Are you aware of the amazing properties of pineapple?
Did I fool you, eh? ;) Did you think it was another post about the healthy virtues of pineapple? Fa- burning, detox, draining, just to mention a few...we just miss “able to make you understand the meaning of life”! :D Of course, pineapple is not detox, neither fat-burning nor draining. However, the web is full of hoax articles praising the amazing properties of pineapple. Not to mention that the pineapple fat-burning hoax has been around since the time I was a junior in high school…20 years ago, just that you know…and a few of my classmate drank pineapple juice in the hopeless attempt to lose weight.
So, what’s pineapple for? First of all, it is good, thirst-quenching, and rich in fibers and vitamins. All good reasons to add it to the diet. But forget about losing weight by eating pineapple. There is no food with such a property. If you want to know why, I recommend this video by Bressanini:
Pineapple has, instead, the very interesting property of digesting proteins (hydrolyzing, in technical terms). Pineapple, as other fruits as papaya and kiwi, contains a proteinase (bromelain, in the case of pineapple), namely an enzyme that breaks proteins. This property is of particular interest when applied to collagen, the structural animal protein.
Have you ever made a bavarois with strawberry? Have you ever asked yourself why you can’t make it with fruits as pineapple or kiwi, tout court? The answer is that the enzymes of those fruits will degrade the collagen (=gelatin) and, instead of a pudding, you will end up with an unshaped slush. But I saw a recipe of a kiwi jelly! If the pulp of those fruits is thermally treated (=brought to boil), the proteinases lose their activity and our dessert will remain firm (see the amylase post).
However, bromelain might be of some value when preparing meats for long, slow cooking. Do you remember the post of brasato and how polyphenols reacted with collagen, making the meat tenderer? Well, marinating the meat with pineapple juice allows to get the same result. An interesting option when preparing stews. After all, this strategy has been well known and applied since a while in the South and Central American kitchens. You can even find commercial preparation for marinades added with bromelain :)
So, does the idea of a pineapple brasato whet you?
This, H., Bavarois Challenge, Anal Bioanal Chem (2012) 402: 2229
This, H., Solution to the Bavarois Challenge, Anal Bioanal Chem (2012) 403: 2463.