Tag: Cara’s pineapple

How to carve a pineapple jack-o’lantern

A number of years ago I discovered the joy of a pineapple jack-o’lantern, and frankly, we have not looked back! These little guys are so easy to carve and their crazy pineapple top hair make me laugh every time. Last weekend my son and I shot a short video on how to carve a pineapple jack-o’lantern. This video comes to you from the beautiful kitchen at our Kamaole Sands 2-206 condo. Hope you enjoy!

I wrote more about pineapples (how to carve and how to grow) last week – so check out that blog entry. I’ve also grown pineapples from pineapple tops in my flower bed, so search ‘Cara’s pineapple‘ on this blog for more pictures of that also!

A few tips for carving a pineapple jack-o’lantern

  • On Maui a pineapple jack-o’lantern will only last about a day before starting to mold. Save your carving for Halloween afternoon! For that matter, when I have carved pumpkins here on Maui, they’ve not lasted much longer than 2-3 days either.
  • Carving pineapples is significantly easier than a pumpkin – provided you trust your children with a knife, this is a fun activity for them to try!
  • Pineapple jack-o’lanterns are juicy. Unless they’re outside, put a plate under them!

Pumpkins on Hawaii

Why not carve a pumpkin? Honestly, pumpkins in Hawaii are expensive. The actual pumpkins themselves, but also canned pumpkin. Standard (15 oz)-sized tins average $3, the larger (29 oz) ones are usually $5-6. Our family loves pumpkin. My favorite recipe is this pumpkin swirl loaf. It is delicious – I triple the recipe, usually two loaves are polished off within two days, the third goes in the freezer for a treat. This year I bought a whole pumpkin from Costco, roasted it and made my own pumpkin sauce (and seeds). I may have regretted that by the time I started bagging all the sauce for the freezer. That’s a lot of pumpkin sauce! It also looks deceptively like frozen mango puree. Want to bet there will be some interesting ‘mango’ aka accidental pumpkin smoothies made at my house? Ha!

Have you been to the Kula Farms upcountry Maui? Every year they have a pumpkin patch, usually starting late September and running through Halloween. I love their farm stand.

This fall Mahi Pono harvested their first crop of Maui grown pumpkins. Mahi Pono is the owner of 41,000 acres of former sugar cane land here on Maui. Slowly but surely they are converting the dry former sugar cane fields into cropland. Their first plantings were potatoes, but they have branched out from that. Driving up Haleakala Hwy you can see fields of orange, lemon and coffee trees. Curious to buy their Maui grown produce? Per their website they currently sell under the Maui Harvest label at Foodland, Longs, Times and Tamura.

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How to cut a pineapple

How do you cut a pineapple? There are of course different ways. I learned mine from the tag on a Maui Gold pineapple!

I’ve had a lot of fun over the years growing pineapples in my flowerbed. I by no means have a green thumb. Sig keeps our yard at home looking beautiful, with the help of teenager lawnmowers (love having teenagers!).

Over the years I’ve posted pictures of our flowerbed pineapples which grow from tops here on this blog. Here is one with the new pineapple bud rising out of the plant.

how to cut a pineapple
pineapple bud in my flowerbed

Today I made two videos, both at our Maui Kamaole I-103 condo’s kitchen. One how to cut a pineapple, the second how to prep a pineapple top for planting. I hope you enjoy!

How to cut a pineapple

How do you like to eat your pineapple? You could eat the pieces just like this. Or you could use our condo’s Vitamix (each of our condos has one) to make a pineapple smoothie, or start a pina colada. You are in Hawaii, after all!

Do you have a favorite pina colada recipe? I’d love to have it!

How to prep a pineapple top for planting

Pineapples on Maui

Did you know, the island of Lanai used to be the location where Dole grew all its pineapples. Labor grew to expensive and so they relocated their farms to South America and/or South East Asia. But no fear, Maui Gold has their farm upcountry in Hali’imaile. As you drive from Haleakala Hwy towards Baldwin Ave (past the Hali’imaile General Store), you will pass their Pineapple vodka operations (on the left) and pineapple fields on the right (you need to crane your neck a bit to see them past the wild grass). Please be respectful and stay out of the fields.

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Hula Cookies

Have you ever been to Hula Cookies? Their store is located at the Harbor Shops in Maalaea Harbor.

Friends used to own a small jewelry store next door, so we would stop in at Hula Cookies from time to time. After yesterday’s Maui Ocean Center visit, my youngest and I stopped at Hula Cookies for one of their gourmet icecream sandwiches. While we got there before their shop opened, we got lucky! They have an icecream sandwich vending machine just outside the store! Perfect! We still got our treats and got to support this awesome small business.

