I recently returned from a little sojourn in Hawaii. While there were many experiences that made this trip memorable, few compare to my first taste of fresh Hawaiian pineapple. It was sweet—slightly spicy—and absolutely addictive. One day of the trip when a particularly unfortunate, tragically-touristy, tank-top sunburn demanded a reprieve from basking Oceanside, my fiancé and I visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation. We drove through winding roads flanked by endless fields of pineapple before we arrived at the Plantation. To say that my mouth was watering by the time we pulled into the parking lot would be an understatement. At the plantation we checked out numerous pineapple plant varieties and received a pineapple crop history lesson. We also learned the proper technique for selecting and serving pineapple, which consists of three very important qualities that are as follows:
1. Small, uniform eyes
2. Slight pineapple scent that isn’t too strong
3. White core at the bottom
After we learned how to pick our pineapple, we took part in a pineapple tasting. Half of the pineapple was sprinkled with a red powder called Li Hing, or Plum Powder. Personally, I don’t like to mess with a good thing and preferred my pineapple au naturel.
The pineapple adventures didn’t stop once we left the farm. Grilled pineapple kabobs (see photo above) and pineapple-infused water also topped my list of favorite Hawaiian treats. Not to mention the slice of pineapple that took a decent piña colada and elevated it to rock-star status. So, in honor of boarding the plane having consumed enough of the tropical fruit to be up to my ears in the stuff, I give you a roundup of my favorite recipes featuring the one-and-only unofficial fruit of Hawaii. Whether you need a vacation or are on vacation, run out and grab a pineapple for a tropical-inspired dish that will have you feeling like you just booked a one-way flight to paradise.
Check out our current March issue for a number of recipes featuring this fruit, in season now. In the mood for more fruit inspiration? Check out our Top-Rated Fruit Recipes gallery.