The pineapple core
A pineapple’s core is very hard, and not as sweet as the rest of the pineapple, so we usually don’t want to eat it. But it is still very aromatic and nutritious. If you have a very powerful blender like a Vitamix, it can still be used to make a beautiful contribution to your cooking.
Usually I buy the fresh pineapple from the street market. I cut the core from the rest of the pineapple, then chop everything into smaller chunks, about 1 or 2 cm long, and keep them in the freezer.
Here are a few ways you can use the core of a pineapple:
1. Blend the core in a good blender like a Vita-mix, to make juice, or smoothies, together with other fruit or vegetables.
2. To make pineapple broth: Blend the core together with tomatoes, cabbage, celery or whatever you think is suitable, to make broth. You can choose to strain or not to strain the broth. The unstrained broth is good for making dishes such as Chinese hot and sour soup, minestrone soup, or any kind of thick soups. Clear pineapple broth can be replaced with any other kind of broth. Here’s a recommended recipe for you to try: Hot and sour soup.
3. If you are making fish or chicken stock, cook them together with pineapple core or maybe other vegetables and herbs. Use one or two cups of chopped pineapple core, will sweeten the stock and add a nice fragrance to it.
The pineapple skin
When we walk pass a pineapple stand in the market, the beautiful fragrance always invites us to take one home with us. But when we get home, the first thing we do is to chop off the pineapple skin and throw it away. Sure, no one wants to eat the hard pineapple skin, but it has a fragrance that can actually contribute a great deal to our cooking.
Here are some ways you can use the pineapple skin:
1. I always brush the pineapple to make it nice and clean before peeling it. Chop the pineapple peel into 2cm to 3cm strips, then keep them in the freezer.
2. Add the pineapple skin when making vegetable, fish, chicken, pork, and beef broth. Use from one cup up to half of a whole pineapple, depending on your taste. When I use pineapple for making broth, I hardly need to add other herbs, because the pineapple alone is enough to give the broth a wonderful aroma.
3. Pineapple stock is especially good when cooking seafood soups, tomato soup, spicy soups: like Thai tom yum soups, Korean kimchi soups, or Chinese hot and sour soup.
4. Making pineapple fruit vinegar. Pineapple peel has very active alkaline effect, it’s one of the best fruit to make fruit vinegar. I usually use pineapple together with apple, sugar, and rice vinegar to make fruit vinegar. It only takes about 3 to 6 months to make. Here’s a recommended recipe: Pineapple and apple vinegar. Simply use pineapple skin instead of the flesh of the fruit.
Which blender is suitable for pineapple?
Pineapples, particularly the core, are so tough and dense that they can wear out the motors of cheaper blenders or blunt their blades after a few months. Some blenders may start to have problems immediately, such as overheating or jamming, so if you’re using a cheap blender or food processor for pineapple, then please be cautious and just put in a small quantity of fruit at first, to see if it can deal with it.
I use a Vitamix blender for pineapple because I’ve found that they are very strong and reliable machines, and they can easily handle any amount of pineapple, or other tough fruits, vegetables and grains, for many years without maintenance.