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Pineapple Pleasure

Pleasure in a Pineapple

I have always associated pineapples with leisure. There’s nothing like a fruity pineapple-infused cocktail to make me feel like I’m on vacation, and pineapple is frequently on the menu when I host long, leisurely brunches.
But preparing a fresh pineapple is not a particularly leisurely task, and cutting into a whole pineapple can seem intimidating. Unlike a banana or apple, which are highly portable and ready to eat, a pineapple takes some work to prepare. As with most things, the right technique and a little practice make the job go faster.
When I moved to the BVI, I was fortunate to have a wonderful landlord. Not only was she a kind woman who promptly resolved issues at our rental house, but she would also give my husband and me stunning pineapples from her own property in Carrot Bay when we delivered our monthly rent check. The exterior of these BVI pineapples was plump and glossy and the flesh was pale yellow. Unlike the mellow flavour and syrupy sweetness common in conventional (i.e. mass-produced) pineapples, the BVI fruit had a robust pineapple flavour and a delicate sweetness with hints of coconut. However, if a conventional pineapple is intimidating, a local BVI fruit is scarier. I didn’t realize how sharp the edges of the crown were, and I drew blood the first time I cut a BVI pineapple. Ouch. Since I enjoy fishing, I conveniently had a pair of puncture-proof fishing gloves available to protect my hands. The effort to cut the pineapple was worth it, though, as the Carrot Bay pineapples were undoubtedly the best we had ever eaten.
When selecting pineapple, look for fruit that is sufficiently ripe, as pineapple will not ripen after harvesting. A fruity aroma and golden colour are notable signs of ripeness. Select fruit that is firm, with no soft spots and no mold on the bottom. Use within a day or two of purchasing, otherwise the fruit may become mushy and start fermenting. Now for the tricky part – cutting the pineapple. Hold the fruit firmly on its side and use a sharp chef’s knife to cut off the top and bottom. Next, turn the pineapple upright and cut away any skin on the sides. Use a small paring knife to trim the remaining “eyes” off of the pineapple. Lastly, slice the pineapple into pieces to serve. You probably won’t want to eat the core of the fruit which tends to be hard.
I prefer my pineapple plain, but it is lovely in desserts, salsas or fruit salads (see my recipe for “Tropical Fruit Salad” in the September 2010 issue of BVI Property & Yacht), and delicious served with meat or fish. And of course, it’s an excellent base for tropical beverages and a key ingredient in the BVI’s signature painkiller cocktail . . . a perfect drink for a lazy afternoon at the beach.


Pineapple Sundaes
With pineapple, coconut and rum, this easy dessert is reminiscent of a piña colada.

3 Tbl dark rum
6 Tbl raisins
Pint of vanilla ice cream
3/4 c finely diced pineapple
1/2 c sweetened flaked coconut, toasted

Place the rum in a small container and heat in microwave or on stovetop until warm. Remove from heat and add raisins. Soak for at least 30 minutes. Remove ice cream from the freezer and let it sit out until slightly soft. Stir the rum-raisin mixture into the ice cream and return to the freezer until ready to use. (For best results, allow the ice cream to firm up for a couple of hours.) To serve, divide ice cream among 4 bowls. Top with pineapple and coconut. Note: To toast coconut, bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until lightly browned.

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