Fruit of tropical origin grown in South America, Africa, Asia, and even Australia. The pineapple has an almost cylindrical shape, with the lower pole flattened and the upper one enriched by a nice tuft of green leaves. The rind, very hard, "worked" in diamond shapes, is green when the fruit is still unripe and gradually becomes yellow and then light brown as it ripens.
Available all year round, but traditionally associated with the Christmas season, pineapple is so common that it is no longer even considered an exotic fruit. It is grown in all tropical regions, but the production for export as fresh fruit is dominated by Costa Rica (29% worldwide), which also supplies our Italian market for 80% (we consume about 130,000 tons each year).
The remaining 20% comes from Ghana, the Ivory Coast, and some Central American countries. Pineapples are harvested at the right degree of ripeness (they must have a firm consistency and bright skin, golden yellow mottled with green) and transported at a controlled temperature (45°F) inside refrigerated ships or by air. There are many varieties of pineapple, but the one marketed in Italy belongs only to the “golden" group, selected at the end of the 90s and very sweet.
To taste the pineapple, firstly the 2 caps must be removed, then all the rind, and finally the central hard core. The latter can be extracted with a special tool if you want to leave the whole fruit. When buying a pineapple, make sure that the rind is not green (an indication of unripe fruit), nor dark brown (which denotes an overripe fruit). Also, you have to smell the rind, which must have the characteristic smell of the fruit.
Pineapple should never be stored in the cold. Instead, it should be served chilled; therefore, after having peeled and prepared it, it must be left in the fridge for an hour. Pineapple is a fruit that is also suitable for savory dishes: it goes well with ham and pork meat.