The Long Way Home : A Pineapple’s Journey
to the juices she was born with.
Though she tried to hide the seep of syrup
from the rot of flesh
that cracked her armor.
She knew no magic pill,
nor painless shortcut
could extend her shelf life
And the only place that she could turn to
was the long road
to the lonely field.
Giving up the crown
she had held so high
upon her head,
she replanted herself
in the unknown soils,
and then began to wait …
she replaced her fibers
with those that grew in the nutrient earth.
The veining roots brought green to stems
and blossomed the fruit within her core.
while she rose from the ground —
fresh and full of wonder
at the sun
and the rain
and the stars
and their music
that echoed the song inside her.
Her skin turned gold with the honeyed dawn —
it’s sweetness gave off
a newfound fragrance.
And she glowed from within
with the light she’d unearthed :
found buried in darkness.
I am completely AMAZED by pineapples! I had no idea how fascinating they were until I saw an actual pineapple plant for the first time: a miniature version of itself suspended atop a single stem, growing from the ground. How ridiculously adorable and miraculous that such a complex fruit is created this way!
Here are some pineapple facts that have been blowing my mind recently:
- One plant produces only one pineapple fruit per season.
- Most species of pineapples take 24 months to reach maturity. That’s right, one pineapple from one plant takes two years to grow!
- To grow a new pineapple plant you can simply twist off and replant the crown of a mature pineapple fruit.
- The pineapple plant flowers with hundreds of little “fruitlets” that fuse together and become one fruit.
- Once the pineapple ripens and the fruit is harvested, it stops ripening and its short shelf life begins quickly ticking away. So how you purchase the pineapple from the store is as ripe as it will ever be. It is only rotting at that point.
- Although pineapples have become a symbol of Hawaiian agricultural, and Hawai’i is the only US state that grows them, they are not native to the Islands. They were introduced only in 1813.
🙃 I have always loved pineapple upside-down cake and wanted to try making one with fresh pineapple, instead of the traditional canned pineapple, most recipes call for.
This pineapple was grown right down the road from my house at the Maui Tropical Plantation. The fruit itself tasted like heaven, so I knew whatever was made with it would be divine!
This is a recipe I have adapted from many recipes and I am very happy with the outcome. The fresh pineapple caramelizes nicely with no overflow on the topping and the cake is dense and moist. Not only is this cake delicious, but the combination of spices and fresh pineapple makes your home incredibly fragrant when it is baking and after!
Fresh Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
5-8 fresh pineapple slices (or 8-10 canned pineapple slices)
Maraschino cherries (to decorate with as you wish)
1 and 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt)
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg whites at room temperature
1/3 cup full fat Greek yogurt at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk (or half and half), at room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Prepare topping:
- Cut and up fresh pineapple into rings.
- Pour melted butter into an ungreased 9×2 inch pie dish or round cake pan.
- Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter.
- Blot all excess liquid off the fruit with a paper towel and pineapple slices and cherries on top of the brown sugar.
- Place pan in the refrigerator for a few minutes to set while you prepare the cake batter.
- Prepare cake batter:
- Whisk cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom and cinnamon together. Set aside.
- Mix the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 min. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until creamed together, about 1 min, scraping down the sides as needed.
- On high speed, beat in the egg whites until combined, then beat in the Greek yogurt and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Slowly our the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Turn mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the milk. Beat on low speed just until all of the ingredients are combined. Do not over-mix.
- Remove topping from the refrigerator. Pour and spread cake batter evenly over topping.
- Bake for 43-48 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean.
- Remove cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Invert the slightly cooled cake onto a cake stand or serving plate.
Over a glass of pineapple wine
thoughts of you float to the surface,
sweetly swirling in my mind
as hours sip —
lick drips from the rim …
and I smile
thinking how time is an ineffective metric
when you’ve fallen in love with a soul.
Writing and photography by: Katy Claire Funke