February 9th, 2009

Dole ‘Tropical Gold’ Canned Pineapple

by Stephanie Segal • in Food & Drink

Yes, a freshly cut pineapple can be a special treat, but it’s hit and miss. When perfectly ripe the fleshy bits at the tips of a wedge might be nice, but they don’t go very far AND leave threads between the teeth almost every time, leave juice down your chin and lets not omit those strange cuts they leave on the roof of your mouth. Getting it ready is a big job too, cutting off that porcupine exterior. And to my tastes, it must be completely removed; even a hint of the spiny stuff on the edge is a real turn off. More often, fresh pineapple is under-ripe. Imagine using all that energy shaving a pineapple and slicing it, all the while salivating thinking of your reward at the end, and you wind up with a hard, bland, unripe number? The disappointment. The waste of time and money. The empty stomach. It’s a fruit gamble. Do you feel lucky?

I don’t. Cans are a way to avoid all that work, and to have a consistent, affordable product. Too bad it’s been consistently lousy to the point that I almost called it quits with canned pineapple. The No-Name and store brand versions leave everything to be desired. The great majority of the time (I am tempted to say always, very tempted) what you get is a sad, pale, waxy, thin, crunchy, sour slice in watery juice that all is merely reminiscent of pineapple. It sinks the heart to think of the widespread purchasing and tolerating of this stuff that dares call itself pineapple. Oh, the poor masses! Woe are the fruit salads laden with these bland chunks that mute the potential flavor medleys rather than make them sing.

Lesson learned. Canned pineapple is one of those items better to spend more on and get the brand name. Like Q-Tips. But it can’t be just any name. My local grocery only carries the Del Monte brand, and let me tell you, it wasn’t much of a step away from the No-Name stuff, except in terms of price. I was really saddened by this, as it seemed my affair with pineapple would be over. I love the stuff, and am not willing to eat a sub par version of it.

And then Costco and greed came to my rescue. You know how you go in to Costco meaning to buy three things and come out with $150 less in your bank account? Well, I fell into that trap one of my very first times there, and bought a case of six Dole ‘Tropical Gold’ canned pineapple. I had low expectations but there were six in a neat pack for a super price! Must. Put. In. Cart.

I am so glad I did. I won’t ever buy another make of canned pineapple. And if you try it, neither will you. Aptly named, the pineapple actually tastes tropical and sun drenched. It also has the most gorgeous golden hue of supreme ripeness. YES!

The people at Dole must have a contract to grow pineapples in heaven. The babies in their cans are a complete other league, nay…universe. Theirs are plump, soft, yellow drenched rings of succulent sweetness so delightful you can close your eyes and transcend to Hawaii. Every single ring as sweet as the next, never any of the negative attributes described to the other canned types. If I made a commercial of how I felt the first time I tried it, it would go like this: The scene is my kitchen. Filming in black and white my family and I are dressed in dreary drab winter wear. I open a can of Dole ‘Tropical Gold’. Immediate change to full high definition color. The sun breaks through the clouds as I open the can and look down, smiling, to find myself in a hula skirt, while my dogs strum ukuleles, my baby claps hands wearing a lei and my husband rides a wave on a surfboard in the sink. We all dance to the ukulele music as golden pineapple rings shower gracefully into our kitchen and better yet, our mouths. Seriously. It was that good, and it made me that happy.

So, what? You hear about my ad pitch and no longer trust my judgement? Take then that of my one-year-old, a bottomless pit of unfinicky eating. Since he graduated to solid foods, I tried giving him little pieces of pineapple with his breakfast. Del Monte. The first time I did, he put a piece to his mouth, stuck his tongue out to it, screwed his face up, and put the piece back down on the tray. For days after that he would ignore it completely. I went through entire cans this way, hoping he would give it another chance, finally deciding he must just not like it, which was surprising as he is the unfinicky bottomless pit. That left the Del Monte surplus in the cupboard for me, and so I became victim to the disgraceful product I mentioned above and my pineapple hopelessness. And then came Tropical Gold. I used the same method with it for baby. He didn’t even recognize it as the same food type, because he picked it right up (I did mention the vibrant golden hue). This time, the piece not only went in the mouth, but it was followed by a good MMM and the shoving of another piece in there before the first one was done. Now my kid has a two-ring a day snack habit where he gobbles the pineapple down feverishly, juice all over his little palms. Never a piece thrown to the dogs or left over. Compliments to the chef.

The ‘Tropical Gold’ is so good you can dress it up. Throw it into your fruit salad with confidence that it will bring it to life and make the whole thing taste like summer. Take a page from my Mom and make eye catching fruit kebabs, or a page from me: douse those babies with either vanilla ice cream or chocolate sauce…or both. Pineapple isn’t a topping on the best banana splits for nothing. Use the juice in a smoothie, or drink it straight, ice cold, from your fridge. SO good.
One more thing. The taste is the knockout punch so I guess we can call this the victory lap. Dole ‘Tropical Gold’ cans come with simple to use pull-tabs for opening. No can opener necessary! Refrigerate, yank and eat. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

What? You’re wielding a butcher knife, wearing an apron nervously approaching a pineapple that might have been sitting in a warehouse for two months and taste like plastic? Didn’t you hear me say Hawaii like taste and easy-open tabs? Go get your Dole ‘Tropical Gold’ canned pineapple, already. It’s the best there is.

Comments(1)

William Sawyer said:


I LOVE ‘Pineapple Upside Down Cake’, plus using pineapple in smoking pork ribs, Hawaiian style. The problem is, for the last 43 years, I’ve lived in Tahiti. The first 12 years, no problem. You could only find “DOLE” pineapple in a can. (rings). Then this guy started making juices, and they started growing ‘Pineapple’ locally. Then the new President, a real a-hole, for lot’s of reasons, decided to ban the importation of canned pineapple. You might think, so what, use the fresh. Well I’ve tried for years to duplicate the same great flavor as ‘DOLE’ in a can, for baking, and sauce for pork ribs, etc. I use the private garden variety, ’cause the commercial stuff is chemical heaven. I don’t even buy the juice. The fresh organic pineapples, are typically smaller, but very tasty. Is there any way to get that ‘canned taste’. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s hard to be sure about the ripeness, even when you use all the tricks, like picking up the pineapple by the innermost top leaf, and if it comes out easy, it’s ripe. Help if you can.

November 15th, 2014 at 2:43 am

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