I’ve always loved pineapples. Not only are they delicious, and a real taste of summer, but they’re the universal symbol for hospitality, which we really focus on here at The Chopping Block!
Pineapples are high in fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and thiamin (Vitamin B). The high vitamin C content makes them great for fighting against macular degeneration. The manganese supports strong bones and connective tissue, and the thiamin contributes to pineapples being great for boosting energy. The core of the pineapple is full of a compound called bromelain which acts as an anti-inflammatory, so I’m always looking for creative ways to use the core. The skins can be used to make vinegar, but I haven’t given that a whirl just yet.
When possible, I always recommend to get the real-deal, fresh stuff, as canned pineapple typically has a lot of added sugar. Hawaii is the only US state that grows pineapples, so you can use that as your excuse to take a trip! If you can’t escape to Hawaii quick enough to satiate your pineapple craving, I have four fun and delicious ways to enjoy this fruit. Grab yourself three pineapples (and lots of friends) and you’ll have a complete meal from drink to dessert in no time.
This week, while waiting for a fun day of teen camp, a few teens noticed me pondering over pineapple and asked me how to cut one which gave me the opportunity to give them a brief lesson. If you’re looking for where to start, I cut off the top and bottom the pineapple to create a sturdy base. Then, I use my chef knife to cut off the skin, just deep enough to remove all the rough “eyes”. I finish by cutting the pineapple into quarters around the core, and then proceed with whatever shape is needed for my dish!
Pineapple-Mint Aqua Fresca
3 pineapple cores
10 mint leaves
Sugar to taste
Cut pineapple cores into 2 inch chunks. In a Vitamix, blend the chunks to a fine puree. Add mint and blend again. Run the mixture through a fine sieve and discard the pulp. Add sugar to taste (I like about 1 tablespoon), and top with ice and water as desired. The color will be a vibrant yellow-green. This is delicious on its own but I love some vodka in mine!
8 bratwurst, cut in 4 pieces
1 pineapple, flesh cut in 2 inch chunks
Barbecue sauce (I love Bill Kim’s Belly Swang)
Alternate bratwurst and pineapple on skewers. Grill on all sides until cooked through and glaze with barbecue sauce before serving.
1 pineapple, flesh cut in fine dice
1 half red onion, fine dice
1 jalapeno, fine dice
1 avocado, small dice
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tbs Frantoia Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dice all ingredients. Stir to combine. Add lime zest, juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy with all sorts of summery dishes, including tacos!
Pineapple and Rum Crostata
1 pie crust (see our Owner/Chef Shelley Young’s recipe)
1 pineapple, peeled, quartered, sliced in ½ inch pieces
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
½ cup dark rum
1 egg yolk
2 tbs heavy cream
Preheat oven to 450.
Combine sugars, vanilla bean paste, and lemon juice in a large saute pan. Once melted together, and pineapple, and cook on medium heat. Add rum, and cook pineapple until most of the liquid has evaporated, 15-20 minutes. Let cool.
Roll out your pie dough, a 12 in diameter works well – the best part of this dessert is that the shape doesn’t have to be perfect, just a general round shape will do.
Spoon the cooked pineapple into the center of the dough leaving 2 inches of dough on the perimeter.
Fold the edges over the pineapple to enclose the dough, pleating to make a circle.
Bake on parchment for 25 minutes. Cool (if you can wait that long) for 10 minutes and enjoy with vanilla ice cream!
These recipes are all easy and delicious, and really give you a true taste of summer. Another way to experience summer is by taking one of our hands-on outdoor grilling classes. You'll grill a delicious seasonal meal under the starlit sky. Join us in July, and you’ll also enjoy of 20% off everything in our stores (sorry, Big Green Egg, Vitamix, wine and spirits are excluded)!