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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Cooking, & Recipes #77

Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes one ingredient at a time.



One hundred thirteen years ago today, my dad was born to a Canadian cabinetmaker and an English-Irish Salvation Army officer, a part of the first generation of his family in the United States.

My earliest memory of my dad is of the two of us walking hand-in-hand at the Zoo. I was probably two or three years old, toddling along on short little legs at my dad’s left side. And, in that image I see another holding his right hand—a chimpanzee. Did this really happen? I have no idea. Perhaps it was just a dream, but it seems very real to me, and it testifies to the loving person who was my daddy. Ever patient; ever kind; ever loving—that was my Daddy.

To everyone else, he was known as Roy, the third of four surviving children of Frederick and Elizabeth. The family of six might have been a family of ten if not for the high mortality rates of that time. Daddy told the story of his birth in this way:

"In 1906 babies were usually born at home, and my birth was no exception. Mum was a tiny woman, less than 5 feet tall and I was a large baby. It was a difficult birth, and I emerged limp and lifeless. The doctor placed me on a table and covered me with a sheet. As he turned to attend to my mother, the next door neighbor arrived. 'Where is the baby?' she inquired. 'Sadly, the baby did not survive' replied the doctor. The neighbor lifted the sheet, touched the little body and felt movement. 'That baby’s alive you damned fool!' With that, she wrapped me in a blanket and tucked me next to Mum where I was warmed and loved back to life.”

Why am telling you this? My dad was given two chances at living, and I believe that imbued in him his devotion to God and his zest for living life to the fullest. He was and continues to be a major influence in my life. When confronted with a challenge or a disappointment, I ask myself "what would Daddy do?" And then I pick myself up, dust myself off, and life goes on.

Let's Do This Together

I'm happy that you are here today. If you're an old friend, you already know how this works. But, if this is your first visit, let me introduce you to my kitchen.

Each week I receive questions about food ingredients, cooking or baking terms or methods, requests for recipes, and queries about nutrition. Just about anything food-related has been covered here.

I'm sharing this past week's questions and my responses and it happens every Monday. Want to join in the fun? You can leave your question in the comments below, and next week the answer will be right here. It's that easy.

Pineapples: How to Ripen Them, and Using the WHOLE Thing

Linda, can you tackle the question of pineapples? They seem to get sweet and ripe at the bottom and are sour at the top. What is your pineapple hack? How can I evenly ripen a pineapple? Also, I tend to eat the center but most don't. For canned pineapple what do they do with all those cores, there is still a lot of juice in them.

Pineapple dreaming of being picked some day soon

Pineapple dreaming of being picked some day soon

First, let me begin by saying that I am blessed to have some amazing, supportive friends. Shauna (Brave Warrior) saw Mary's question and provided some valuable information (and saved me the task of doing some research).

I can answer part of Mary's question. As far as ripening them: leave them on the plant until they're mostly yellow. To distribute the sugars: lay them on their side in a window sill for a day or two and rotate. This allows the sugars to evenly distribute throughout the flesh (rather than fall to the bottom of the fruit). I don't know if you remember, but I grow pineapples in my yard. The core questions you'll have to research. I don't use them but would be curious to see what you come up with.

Mary, you probably know a great deal of what I’m going to present, but many other readers might not have your background, so allow me to present a Pineapple 101.

  • The pineapple is a bromeliad—yes, just like the flowering houseplant. What distinguishes bromeliads from other plants is that the leaves are arranged in a rosette shape which forms a central cup. It is that cup that collects rainwater, and that is how the plant is fed and nourished.
bromeliad houseplant

bromeliad houseplant

  • The pineapple is a non-climacteric fruit. That’s a high-fallutin way of saying that once you pick it, the pineapple won’t ripen any further (as Shauna indicated above). This is important because the harvesters need to pay keen attention to the fruit size and color to make a judgment of the suitability of the fruit for picking.
  • Pineapples mature from the bottom to the top; as they ripen the bottoms becomes flatter.
  • In a phone conversation, Shauna also shared that the pineapple is a fruit that will try one's patience. From its first emergence from the soil to harvest, a pineapple can take 12 to 15 months.
I'm picked, plump, juicy, and perfectly ripe

I'm picked, plump, juicy, and perfectly ripe

  • However, they are extremely easy to propagate. Simply twist off the top, leaving a bit of the flesh intact, and push it back into the ground. Shauna doesn't even have to dig a hole.
  • Now, about that core—is it edible? Yes, and no. The core is very fibrous (chewy) but it is still usable:

    • Slice it very thinly.
    • It is possible to turn it into a pulp if one has a powerful food processor/blender (such as a Vitamix).
    • Freeze the core and use it as “ice” in your punch bowl.
    • The core is not as sweet as pineapple fruit so can (in theory) be added to your stock pot or marinade. I can envision tossing a pineapple core into the crockpot with a pork shoulder (for pulled pork), or in chicken simmered for Asian soup stock, pho, etc.
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By the way, the pineapple is more than just a sweet tropical fruit. Here's some good news:

  • Pineapple is loaded with Vitamin C and is helpful in reducing LDL cholesterol
  • It's high in fiber
  • Pineapple contains bromelain, a substance that has been shown to be effective in decreasing inflammation and the pain of arthritis.

A few words of caution about bromelain:

  • It can cause nausea, diarrhea, or increased menstrual bleeding
  • It is contraindicated for those who are using anticoagulants (warfarin, for example).
  • And, it can increase the effect of sedatives and antidepressants

Sources: Happy Happy Vegan, Food Embrace

And, if I have piqued your curiosity, there is a research paper from the Kerala Agricultural University on the topic of harvesting and post-production practices for pineapples. The free link is here.


