Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pineapple addendum to Kiwi juice post

A while ago I posted about using kiwi juice to tenderize meat. I also noted that pineapple also has a protease enzyme, bromelain, that will tenderize meat. It does this by breaking down the proteins in the meat and therefore breaking the cellular structure.

One thing I did not mention is that the bromelain also does its wonders on your tongue if you eat the pinapple, especially more green.  I cut up a beautiful pineapple the other day and was happily munching away when  my tongue started to tingle and felt burnt!  Turns out the bromelain was also breaking down the proteins on my tongue...fortunately, the surface of our tongues is replenished almost daily so the effects are not long lasting but in future I think I will eat my pineapple with something a but more creamy such as yogurt to help coat  my tongue from the effects.  I have read that truly ripe from the tree pineapples do not have the same effect as the amount of bromelain is reduced as the pineapple ripens.

One downside of the protein attack is that you cannot put raw pineapple in gelatin since it will break down the gelatin (which is a protein).  The canned pineapple would work since it is usually  cooked and will have inactivated  the bromelain (need to try this experiment). To make pineapple jelly, you would need to use pectin not gelatin.


Pineapple strawberry jelly,1623,146161-225195,00.html

Dickson, S R and Bickerstaff, G F Pineapple bromelain and protein hydrolysis. Journal of Biological Education 25, 164–166 (1991)

Pineapple bushes


  1. Is it true that pineapple pickers don't have fingerprints?

  2. AS far as I can determine, you cannot erase fingerprints unless there is severe and permanent damage to the epidermis layer of skin - severe burn or slice could do it. The effect of pineapple is only to the topmost layer so the fingerprints should come back once contact is broken for a while. Pineapple pickers may lose them longer term because they never get a chance to heal.
    Scientific American wrote an article on loss of fingerprints a few years ago:
    And Tom Scott did an experiment:

    There are many more plants that can also cause skin problems on contact or with prolonged contact. Here is a 2002 paper that outlines a series of different kinds of problems:

    Botanical dermatology
    Thomas W. McGovern MAJ, MC, USA, Theodore M. Barkley PhD
    Article first published online: 5 JAN 2002
    DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-4362.1998.00385.x
    International Journal of Dermatology
    Volume 37, Issue 5, pages 321–334, May 1998


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