While building your repertoire of dishes to which you can add pineapple juice, be sure to also enjoy drinking it straight from a glass, with a splash of sparkling water if you like. Whether fresh, canned or frozen, pineapple juice adds a strong and sweet-tart flavor to both savory and sweet dishes. Since pineapples contain 80 to 90 percent water, chefs Dominique and Cindy Duby of Wild Sweets restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia, freeze pineapple, then let the juice drain into a colander while the fruit thaws.
Juice from whole pineapples or frozen concentrate tastes fresher than canned pineapple juice, but these varieties also present some problems in cooking. Because pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain, which quickly breaks down protein molecules, pineapple juice won't work for making gelatins since they contain collagen proteins -- your gelatin will never set properly because of the action of the pineapple juice. Use a pineapple marinade only for meat, not fish, as the fish flesh breaks down too quickly from the bromelain enzymes.
Drinks of All Kinds
Blended with yogurt, milk or ice cream, pineapple juice in all its forms makes tropical smoothies and milkshakes; blend it with rum or tequila, and you can create tropical cocktails. A bromelain reaction doesn't occur when you drink the mixes soon after making them. To increase the pineapple flavor, include pineapple chunks along with your other favored ingredients and pineapple juice in smoothies and milkshakes. In pineapple cocktails, add a splash of orange-flavored Cointreau or Grand Marnier to the base layer of rum.
Granita, Ice Cream and Sorbet
Juice from canned pineapple works best for ice cream -- bromelain enzymes can react with dairy products and cause curdling when it sits together for a long time -- while the liquid from either fresh, canned or frozen works for granitas and sorbets made without dairy products. Flavor your desserts with ingredients, such as bananas or fresh ginger, that traditionally work well with pineapples, mixed in. Top pineapple desserts with sliced bananas, candied ginger and toasted coconut. Add a dash of vanilla to deepen the flavor of pineapple desserts.
Sauces and Soups
Pan sauces for meat or fish, salad dressings and soups are all possibilities for using pineapple juice. Use either fresh, frozen or canned juice in these sauces since they will only sit on foods for a short period of time and the bromelains won't have enough time to have an effect. Flavor these sauces with soy sauce, ginger and lime juice and sesame oil for Asian-inspired fish or beef sauces. Or, make a tropical gazpacho with traditional ingredients but substitute pineapple juice instead of using tomato juice.
- The Flavor Bible; Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg
- UCSB ScienceLine: Why Can't You Put Pineapple Pieces Into Jello?
- Cooking Light: Entertaining Mistakes
- Dole Food Company: Aloha Smoothie
- Fine Cooking: Cooking With Pineapple Juice
- Dole Food Company: Pineapple Gazpacho
- Photo Credit Kung_Mangkorn/iStock/Getty Images
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