pineapple love

what does one do with thousands of acres of pineapple…?

miles of pineapples from the treeline to the highway... that is the island of lanai in the background

this may seem like a far-fetched question, but it is actually a reality here on the westside of maui.  for decades the mountainsidesof west maui were intensively monocropped pineapple fields- 200 acres of pineapple were planted each day for years! but the company is now out of business.  from what i understand, the workers came to work last december and were told that that the company was bankrupt and they were finished working. hundreds of people lost their jobs, massive equipment was left in the fields, and there are miles of pineapple fields rotting away on the mountain from Lahaina to Kapalua.  many the fields have since smooshed the pineapple to oblivion and there is no more stench, but also a lot of wasted pineapples.

all of the land is private property and thus residents cannot (legally) hike up the hills and harvest the leftovers.  apparently it is a felony to take the pineapples (i’ve heard the fine is $500 per stolen pineapple).  imagine how many people would love those pineapples…  crazy huh?

anyway, we have a lot of pineapple (obtained from perfectly legal means, i might add!).  we’ve dried pineapples, baked with pineapples, given away about nine million pineapples, cooked with pineapples, juiced pineapples, and fed pineapples to the bugs, chickens and to the compost pile.  though chopping a pineapple is rather labor intensive, my man scored this goofy but exceptionally handy pineapple slicing gadget.

here are some recipes that i’ve used with the heaps of pineapples:

pineapple macadamia nut scones (another version of the best scones ever)

2 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 ground macadamia nuts
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch o’ seasalt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup agave + 1/4 cup for drizzle
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped fresh or dried pineapple

mix all the dry ingredients, mix all the wet ingredients and mix well.  toss the in the pineapple and stir gently.  bake at 350 for 15 minutes, then drizzle with extra agave- you could even mix some cinnamon in with the agave to make it better!

pineapple sweetie muffins

multi-grain muffins packed with coconut and pineapple sweetness.  yum.  see the recipe here

sweet and sour tempeh

i have wanted to make this for a long time with pineapple (i have always made with orange juice), and i finally got to last week.  i used pureed pineapple in the original recipe, but i think just pineapple juice would be better- using the pureed pineapple made it really thick and too much pineapple flavor.  this is a strongly flavored tempeh, best served simply with rice/noodles and simple steamed vegetables.  if the sauce is too thin, mix 1 tbsp of arrowroot or kuzu into 2 tbsp of water,  then add the the simmering broth.

1 block of tempeh or tofu
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp oil
3/4 cup pineapple juice with 1/4 cup pureed pineapple
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar or sucanat

mix the pineapple, sugar, and liquid ingredients in a small bowl; mix well to dissolve the sugar- set aside. brown the tempeh or tofu in a skillet with the oil, then add the garlic and cook until soft. add the liquid ingredients and simmer for five minutes. add the starch if you want to thicken the sauce.

pineapple not-so-much cake

last week i also made a beautiful (traditional) pineapple upside down cake.  though it tasted great the next day i felt terrible from all that butter!  so, i’ve been experimenting in the kitchen trying to make a vegan pineapple upside down cake, and i just cannot seem to get it right.  i’ve used both earth balance and coconut oil as the topping, but the texture is all wrong: plastic-y and not yummy, and it batter doesn’t want to cook with all that liquid on the bottom- i think that without the eggs it does not rise as much, such that the resulting cake is cooked but the texture is not right.  the flavor is right on, but i still need to work on the composition.  i think i might have to resort to pineapple right-side-up cake.  once i score some more pineapple i will head back to the kitchen and post the results. 

any suggestions for what to do with more pineapple…?

i am open to all ideas!

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