Review | Pineapple

Review | Pineapple

A review of pineapple, the “sweet” training partner.

Summary:

As humans in the 21st century we have a wide variety of foods available to use and the majority of us only eat a select amount. It is staggering how hard it is to get our daily intake of fruits and vegetables. What is it so hard?  Are fruits too much work? Too expensive? Don’t taste good? Well if you believe that, let me try and change that opinion on a work horse fruit that tastes delicious, is super beneficial nutritionally for us, and affordable. You guessed it, what Sponge Bob lives in, Pineapple. Pineapples are chock-full of beneficial vitamins and enzymes that aid in our training on and off the mats. Let’s look at how to prepare pineapples for daily consumption that way we can reap the health benefits of them without all of the headache.

 General Information

Pineapples are all over the market these days. I wont bore you with a history lesson here, I know we are only patient when it comes to setting up our submission chains and still we can rush those from time to time. Long story short, Pineapples are American’s second favorite fruit losing a close decision to bananas. They were originated in South America but now come predominantly from Asia and are grown in Hawaii.

I pass pineapple guard, every time.
I pass pineapple guard, every time.

Pineapples are sweet and slightly tart in flavor. If for some unknown reason you don’t know what a pineapple is…well I cannot help you. But they look like giant pinecones, but taste much much better, trust me. Pineapples are great because they are full of vitamin C and an enzyme called bromelain. Which on its own has incredible anti-inflammatory abilities and on its own or better yet, when combined with fats, it aids in digestion by breaking down proteins for faster absorption. So right there I could stop writing, pineapple with your meals will aid in everything us BJJ weirdos need, not to swell and to break down protein so we can get big and strong.

It will be harder to eat only a cup than do master  a flying heel scissor.
It will be harder to eat only a cup than do master a flying heel scissor.

When is the best time to eat Pineapple?

Time of year:  It is rare to hear but foods have seasons. I know we imagine pineapples, apples, oranges, etc always being available no matter what time of year it is. That is true not but what changes really is the flavors. For the most sweet and delicious pineapples aim to pick them up between March and June. But in all honesty, just always have some in your fridge. You will only gain from them.

All pineapples are the same on the inside, delicious.
All pineapples are the same on the inside, delicious.

Time of ingestion:  Ah here is where it might get tricky! You can follow many rules of thumb here. But the best times are 15 minutes before major meals, with any meal that has protein, snacking in the morning or afternoon for a good energy boost. Hell the best time to ingest pineapple, is when you are awake.

Important to note: Pineapples have a short shelf life while left out, but lasts 6 – 9 days without losing major nutritional value or flavor if cut up and stored refrigerated properly.

Benefits

  • Excellent source of vitamin C, magnesium and bromelain to say the least.
  • It is a great cold buster by helping tap out microbial infections.
  • Pineapples aid in digestion of proteins and help prevent indigestion in general.
  • The bromelain helps prevent inflammation and joint soreness.
  • Beta-carotene levels aid in reducing the risk of vision failure, contrary to what my friend thought as a kid, eating a ton of beta-carotene wont make you see in the dark, but it will keep you seeing in general.
  • Magnesium means stronger bones, stronger bones mean less injuries. I like that.
  • Boosted immune system from the vitamin C means more mat time and less coughing in bed time.

 Cooking tips and tricks:

The goal is to lock down a ripe pineapple because pineapples stop ripening the second they are picked. So storing a pineapple in a bag or at room temp will not make an unripe pineapple better. So we have to look at what we can control, which is the level of ripeness and freshness of the pineapple we purchase.

How to select the right pineapple: Pineapple selection could be seen as a shot in the dark, but alas, this is why we have tips and tricks. When selecting which pineapple is right for you, follow these quick little guidelines:

If you can remember belt rankings, than this should be a cake walk.
If you can remember belt rankings, than this should be a cake walk.
  • Sight: We eat with our eyes first and foremost. A pineapple should be golden/yellow from the base up, the base is where a pineapple connects to the plant which feeds it nutrients. A green pineapple doesn’t always mean unripe, but the majority of the time it does. Brown/bronze coloring is usually a sign of over ripening. Uniform shape is also another factor, you want nicely rounded edges and the eyes to be more flat than spiky.
  • Smell: A pineapple should smell sweet. If it has no smell, its not ripe enough, put it back. If it smells slightly acidic or has hints of vinegar, its over ripe, toss it back and try again!
  • Feel: You want a pineapple to feel like a relaxed bicep. Not too soft but not hard as a rock. If there are any mushy spots, put it back and try again. Also you want your pineapple to be heavier than it looks, that is a good indicator on edible flesh and juice!
Use pineapple to cut weight, don't cut weight like a pineapple.
Use pineapple to cut weight, don’t cut weight like a pineapple.

Fun Fact: Pineapples are actually giant clusters of “berries” or flowers surrounded by a lot of protective, and delicious, yellow flesh. But the “eyes” need to be removed when peeling pineapple because of the concentrated bromelain will cause stinging and irritation in the mouth, that’s because it’s trying to tenderize your tongue!

How to store it:

  • Whole: Pineapples can be kept for 1 – 2 days whole at room temperature with no problems. Also a good tip is storing you prized pineapple upside down for a day to let the sugars and juiced that have stored in the bottom flow through to the top. Does this work? In theory, is it proven fact? One cannot tell because in order to taste it before and after we would have to cut the pineapple which in turn ruins the experiment.
  • If only all cook books were written like BJJ books...I think I have an idea..
    If only all cook books were written like BJJ books…I think I have an idea..

    Cut:  Cut pineapple should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge because it can absorb other flavors. It will last for 6 – 9 days cut and stored properly. I would suggest cutting up the pineapple sooner rather than later just because you don’t know how long ago the pineapple was plucked off the plant. Plus it’s just so much easier to eat pineapple when its cut up rather than having the “Oh I would love some pineapple but man I don’t feel like busting out a knife and cutting board now.”

Flavor pairings: Avocado, bacon, banana, cashews, cayenne pepper, citrus, coconut, cumin, hazelnuts lime, mango, melons, mint, raspberries, strawberries, vanilla

Cooking methods: Raw, roasted, grilled, broiled, use as marinade for meat

Recipe idea:

Coconut Mounted Cinnamon-Sugar Pineapple Rounds
Makes 4-6 portions

Perfectly fine having this training partner up close and personal.
Perfectly fine having this training partner up close and personal.

INGREDIENTS
Main Components
Pineapple, skin & core removed, cut into rounds: 1 pineapple
Light brown sugar: 1/4 cup
Cinnamon: 1/2 sp
Cayenne pepper: 1/8 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Coconut flake: 1 Tbsp

METHOD
Main Components
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl
Toss together until the pineapple is fully coated.
Refrigerate for a couple hours before eating as a snack
For added bonus try them grilled or broiled in the oven.

EQUIPMENT
Large mixing bowl
Knife and cutting board

Other ideas

Teriyaki and grilled pineapple turkey burgers
Pineapple with cashews, fennel salad side
Tossed into stir-fry with peanuts
Mix with other melons and fruits in bulk for the week
Pineapple, mango and jalapeno salsa will boost your grilled chicken or fish.

A worth brown belt, high level benefits with only a few flaws still within the game. You can have too much pineapple.
A worth brown belt, high level benefits with only a few flaws still within the game. You can have too much pineapple.

Images: thewannabechef
Pomona
Realsimple

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