Perfect pineapple

CgrantbangalowfarmAP: Grant Evington with fresh local pineapples at the Bangalow Farm stall at Mullumbimby Farmers Market

Grant Evington with fresh local pineapples at the Bangalow Farm stall at Mullumbimby Farmers Market

They look like a giant pinecone, grow out of the ground rather than on trees, and you can cut off the top and use it to grow a new one.

Pineapples really are a weird and wonderful fruit.

A member of the bromeliad family (commonly used as colourful ornamental plants in suburban gardens), pineapples are the only bromeliad that puts out a fruit.

It can be a long wait, however – taking up to three years from planting for the pineapple to develop. If you’ve ever tried growing one yourself you’ll know how satisfying it is when your plant actually flowers and fruits.

Many Aussies grew up on tinned pineapple, but fortunately fresh fruit is now more readily available – it tastes a million times better and its much better for you too.

Fresh pineapple contains enzyme called bromelain (not present in the tinned version), which has anti-inflammatory properties and also works to break down protein, so it can be good for digestion. Fresh pineapple is also packed with Vitamin C.

The Bangalow Farm stall at Mullumbimby Farmers Market is one of the best places to pick up a fresh local pineapple. Grown at Newrybar, they’re super fresh and sweet and are at their best at this time of the year. Choosing one is easy – if it’s yellow, it’s ripe and ready to eat.

While it’s hard to beat eating pineapple fresh, the fruit is also perfect four juicing (try a pineapple, lime and ginger combo), grilled on the barbecue, on kebabs, in cakes and desserts, in marinades to tenderise meat, in stir fries, curries, or if you have a dehydrator, make your own delicious dried and preservative free pineapple slices.

• Fresh pineapple is in season and available from Bangalow Farm, Mullumbimby Farmers Market.

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