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Kent Wang

Do you brine your fresh pineapple?

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If you soak freshly-sliced pineapple in a brine for about 15 minutes, the nasty mouth-irritating enzymes will be destroyed and the pineapple becomes much easier to eat. I learned of the practice from my mother, but most westerners that I've spoken to do not seem to be aware of this technique. I guess most westerners do not eat fresh pineapple on a regular basis either. I eat two or three a month.

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i eat fresh pineapples all the time with some salt and sometimes pounded fresh chili. those mouth irritating enzymes cleanse the palate :)


Edited by BonVivantNL (log)

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Pineapple is the first thing to go in the Produce Section on days that Whole Foods puts out freebies to make shoppers buy more.

Lots of Westerners love the fruit, but it is hard to get food companies to believe it. Dole used to produce an amazing pineapple sorbet (I"m talking eons ago), but then stopped. The major producers of yogurt that does not contain a boatload of sugar, fructose or corn syrup all copy each other in offering apricot & mango as a flavor, but none bothers to put out a simple pineapple yogurt (no Tropicale mish-mash, please). I actually went nerdy enough to send an email to Stoneyfields and someone wrote back and said the company did not think there was enough consumer interest, but will keep the suggestion in mind :hmmm: .

While I cannot speak for all Westerners, I have never heard about brining pineapple. Just a simple solution of salt and water? Do you then rinse it to remove salty taste without losing any of the flavor?


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Just a simple solution of salt and water?  Do you then rinse it to remove salty taste without losing any of the flavor?

Yes. You can rinse it, I don't. I just strain it. The salt seems to leave no discernable effect on the taste.

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I've never found fresh pinapple difficult to eat in any way. There's nothing I love more than cubes of the fruit, followed by a long slow munch on the core :cool:


Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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I live in Hawaii and I never heard of brining a pineapple!

Personally, I buy the low-acid varieties such as Del Monte Gold, which don't seem to have the mouth-puckering enzymes.


SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Eating those Lanai pineapples right outta da field on the back of da p/u truck. Oh bruddah! So ono.

Raoul :raz:


"I drink to make other people interesting".

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I live in Hawaii and I never heard of brining a pineapple!

Suzi, I think that's because your pineapples are at least 1000x better than the ones we get on the mainland. They aren't picked when they're underripe so they can travel hundreds of miles to your grocery store. The pineapples I've had in Hawaii, Maui Golds in particular, were the best I've ever had. Ono indeed! :rolleyes:

So would brining a pineapple be similar to putting salt on eggplant to leach out the bitterness?


Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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So you guys that don't brine, you can eat a whole pineapple by yourself without leaving your tongue feeling like it's been blistered? I envy your pineapples!

So would brining a pineapple be similar to putting salt on eggplant to leach out the bitterness?

I've never heard of that procedure for eggplant, but maybe the mechanisms are different. I'm guessing that the pineapple enzyme cells are destroyed by osmosis, but somehow this does not affect many of the other cells in the fruit.

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So you guys that don't brine, you can eat a whole pineapple by yourself without leaving your tongue feeling like it's been blistered? I envy your pineapples!
So would brining a pineapple be similar to putting salt on eggplant to leach out the bitterness?

I've never heard of that procedure for eggplant, but maybe the mechanisms are different. I'm guessing that the pineapple enzyme cells are destroyed by osmosis, but somehow this does not affect many of the other cells in the fruit.

It sounds like pretty much the same concept. Now that I think about it, I used to not like eggplant because it gave me that exact feeling on my tongue (not so with pineapple). And to think all these years I blamed it on the shrimp sauce!


Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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Next time the gold pineapples are less tha 6 bucks I will try it....I put salt on watermellon sometimes.

tracey


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

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I've never found fresh pinapple difficult to eat in any way. There's nothing I love more than cubes of the fruit, followed by a long slow munch on the core  :cool:

I like to stick the core in a jar with vodka and put in the freezer for a few days. Pineapple vodka over crushed ice is delicious.

I agree that the pineapples you get in Hawaii are less mouth-irritating.

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We always soak the pineapple(after peeling) in salt water for 5-10min so it won't irritate the tongue. The salty taste doesn't stay on the pineapple and even if it got saltier, I probably wouldn't have noticed since I have never tried any unsoaked fresh pineapple. I think soaking the pineapple in salt water might be an Asian thing.

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I like to stick the core in a jar with vodka and put in the freezer for a few days. Pineapple vodka over crushed ice is delicious.

Do you then toss the whole core in a blender? Why the freezer instead of the fridge? I think Roy's (Roy Yamaguchi's chain) has a drink like that.

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According to McGee . . . pineapples do not sweeten or improve in flavor once picked. That explains the difference in flavor from here to there. If left on the plant longer, more sugar is produced as well. Being a tropical fruit, they don't produce starch for energy storage so there isn't anything to convert to sugar later.

Also, the prevalent protein digesting enzyme in pineapple is bromelain. If not deactivated by heat, it can break down the structure of gelatin to mess up your jello mold. Also, it can break down the casein in milk products producing a bitter tasting mess. Canned pineapple is probably the only option for those purposes. Perhaps some people are more sensitive to this enzyme than others. For instance, my son can't eat much honeydew melon because it makes his throat itch. The enzymes in various fruits may affect the proteins and polysacharrides in the mouth and throat differently.

