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Do you brine your fresh pineapple?


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Cooking would definitely reduce the enzyme activity in that the heat would inactivate them. The addition of salt could definitely enhance the taste in a different way. I guess I go back to the practice of salting watermelon here in the southern US. It does seem to enhance the sweetness. Maybe it is just the interaction of salty/sweet that the Thai cuisine takes such good advantage of.

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 guess I go back to the practice of salting watermelon here in the southern US. It does seem to enhance the sweetness. Maybe it is just the interaction of salty/sweet that the Thai cuisine takes such good advantage of.

I've read that with certain fruits, e.g. mango, there is an actual chemical reaction that takes place and it takes a few seconds to happen. So you can test if there's a reaction happening if a bite a few seconds after sprinkling tastes different than immediately after.

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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. The enzymes in various fruits may affect the proteins and polysacharrides in the mouth and throat differently.

Is that what happens when I eat apples? Sometimes when I eat raw apples my mouth kind of puckers up (like with wine tannins) and itches badly. It doesn't always happen, but usually does. And it depends on the type of apple - I assume since it doesn't always happen.

Also, I remember reading a long time ago about something in pineapples that acts like, well, like knives sort of. I don't think it's the enzyme thing, but it might be. It was something to the effect that if you eat quite a bit of pineapple at one time (a whole one would certainly qualify), that you're lips and mouth would get tiny cuts on them. This actually did happen to me one time - after eating a few slices, I noticed curious red splotches appearing on my pineapple. Has anybody else heard of this?

-Greg

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Uh . . . No.

I have heard of crystals of something in some plants that might do that. I think that was oxalic acid. I don't remember what plant.

The apple "allergy" is odd. I don't think I have ever heard of that one.

Is there a doctor in the house? :biggrin:

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 have heard of crystals of something in some plants that might do that. I think that was oxalic acid. I don't remember what plant.

Among other vegetables, oxalic acid is present in spinach and -- in large quantities -- taro and taro leaves (which is why spinach-like taro leaves need to be cooked for a l-o-o-o-n-g time before being edible). Some people also get urinary tract irritations from eating foods high in oxalic acid.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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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.

Or the classic Brazilian daiquiri, where you macerate a pineapple, a split vanilla bean, and brown sugar (piloncillo) in a bottle of amber rum for a week or so. Fantastic hot weather drink!

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK, this pineapple has been "brining" for 48 hours in a bottle of rum with 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar, and a split vanilla bean.

pineapple.jpg

I'll strain the liquid through 2 layers of cheesecloth, add the juice of 4 limes, simple syrup to taste, put it back in its bottle and refrigerate.

Reserve the tasty pineapple chunks; but, respect them. They are quite alcoholic.

In a cocktail shaker, add a couple more drops lime, 2 dashes angostora, and 2 oz of daiquiri mix, shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a couple cherries and some of the reserved pineapple.

daiquiri.jpg

Other serving options, include freezing and serving as shots, adding more juice and some soda for a long drink, putting the whole thing, pineapple and all in a blender with some ice...

PS. Recipe was based on one I got from the Coyote Cafe Cookbook by Mark Miller.

Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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OK, this pineapple has been "brining" for 48 hours in a bottle of rum with 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar, and a split vanilla bean.

That looks so fantastic! I'm going to do my best to duplicate that here.

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Wow. All these years I'd been getting the mouth-puckering effect from freshly cut pineapple, and I never gave it a second thought. I guess I just assumed that was the way fresh uncooked pineapple was; or maybe the pineapple was a little underripe, or it had something to do with the pineapple flesh closest to the rind (I am a total greedy-head for fresh pineapple, even the relatively wan ones we get here on the mainland, so my tendency when cutting off the rind is to try and lose as little pineapple flesh as possible, even if that means I have to hand-cut all the little "eye" bits out afterward). But now, armed with this info, I'm going to try the brining thing too.

I have yet to go to Hawaii, so I have yet to have a pineapple straight out of the fields. :sad:

Edited by mizducky (log)
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I only buy Sarawak pineapple now. Pan, have you ever tried them?

Golden flesh, and ever so sweet! It's not as fibrous, either. And none of that awful sensation in your mouth after eating!

Somebody mentioned that enzymes are proteins, so how can brine change them? I *think* they can dehydrate them, changing the 3-D structure or something like that. I'm not very sure.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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That looks so fantastic! I'm going to do my best to duplicate that here.

