (from 17.3-oz. pkg.)


1 teaspoon butter

2 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon mint, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

1 cup mango, diced

1 cup pineapple chunks (reserved from whole pineapple)

1 carton (14 fl. oz.) Haagen-Dazs(r) Pineapple Coconut Ice Cream

Cut whole pineapple into 1-inch slices. Core centers from each slice to create rings. Set aside four whole rings, cut up remaining rings into small 1/4-inch chunks. Measure 1 cup of chunks for relish, garnish, set aside. (Any remaining pineapple may be used as desired.) Heat oven to 425º. In 10-inch skillet melt butter; add brown sugar and water. Bring to a boil; add pineapple rings and chunks. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until pineapple is light golden brown. Remove from heat. In 13×9-inch pan, place pineapple rings allowing space between each ring. Pour brown sugar mixture over top of pineapple.

Unfold pastry, cut into four equal squares (pastry cutter may be used to create decorative edge). Pierce pastry all over with fork. Place pastry squares over each ring in pan. Bake at 425º. for 20 to 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add remaining relish ingredients; gently stir until sugar is melted and fruit is just warmed. Remove from heat.

To serve; remove each pastry from pan, inverting onto serving plates. Place spoonful of relish on top each tart and top with 1 large scoop (1/2 cup) ice cream. Serve slightly warm. Serves 4


1 orange peeled and sectioned

1 cup chopped fresh pineapple

1 banana

1 1/2 cup of orange juice

1 cup of ice

In a blender combine the ice and juice and blend until slushy. Add the banana, orange and pineapple. Blend until smooth and serve. Makes 2 servings


2 lbs, cooked chicken (you can use turkey) (I use leftovers)

1 to 2 cups diced pineapple

3 or 4 stalks celery, sliced

1 red pepper, diced

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons non-dairy creamer or soy milk

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup toasted pecans

In a large bowl combine the chicken, pineapple and celery and mix to combine. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, milk, celery salt and pepper. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the chicken and toss to combine. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle the pecans over top just before serving. Serves 6


1 pineapple cut into chunks, drained, save the juice (you won’t need to use all the pineapple)

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup unsalted butter or margarine, melted

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Cupcake Batter:

1 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice or milk or water

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray a nonstick muffin pan with vegetable spray. Place the pineapple chunks on paper towels to drain it completely. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and melted butter. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin pan cups. Arrange the pineapple chunks decoratively on top of the sugar mixture but only just cover the bottom; don’t put too much pineapple in each one. Set the pan aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer blend together the butter, sugar and pineapple juice, beating for two minutes until smooth. Beat in the egg until combined and then add the flour and baking powder, Mix to combine. Spoon the batter over the fruit in the muffin pan, filling each cup three-quarters full. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the pan for five minutes, then place a wire rack on top of the muffin pan and invert. Let the pan stay on top of the cupcakes for about 15 seconds to make sure that they release from the pan. Remove the pan and let cool completely on the rack. Makes 12.

(c) Eileen Goltz pineapple10a

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