Our final soup in this series is truly a bowl of peasant food at its simplest and best. According to legend, this dish was invented in the aftermath of the 1525 Battle of Pavia. Tired and wounded, King Francis I of France found refuge in a local farmhouse after his defeat. The lady of the house improvised a meal for her royal guest from what she had on hand, making a humble, yet delicious soup that is truly fit for a king.

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

  • 4 large slices of artisanal bread
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 4 and 1/4 cups rich chicken stock
  • grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Lightly toast the bread and place one slice in the bottom of each bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, poach the eggs and place one cooked egg on the top of each slice of toast.
  3. Cover the egg with a generous dusting of Parmesan cheese.
  4. Place a ladle-full of broth in each bowl.

Did you know that there is a Table of Contents for this series? I have created an article that provides a detailed listing of each question I've received. It's broken down by category, and within each category, the questions are listed alphabetically. Each question is actually a hotlink back to the original post.

Here's a link to that Table of Contents.

If you like this series, you'll love this! Consider it my gift to you.

I hope that we can continue share in this food journey together. If you have questions about foods, cooking techniques, or nutrition you can ask them here. If you are in search of an old recipe or need ideas on how to improve an existing one I can help you. If you want to learn more, let's do it together. Present your questions, your ideas, your comments below. Or, you can write to me personally at this email address:

And, I promise that there will always be at least one photo of a kitty in every Monday post.

© 2019 Linda Lum


Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on July 06, 2019:

Hi Lawrence, you are welcome any time. The party never ends. As for the soup, it is simple and comforting. I would think you would be needing some of this about now as you are in the midst of winter. Keep your eyes open for my new Q&A--I publish each and every Monday and follow up the next day with a one-topic food article.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 06, 2019:


Sorry I missed this first time round (not sure why, but it just came up in my feed) but Yum!

We're out of the tropics here, so I won't be growing any Pineapple anytime soon, but it was good to know about how to!

The soup sounded delicious, I have to try it sometime.



Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on March 25, 2019:

Thank you for stopping by today Lori. I'm sorry that you can no longer include pineapple in your diet. Perhaps someday a pineapple that doesn't pose a risk for those on certain medications can be developed.

Yes, the soup is easy and good, and I'll gladly take your egg for you.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on March 25, 2019:

Thank you so much Flourish. Your words are sweet music to my ears. I love to write stories, and I love my Dad, so it was an easy task.

Lori Colbo from United States on March 25, 2019:

I can't eat pineappple anymore but I like it and miss it.

The soup sounds good except for the poached eggs. Yum.

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 25, 2019:

The story about your father was so rich with detail, filled with love. That chimp was probably real. (My mother had a chimp as a child.) You are a gifted writer as well as a wonderful cook. I enjoyed all of the good information about the pineapple and learned a lot. You’ve made me add one to today’s grocery list.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on March 25, 2019:

You're very welcome, Linda. I'm glad I was able to help.

I'm not much of a dessert girl, either. However, right now I'm enjoying a delicious piece of banana nut bread I made yesterday (from scratch). Yum!

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on March 25, 2019:

Shauna, thank you again for your contribution to this week's Q&A. I truly could not have done it without you.

I'm not much of a dessert girl, so I can honestly say "put a runny egg on anything and I'll be happy." Ramen, spaghetti, pizza (yes, really!), salad, a bowl of rice, anything Tex-Mex, or even unsweetened oatmeal. {{sigh}}.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on March 25, 2019:

Linda, thank you for sharing the story of your dad's birth. He truly was a blessing!

Mary, I don't water my pineapples. I let Nature take care of that. I live in a humid climate (Central Florida) with sandy dirt. My pineapples thrive and throw off pups each year, just as bromeliads do. I think I started with three or four and now have twenty one.

Linda, Zuppa Pavese looks to be right up my alley. Eggs are one of my favorite foods, as you know.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on March 25, 2019:

Mary, I'll see what I can find regarding dehydrating pineapple (without the benefit of a dehydrator). I'm presently working on an article about drying beef (specifically jerky, but there are others too) and am learning that you don't need a dehydrator. I hope to have an answer for you next week.

Your poor husband is missing out on one of life's pleasures. That just means that there's more for the rest of us. Have a great day my friend.

Mary Wickison from USA on March 25, 2019:

Hi Linda,

Thanks go out to you and Shauna for your answer regarding the pineapple.

I have tried to grow them twice and gave up both times. The amount of water they were using over the course of such a long time, just didn't seem worth it. I even had a woman at the grocery store, save me the tops for planting.

I will try laying them down and rotating them. Pamela mentioned dehydrated ones. Is that possible to do without a dehydrator and in a humid area?

I love the ideas for the cores, especially the inclusion with pulled pork.

Although I would enjoy that soup, my husband would run (and I mean run) from the dining table. He doesn't even like the look of a poached egg.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on March 25, 2019:

Bill, you and I have talked about your father many times. I think he and my Dad were cut from the same cloth.

Linda Lum (author) from Washington State, USA on March 25, 2019:

Ah, thank you Pamela. As long as this old gal is breathing, I hope to have a mailbox for you each Monday.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 25, 2019:

I don't do pineapples, but I thrive on stories like the one you told about your dad. He sounds like he was one hell of a man, and look at who he fathered...a job well-done, I would say.

Thanks for sharing about him, dear friend.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 25, 2019:

I too have grown pineapples. We used the top of some we have purchased, putting each one in a large pot of the proch. They did take over a year to grow a ripened pineapple, but it was oh so good. We have dehydrated pineapples also, which make an awesome treat to nibble on.

It wouldn't be Monday morning if I didn't have your article to read Linda, as I always enjoy what you have to say. I enjoyed reading about

your father.

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