Nothing sparks summer vibes like a cool, zesty pineapple! However, how long do pineapples last? How can you preserve these tropical fruits to enjoy all year round? If you are mind is spinning, relax! This post fills you in on all things pineapple!
History of Pineapples
You are fond of grilling pineapple slices to accompany your juicy roast pork. Or, if you are like me, slathering a generous amount of homemade pineapple marmalade on freshly baked bread.
However, have you ever asked yourself where these tropical weird-looking fruits come from?
Just what is a pineapple? Well, Ananas comosus is the scientific name given to these tropical fruits.
Pineapples are believed to have originated in South America, most notably in Paraguay and southern Brazil.
The fruits have a striking resemblance to pine cones, hence the name pineapple. These tropical fruits were imported to the U.S.A and Europe in the 15th century.
Nowadays, Southeast Asia and Brazil are some of the leading pineapple producers. Hawaii also does massive production – does Hawaiian pizza ring a bell?
Nevertheless, these tarty sweet fruits find their home in any tropical and subtropical climate. As such, consumption is widespread globally, either through exportation or cultivation.
Uses of Pineapples
Pineapples serve a myriad of uses – ranging from consumption to medicinal. For culinary purposes, pineapples are extensively used as follows:
- In fruit salads
- Preparing cocktails
- Extraction of juice
- Incorporated in savory sauces like BBQ
- Grilled pineapple slices paired with grilled meat
- Meat tenderizer and marinades
- Marmalade production
- Dried and candied pineapples
- Desserts and baking products like upside down cake and pies
Traditionally, pineapples were used for alleviating constipation, wine production, expelling of worms and inducing abortion. The flesh and reed-like leaves were popularly used in fiber production.
Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Pineapples
Pineapples are touted for their nutritive benefits. Check them out:
This enzyme Bromelain!
Besides being packed with vitamins, fiber and minerals, pineapples contain bromelain. It is found in abundance in an entire pineapple.
This powerful enzyme breaks down proteins. Hence, pineapples are popularly used in meat tenderization.
Apart from this, bromelain is commercially processed into health supplements. It is touted for its anti-inflammatory properties. As such, it is extensively used for wound healing, tumor reduction, body swellings, mitigating blood clots and soreness.
This indispensable vitamin facilitates proper development and functioning of body tissues. As a matter of fact, it is responsible for healthy skin, bones, teeth and all cartilaginous parts.
Additionally, Ascorbic acid is also necessary for boosting one’s immune system. Lastly, it aids in the absorption of iron.
This trace mineral is actually helpful in your body. Manganese is essential in maintaining enzyme, neural and nervous functions.
Besides this, manganese works with other nutrients to promote bone health. Furthermore, it has antioxidant properties which help combat damaging and disease-causing elements.
This is one of the most useful elements for your body. Fiber is responsible for facilitating digestion process. Besides this, it is touted for its constipation-relieving properties.
Moreover, fiber promotes weight management. This is because it is digested slowly. This results in slow energy release. As a result, fiber creates satiety, meaning you feel full for a long period.
Vitamin A and Bs
Pineapples are rich in vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B6. On this note, vitamin A is necessary for proper vision (eye health), facilitates normal functioning of the reproductive and immune systems.
On the other hand, vitamin Bs play a crucial role in the body. For instance, thiamin (B1) helps in glucose synthesis. This aids in the conversion of carbohydrates into energy.
Additionally, riboflavin (B2) promotes body metabolism and maintenance of body tissues.
Moreover, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) also helps in metabolism, formation of red blood cells and proper brain function.
This mineral is helpful in regulating cellular, muscular, nerve and organ functions in the body. Additionally, it controls fluid balance in cells.
Additionally, it facilitates blood pressure levels hence preventing heart disease and stroke.
A precursor of vitamin A, this antioxidant is touted for its disease-fighting properties. Moreover, it is responsible for giving color to fruits and vegetables.
It works by combating damages caused by free radicals and radioactive waves. Not only this, beta carotene enhances cognitive function, promotes healthy skin and hair.
Additionally, it also mitigates macular degeneration.
Shelf Life of Pineapples
Fresh, ripe pineapples are extremely perishable. Therefore, extend their shelf life through proper storage.
Store whole pineapples on the counter, in the fridge or freezer. As a matter of fact, whole, ripe pineapples can stay on the counter for up to 3 days.
In the refrigerator, whole ones will extend up to 5 days. Cut or peeled pineapples have a shorter shelf life. As such, refrigerate and consume them within 5 days at most.
It is not recommended to freeze whole, unpeeled pineapples in the freezer. Nevertheless, freezing is ideal for sliced or pureed pineapples.
Pack them in small batches. Apart from this, use heavy duty freezer friendly containers. Pineapples are strongly scented. Hence, other foods in the refrigerator easily pick up the scent. Well frozen pineapples keep well for 5-12 months.
How to Preserve Pineapples
Extending the shelf life of pineapples is as easy as the following:
Canning pineapples is a fantastic way of preserving their quality and taste. When canning,
Wash and peel the pineapples. Besides this, gorge out the eyes to prevent molds.
- Cut into even pieces – chunks, sticks, wedges or slices.
- Arrange them neatly inside mason jars.
- Pour the canning liquid. This could be water, diluted syrup, apple juice or white wine vinegar.
- Submerge the jars in hot water bath or canners for the required time.
- Allow them to cool during which the lids will shut automatically.
- Store unopened canned pineapples in the pantry.
- Refrigerate opened ones. Well canned pineapples keep well for up to 2 years (unopened).
This timeless preservation technique is also ideal for pineapples. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Slice or cube evenly. This allows heat to permeate thoroughly through the pieces. Also, the thickness matters. As such, opt for moderate sizes. Extra thin ones will become too brittle, whereas overly thick ones will not dry evenly.
- Lay them in a single layer, never overlap them.
- After drying, ensure all the pieces have obtained a uniform texture and color.
Dried pineapples are versatile. The good thing is that you can easily prepare them at home. Moreover, they are great as snacks, crushed onto cereals, baked products and smoothies. Additionally, use them on muesli and granola.
Being highly perishable, spoilage in pineapples is a no-brainer. Therefore, be on the lookout for:
- Pungent, alcoholic smell
- Discoloration on peel and flesh
- Frothy liquids oozing from the inside
- Visible mold on both peel and flesh
- Sunken, mushy flesh
How long do pineapples last? In as much as they are perishable, you can preserve pineapples and enjoy them all year round.