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Root Source: Pineapple

Root Source: Pineapple

what you should know

Columbus was the first European to feast on pineapple. In 1493, while looking for fresh water in the Caribbean, he docked at Guadeloupe and found this prickly, sweet titan instead. It looked like a pine cone, so he called it piña. And the rest is history.

divide & conquer When you buy cut pineapple rings, you pay a premium for the in-store work. Prepping a fresh pineapple takes just a few minutes and gets you more and juicier fruit.

sniff & poke When choosing a fresh pineapple, sniff first. Choose one that smells pineapple-y but not too much so. Look for a firm one that has yellow-orange coloring around the base; that's a sign of ripeness. Being able to easily pull a leaf out of the pineapple's crown is not an indicator of ripeness. (It's an indicator of being able to pull a leaf out of the crown.)

fat patrol Pineapples contain an enzyme called protease that helps break down proteins. This makes the fruit risky to use in marinades.

aloha There's a great book in the story of Lana'i, Hawaii's smallest island. James Doles bought the entire island in the 1920s and began converting it into a plantation that would eventually supply 90% of the world's pineapple. Hawaii's pineapple era has tapered in favor of tourism.

Mario Batali Pizza Peel

what you need

We're fine just using a sharp knife, but tons of people swear by this pineapple easy slicer. If you eat a lot of fresh pineapple and you've got $10 you're itching to get rid of, knock yourself out.

If you belong to the pineapple-on-pizza school (as we do), you'll love this Batali pizza peel with a wood handle and stainless steel plate.

Frederick Exley, the author of one of Chip's favorites books, lived on the old pineapple plantation of Lana'i for a while while writing his last book.

Ham, Pineapple, and Mushroom Pizza

what you do

All the taste buds are stoked in this classic ham, pineapple and mushroom pizza.

Browned pineapple adds some rich, tropical sweetness to this savory stir-fry of shrimp and bok choy.

You could broil or grill these mushroom, pineapple, tomato and beef kebabs. It's a beautiful dish either way.

No balance of sweet and salt in these delicious pineapple rings with buttered rum sauce. They're hardcore sugar bombs but they're worth every cavity they produce.

Featured recipe: The pineapple fried rice recipe comes from reader Missy Frederick and is the featured recipe for this week's Root Source Challenge.

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