Go for it! It's very tasty and easy to make.

The original recipe called for a mixture of rums amounting to less than a bottle. I usually just use a whole bottle of decent but not too expensive amber rum like the Mount Gay Eclipse in the photo. Don't waste sipping rum for this.

If you have another use for the vanilla pulp, you don't need to add the whole bean, just the husk is probably fine. I suppose in a pinch you could use some amount of vanilla extract.

I've always used dark brown sugar. The original recipe called for piloncillo, an unrefined mexican loaf sugar. I just never seem to have it in the house when I make the mix.

I don't have a juicer, so I can't try this; but, it might be interesting to just run the whole macerated mix, pineapple and all through one. You'd probably get a lot more juice and rum back out at the end of the process.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I have heard of crystals of something in some plants that might do that. I think that was oxalic acid. I don't remember what plant.

Among other vegetables, oxalic acid is present in spinach and -- in large quantities -- taro and taro leaves (which is why spinach-like taro leaves need to be cooked for a l-o-o-o-n-g time before being edible). Some people also get urinary tract irritations from eating foods high in oxalic acid.

I don not have it on hand but in Jeffrey Steingarten's "It Must Have Been Something I Ate" there is an interesting chapter on having a reaction to undercooked taro on an airline. From what I recall it went into detail about oxalic acid and food.

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From Steingarten's book: "In some plants, such as taro, the oxalic acid combines with calcium to form calcium oxalate, which sometimes take the form of raphides-long, needlelike, microscopic crystals that can easily pierce our mucous membranees........In short uncooked taro leaves are little more than hideous, microscpic, poison-creation-and-delivery systems."

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Spinach, rhubarb, chard, dock and some other plants have oxalic acid in their leaves and stems.

It is chemically related, but, this shouldn't be confused with the calcium oxalate crystals in all parts of Aroids including Taro, Philodendrons, Malanga, etc.

Oxalic acid is a poison which can cause kidney problems. Calcium oxalate crystals are like little needles that can make minute puncture wounds in your skin and cause swelling.

Helpful advice:

Do not take the weed whacker after the Philodendron or Elephant Ears.

I don't believe that the mechanism behind pineapples being irritating involves any of the above.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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OK, I'm wrong.

Spinach and its relatives also contain calcium oxalate crystals.

However, no one ever talks about them irritating the skin, just causing kidney problems.

I wonder if it's a size thing?

-Erik

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Damn, I just googled calcium oxalate crystals and I hold no adanced degree in chemistry, but if someone does there is a lot of info out there. From what I can gather there are two types Whewellites and Weddelites from ( http://www.agora.crosemont.qc.ca/urinesedi...eng/doc_025.htm )

Back to the topic, pineapple does not bother me cooked or uncooked.

Edited by M.X.Hassett (log)
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Pineapples do not burn my mouth at all.  However, they do to my wife's.  How much salt should I use in my brine and how long should I leave it in (if I cut the fruit in quarters)?

I use a tbsp of kosher salt in a half gallon of water. I slice up the fruit into individual bite-sized pieces and then soak it in the brine for about 15 minutes.

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  • 7 years later...

I wanted to revive this old thread because I just heard of brining fresh pineapple the other day from my friend, whose Chinese wife would have it no other way. Now, I've never had a problem eating as much fresh pineapple as I cared for, but this seems like a good way to cut up a bunch and keep it fresh in the fridge longer, so I tried it as pineapples have been on sale at Acme for $1.99 each. I used a medium-salty brine.

I must say, while I can't speak of mellowing any mouth-hurting enzyme because I never noticed one in the first place, I do like it. I find the moderate amount of saltiness clinging to each piece only makes it that much more refreshing, and if I can process several pineapples at once and keep them in a big bin of brine in the fridge, this will help.

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For those of you lamenting that your pineapples are picked prior to ripening, frozen pineapple chunks, which are packed at the peak of ripeness, are becoming much more widely available. The texture holds up much better than other frozen fruits. I pour a bowlful out and let it thaw for a few hours before eating them neat. I'm trying to keep my sugar intake down and these don't have the excess sugar canned pineapple does.

CostCo has them in 5lb bags for $1.75/lb. Today was my monthly trip to Restaurant Depot, and I picked up 20 pounds for $1.05/lb (and beautiful huge frozen blackberries for $1.49/lb).

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