Pineapples are the quintessential Hawaii fruit. Everything from their flavor, to their cultivation, to their image has left an impact here. They are relatively easy to grow, have large yield per acre, and ship well. Every “Hawaiian” thing you see on the mainland seems to have pineapple. 1950’s advertising campaigns and the American love of canned foods left the impression that you just add some canned pineapple to anything and it is immediately deemed a culinary trip to the islands. Really, that isn’t the case. Yes, there are lots of amazing pineapple foods in Hawaii but pineapple and ham on a pizza? Not Hawaiian in the least. Just sticking a slice of pineapple on your chicken sandwich? Not Hawaiian. Cool whip with crushed pineapple salad? Definitely missing the mark.
The best way to have pineapple is to make use of its best natural qualities. Fresh on top of an acai bowl, in a smoothie, or just munched chilled and dripping with a dash of li hing powder are some of the best ways to eat it. I should make one thing clear, the pineapple you get on the mainland isn’t quite the same as the pineapple here. Yes, they are the same variety of plant. They maybe even came from the same field. But they will taste different because the ones packed for shipment are picked when they aren’t as ripe to ensure they make the journey intact. A totally ripe pineapple is much less acidic and much sweeter than your grocery store variety pineapple.
One way to bring that sweetness out in a less than perfect pineapple is to dry it. Stick it in the dehydrator overnight and you get a chewy, candy like piece of pineapple goodness. Sunshine as food. If you don’t have a food dehydrator, you can put your oven on the lowest temperature and keep an eye on it. Depending on your oven, the drying process will take between 4-7 hours so do this on a day where you can be in and out of the house frequently to check on it. Your patience will be rewarded.
Ingredients & Tools:
- 1 large pineapple
- food dehydrator
- sharp knife or mandolin slicer
- Twist the crown from the pineapple; save top to plant
- Slice off skin; remove any seeds
- Cut pineapple into 1/4″ slices, a large pineapple will yield about 25 slices
- Arrange in dehydrator; set to 130* F; dehydrate for 12 hours