Thursday

Praiseworthy Pineapple Juice



Pineapples are one of the world's favorite tropical fruits, coming in second only to bananas.  This sweet, juicy fruit is high in vitamin C, which is why it was carried by sailors in the days of old to protect them from scurvy.  Pineapples made it on the Environmental Working Group's "Clean 15" list, since they are relatively low in pesticide residue.  If you do not have access to organically grown produce, pineapples are a good alternative to many fruits that are high in pesticide residue, such as apples and strawberries.

Not only are pineapples a delicious food, but the juice of this fruit is a very useful commodity to have around the house.  When using pineapple juice, it is always best to use fresh, raw pineapple juice.  Canned or bottled juices have been pasteurized, and this heating renders one of pineapple's most useful components, bromelain, inactive.

To get the juice out of your fresh pineapple, you can use a blender or food processor, mortar and pestle, or simply place it in a bowl and squish it with a masher.  Then, strain out the chunks (saving them for eating or cooking), and store the juice in a covered glass jar in the refrigerator for seven to ten days; alternatively, store the juice in a freezer-safe container (leaving one inch of head-space to accommodate for expansion) for up to a year.

So, now that we've got all this pineapple juice, what should we do with it?

1.  Give Yourself a Facial

Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which digests protein.  This makes pineapple juice beneficial for the skin because it will eat away the dirt and dead skin cells on your face, revealing the fresh, supple skin underneath.  In addition, pineapple juice will help to fade skin discolorations, so it is helpful for age spots and dark circles under the eyes.

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon pineapple juice

Once a week, apply the pineapple juice to your face and throat using your fingers or a soft cloth.  Be sure you don't get any of the juice in your eyes.  Leave the juice on your skin for 5-10 minutes, then rinse well. 

Pineapple juice can also be applied to your whole body, and is especially helpful for dry, callused knees and elbows.

2.  Meat Tenderizer

Pineapple juice can be used to tenderize tough cuts of meat, such as round steak.  To use pineapple juice as a meat tenderizer, about an hour before you prepare your recipe, cover the meat in pineapple juice and allow it to soak.  Discard the juice after you have soaked the meat, and prepare the meat according to your recipe.

3.  Sourdough Starter

Making your own bread is fun!  Pineapple juice is great for this sourdough bread starter recipe from Fieldstone Organic Farm:

½ C unsweetened pineapple juice
½ C whole grain flour
1 C whole grain flour (additional starting on day 4)
1 C water (make sure you use reverse osmosis or distilled water)
¼ t cider vinegar (optional)

Day 1: Mix 2 T whole grain flour and 2 T pineapple juice. Stir well, cover and let sit for 24 hours at room temperature.


Day 2: Add 2 T whole grain flour and 2 T pineapple juice. Stir well, cover and let sit again. You may or may not see bubbles at this point.


Day 3: Add 2 T whole grain flour and 2 T pineapple juice. Stir well, cover and let sit again.

Day 4: Stir mixture and measure out ¼ Cup. Discard the rest. To the ¼ C add ¼ C whole grain flour and ¼ C water. Let sit 24 hours at room temperature.


Repeat day 4 until mixture expands to double it's size and smells yeasty. Mixture may start to bubble after a couple of days and then go flat and look totally dead for a couple more days. If this happens, at day 6 add the ¼ teaspoon vinegar with your daily feeding. This will lower the PH and wake up the yeast, which will then start to grow.

Once the yeast starts growing, starter should be fed equal parts of flour and water in a quantity sufficient to make enough starter for your recipe. Store the starter in the refrigerator when you are not using it. It needs to be fed equal parts flour and water once a week to keep it alive. This is very important to maintain a healthy starter. (You can either use or discard part of it when feeding so that you do not become overwhelmed with starter.)

4.  Vinegar

And, just so you know, you shouldn't throw away the peels and cores of your pineapples.  Make vinegar out of them instead!

Pineapple Vinegar
From Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz

Ingredients:

1/4 cup sugar
Peel of 1 pineapple
water
cheesecloth (or old T-shirt)
glass jar

1. In a jar or bowl, dissolve the sugar in 1 quart of water. Coarsely chop and add the pineapple peel. Cover with cheesecloth to keep flies out, and leave to ferment at room temperature.


2. When you notice the liquid darkening, after about 1 week, strain out the pineapple peels and discard. (compost!)


3. Ferment the liquid 2 to 3 weeks more, stirring or agitating periodically, and your pineapple vinegar is ready.

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