Jan 6, 2012

The Hawaiian Pineapple

The sweetest and most flavorful pineapple in the world
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The pineapple is one of the prominent symbols of Hawaii, however it is not indigenous to Hawaii. It actually came from the southern regions of Brazil and Paraguay. Christopher Columbus first found this fruit in the West Indies. The fruit became an instant hit in Europe and from there it spread throughout the world. It wasn't until 1813 that the pineapple was introduced to King Kamehameha by a Spanish advisor. The fruit grew well in Hawaii, and soon pineapple plantations were popping up everywhere. In 1901, James Dole, an American industrialist, started the Hawaiian Pineapple Company. In 1907 Dole introduced America to canned pineapple from Hawaii. In 1917, Del Monte became another big producer of pineapple in Hawaii. In 2008, Del Monte stopped its pineapple plantation operations here. The third large pineapple producer in Hawaii was the Maui Pineapple Company, which still exists today, producing the Maui Gold Pineapple. This hybrid pineapple is actually sweeter, with less acidity and 3 times the daily USDA requirements for vitamin C. It is also considered the sweetest and most flavorful pineapple in the world. The primary exporters of pineapple in the world market today are Costa Rica, Thailand and the Philippines, not Hawaii. 

The only other source of pineapple still being grown in Hawaii today is in people's home gardens. They are actually very easy to grow. I was told how to plant a pineapple by Sally, a vendor at the farmers' market here on Moloka'i. She said to take the pineapple, holding the bottom with one hand and the top with the other, twist off the top. Remove the lower leaves and let it sit for a couple of days before planting. I have done this many times and I am proud to say that I am a pineapple grower. Unfortunately it takes a year and a half to get one pineapple from a plant. Maybe that's why they are so expensive? Pineapple is wonderful to cook with. The bold flavor of pineapple works well in savory dishes and sweet dishes alike. Pineapple is an excellent source of manganese and vitamin C, as well as a very good source of vitamins B1 and B6, and fiber.

Below you will find a delicious moist cake recipe that is lightly sweetened with pineapple and topped with coconut, cinnamon and the taste of Aloha.

Pineapple Perfection Cake
This is one of the best cakes I have ever eaten, look at the comments below.

A light, fluffy and moist coffee cake 
that's not too sweet.
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1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, chopped fine, or
1/2 cup of canned and drained crushed pineapple
1/3 cup of roasted, chopped Macadamia nuts (optional)

1/2 cup flaked coconut
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a mixing bowl, blend the sugar and oil. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the sour cream mixture. Stir in pineapple and nuts.

Transfer to a greased 9 inch square baking dish. Combine the topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350˚F for 60 - 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Note: Cover cake lightly with a sheet of foil during the last 30 minutes of cooking to keep the coconut from getting too brown. Makes 9 servings.

Liz Viztes wrote: "That Pineapple cake is FANTASTIC!! Thank you again for sharing the recipe. It's definitely a keeper!!"
Pauline Ross wrote: "OMG! That cake was awesome!"

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