I am a bit puzzled as to how a salt solution would affect the activity of an enzyme. Enzymes are proteins. Proteins are denatured, not changed in chemical structure but changed in the shape of the molecule, typically by heat or acid. I really can't find a case for salt solution. Osmosis isn't at work here because the enzymes are discreet molecules, unlike cells which have a semipermeable membrane. Further, I am not sure how the salt would get inside the unbroken cells in the pineapple chunk without soaking for quite a while. I am not saying brine can't affect the enzyme, I am just having a hard time finding a case for denaturing by that means. However, addition of salt to egg mixtures for instance can change the protein enough to change the texture, so McGee says. Perhaps that is what is going on. Or, perhaps the salt causes more saliva production so that the irritant is in contact with the tissue for less time or in reduced concentration.

I dunno . . . these things are fascinating to me. But if I had trouble eating fresh pineapple and brining my pineapple would make it edible for me, I would brine my pineapple!


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I like to stick the core in a jar with vodka and put in the freezer for a few days. Pineapple vodka over crushed ice is delicious.

Do you then toss the whole core in a blender? Why the freezer instead of the fridge? I think Roy's (Roy Yamaguchi's chain) has a drink like that.

The blender is a great idea! I usually just slice the core and use as a garnish in the drink. I also sometimes drop vodka-soaked fruits (lychees are good too) in a glass of sake for one of those groovy "saketini" type things. I don't know why I keep my vodka infusions in the freezer, i just do.

I go to Roy's but never get mixed drinks there; I'll have to try that.

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I'll have to second SuzySushi in being from Hawai'i and never hearing of brined pineapple! I've also never experienced or heard of the mouth enzyme thingy, but then again, we get fresh white sugar loaf pineapple from my sister-in-law's family. :D

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Perhaps some people are more sensitive to this enzyme than others. For instance, my son can't eat much honeydew melon because it makes his throat itch.

I am a bit sensitive to honeydew also, so I tend to avoid it. Pineapple doesn't affect me as much. It is not necessary that I brine it before eating, but it does cut down on the irritation I feel at the back of my throat, for some reason. :smile:

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[...]Also, the prevalent protein digesting enzyme in pineapple is bromelain. If not deactivated by heat, it can break down the structure of gelatin to mess up your jello mold. Also, it can break down the casein in milk products producing a bitter tasting mess. Canned pineapple is probably the only option for those purposes. Perhaps some people are more sensitive to this enzyme than others. For instance, my son can't eat much honeydew melon because it makes his throat itch.[...]

Interesting. I have similar reactions to both honeydew and canteloupe and other melons of that type (but generally not watermelon; and not wintermelon or bitter melon, though I've never had those uncooked), though the reaction is not severe. I enjoy the mouth-numbing characteristic of pineapple. I've never known a Malaysian to put pineapple in salt just for regular eating, and they call the proteolytic action of pineapples tajam (=sharp). Tajam is a different humoral category than hot (panas), medium or neutral (sederhana), and cold (sejuk).


Michael aka "Pan

 

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. . .  but then again, we get fresh white sugar loaf pineapple from my sister-in-law's family. :D

We officially hate you. :laugh::laugh::laugh:

No kidding. There is nothing like a correctly ripened pineapple, is there?

I don't suffer from any ill effects. But then, I don't really chow down on fresh pineapple unless I am in Hawaii and can get really great ones from a roadside stand. Then I kind of pig out. If I would have any bad effects, it would be then. I guess I am lucky. But, I will try the brining thing. I am mainly interested in the flavor. I do like salt on my watermelon from time to time.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I am a pinapple fiend, and on my one visit to hawaii I ate entire pinapples at a shot several times. The mouth damaging enzyme was in full force :shock: so I don't think it's a case of closeness to the source.

I wonder if it's something in one's individual body chemistry that makes you more or less sensitive to this problem?

I must try the brine tip when we go back to Hawaii next year.


Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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There probably is something in individual body chemistry going on. Look at the variation in reaction to the musk melon family like honeydews. And, there are some of us that think cilantro tastes like soap, or worse.

Anyway, funny story . . . We were checked into a really high floor of one of the high rises in Waikiki for a night before an early morning flight. On the inside of the toilet lid, there was a list of things, with pictures, NOT to flush. There were the usual latex suspects and . . . pineapple parts! :laugh::laugh::laugh:


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Aw, fifi, don't hate me! I'll save some pineapple for you! I wish you had gotten a picture of that warning! Didn't realize that was such a big problem in the hotels. xD

Does the mouth enzyme maybe have to do with where the pineapple is grown? I think I read somewhere that the sweetness of onions depends on the type of soil that they're grown in. We've never had problems with any of the pineapples grown locally here. Or maybe they weren't allowed to ripen properly before they were picked?

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. . . . .

Does the mouth enzyme maybe have to do with where the pineapple is grown? I think I read somewhere that the sweetness of onions depends on the type of soil that they're grown in.  We've never had problems with any of the pineapples grown locally here.  Or maybe they weren't allowed to ripen properly before they were picked?

I wouldn't be surprised if the growing conditions and soil have something to do with it.

I can guarantee you that the pineapples that we get here aren't allowed to ripen properly. They wouldn't ship worth a darn. The best I have had was from a roadside stand and looked like they were ready for the compost heap.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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You're right about the ripening - they don't ripen after they're picked, so shipping would do quite a number on them in taste and sweetness. I remember living in the mainland for college (and a few years after) - I couldn't believe that the stores sold pineapples that were GREEN with ZERO aroma. 8-O

I've actually only heard about salt sprinkled on pineapples as a flavor enhancer, but never actual brining for enzyme reduction! Does cooking reduce the enzymes? Or would the brining enhance the pineapple's taste if you chose to broil or cook it?

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