White Pineapple: A Summer Treat

Olana White Pineapple

Olana Farm uses organic methods, although it is not certified organic.

What’s growing now:

Beets, carrots, cherry tomatoes, curly kale, green beans, herbs, Lacinato kale, lilikoi, papaya, rainbow chard, spring onions, white pineapple and turnips.

WHITE PINEAPPLE Sugarloaf is a brand name for a variety of low-acid white pineapple. “We call ours Olana White. They are sweeter, bigger, are suited to our soil and grow well in our micro-climate,” says farmer Tim O’Connor. Olana Whites weigh in at 6 to 8 pounds.

Season: Plants grown from slips take two years to become established. After that, they will fruit one more time before O’Connor rotates the bed. Fruit becomes ripe starting in mid-June, peaking in midJuly and tapers off in September.

What to look for:

The best way to tell if a white pineapple is ripe is to look at the hair-like protrusion coming from the center of the large eyes, or cells it should be amber.

“The biggest myth about white pineapple is that they have to get all the way yellow before they are ripe,” says O’Connor. “Smell is not a good indicator of ripeness unless the smell is really strong, then it’s overripe.”

Storage:

Ripe pineapples should be eaten right away. Ones that will be ready in a day or two can be left on the counter. Store cut pineapple in the refrigerator. O’Connor is happy to select a pineapple that will be ripe when you need it.

Sweet and refreshing pina colada shave ice

Tip:

“If I have one that I am not ready to eat, I will pop the top off and stick it in the fridge upside down. That tends to even out the sweetness. Often the bottoms will have a different level of sweetness than the top if we flip it upside down, it will get more evenly sweetened.”

Preparation:

“My favorite way to eat them is to crack them open and have them fresh and juicy. If you take frozen chunks and run them through a Vitamix or Champion juicer, it comes out like softserve ice cream. It’s just unbelievable.”

Health benefits:

One cup of pineapple contains 128 percent of the daily recommendation for manganese, a trace mineral important for energy production and antioxidant defenses. Pineapple is rich in Vitamin C and B1, and three daily servings of any fruit, about 1 1/2 cups, has been proven to protect against macular degeneration. Studies show that bromelain, extracted from the core and skin, has a wide variety of health benefits, including reduction of tumor growth.

Olana Farm produce can be found at:

Farmers Market: Kilauea, Thursdays at 4:30 p.m; Hanalei, Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Restaurants: BarAcuda, Kaua’i Grill, Postcards Cafe, Lilikoi Lunch Wagon, Moloa’a Fruit Stand, Coconut Cup, Oasis on the Beach, Red Salt, 22 North, Merriman’s, Roy’s, Josselin’s and local produce distributor Cultivate Kaua’i. Call 3465936, or email grow.kauai@gmail.com.

Tim O’Connor of Olana Farm. Daniel Lane photos

PIñA COLADA SHAVE ICE

This recipe is adapted from Paletas by Fany Gerson. The core of a white pineapple is less fibrous than a yellow one, so feel free to include it in this refreshing summer recipe. For a keiki-friendly version, omit the rum. Makes six to eight servings.

* 1 cup water
* 1 cup sugar l
* 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
* 1/3 cup Koloa White Rum
* 4 cups of peeled and diced white pineapple
* shave ice or crushed ice
* 3/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

Put shredded coconut in a dry pan over medium heat, toast until lightly golden and aromatic, tossing frequently. Set aside to cool.

Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring until the mixture has come to a boil and the sugar has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.

Put the syrup, coconut milk, rum and 3 cups of pineapple in a blender and blend until smooth. Let chill completely.

For each serving, put about 2 tablespoons of the remaining pineapple in a serving dish or glass. Fill halfway with ice, add 2 tablespoons of pineapple, then top with ice. If you have pineapple left over, place it on top. Drizzle 6 to 8 tablespoons of the syrup over the top and garnish with coconut. Serve immediately.

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