As the name implies they have a number of different gourmet cookies that they bake and sell. They also serve Roselani icecream. You can build your own icecream sandwich with your choice of cookies and icecream. How sweet is that! My son chose chocolate chip cookies and mint chip icecream (of course). But I had my eye set on the Hula’s Delight cookies These have dried mango, dried pineapple, coconut and mac nuts. We ran the credit card and got my son’s icecream sandwich out of the vending machine ($7), then ran it again for mine. In my haste it appears I punched in the wrong number, instead of an icecream sandwich I got a baggie of 4 Hula’s Delight for $5. In my opinion, a total win.

Icecream – I can take it or leave it, but give me something I can sink my teeth into (like four hula cookies), and I’m a happy girl! Now, keep in mind, the vending machine is a freezer, so they were all frozen (since the icecream needs to be kept frozen). The cookies softened up quickly enough. It worked for us, but I think next time we’ll try to time our visit better so we can have soft cookies with the icecream. Yum.

Roselani Icecream

Roselani Icecream is Maui’s very own icecream. Maui Soda Works started manufacturing it in 1932, since then it is sold at all grocery stores in Hawaii. We recently tried the Kona Mud Pie. Oh it’s delicious.

Maui Harbor Shops

Have you stopped at the Harbor Shops in Maalaea? You may recognize their two main tenants – the Maui Ocean Center and the Pacific Whale Foundation. Do take a moment to check out the other shops and restaurants – did you know there are two levels? Tante’s has a gorgeous harbor view, Beach Bums is popular and runs regular radio ads. There are a few gift shops, a tattoo parlor, and Maui’s newest live entertainment venue, Da Playground.

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Pineapple on Maui

Hawaii used to be known for its pineapple plantations. These days they are now mostly gone – replaced by cheaper imports from other places. However, there are still fields to be found on Maui and it seems more fields have been planted recently. Drive upcountry to Hailemaile and if you look carefully, you will see some pineapple fields. Plants are close together, creating a dense plant field. Note, please do not trespass on these fields, even if just to take pictures.

pau vodka
Hailemaile pineapple fields

From my experience growing pineapples from tops in my flower bed, it takes roughly 1 1/2 years to grow one fruit per plant – if you’re lucky.

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budding flower bed pineapple

My favorite growing stage is when they bloom. Each of those little notches on the hard skin represents where a tiny purple flower bloomed. Soooo beautiful.

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pineapple bloom in my flower bed

Costco stopped selling Maui Gold pineapples this past year – replaced by fruit that is supposedly grown on Oahu (though I’m suspicious). However, there are a few local businesses that still grow and use Maui pineapples.

The Hailemaile Distilling Company produces Pau Vodka. Check them out in Hailemaile, go for a tour and see their tasting room. They also offer tours of their fields.

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Pau Vodka for sale at Safeway

The Maui Winery also uses local fruit for their three pineapple wines ~ Splash, Maui Blanc and Hula. These are available at your Maui grocery stores or for sampling at the Maui Winery at the Ulupalakua Ranch.

If on Maui, look to buy a Maui Gold pineapple. Farmer’s markets should still have them available, even if Costco does not. They are unbelievably sweet and juicy.

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Carving pineapples

How was your Halloween? I hope you had a fun time! This year we kept with our tradition of carving pineapples. Yes, we do have pumpkins here – even a pumpkin patch – but pineapples are cheaper. And better to eat!

carving pineapples
Carving a pineapple

Years ago when we still lived in Canada and were preparing for a Maui vacation, a friend gave us one of these pineapple cutters. At the time yesterday u could buy them in the produce section.

 

It is pretty slick for carving pineapples. Cut the top off the pineapple, line up the disk and begin twisting it into the fruit. The hard core ends up in the center tube as you hollow out the fruit. Depending on the size of the pineapple you can feel the ridge of the disk, or perhaps you will cut right through the pineapple skin (if it’s a smaller one especially). When you think you are near the bottom, you just lift the twirly pineapple out with the handle.

carving pineapples
Our carved pineapples

Set a candle in them and your house will smell like pineapple. Yum. For trick-or-treating I set these guys on the stairs leading up to our front door. Better to use battery operated candles for that, in case someone knocks them over.

carving pineapples
Pineapple chicken for dinner

What to do with all that pineapple? I tried a new recipe for crockpot pineapple chicken. I thought the family would like it, but our picky eaters disagreed. Ah well, can’t please everyone. Don’t feel sorry for them – they did feast on candy later on…

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Maui Gold Pineapple

I’ve heard from a number of people that pineapples bought here on Maui are better than the ones bought ‘back home’. Why is that? I always thought it was just because they’re harvested ripe here, but didn’t realize that, as with other fruit, there are different varieties of pineapples. I guess this shouldn’t have been a surprise.

Maui Gold pineapple labelOn Maui we are lucky to have the Maui Gold pineapple variety. If you haven’t tried it yet, do! It is less acidic and somewhat sweeter. It is grown right here on Maui by the Maui Gold Pineapple Company. No, they don’t hold the exclusive right to this type pineapple, but they grow a lot of it. The Hawaii Business magazine has an interesting article about Maui Gold Pineapple Company, and how it has come back from the brink, scaled back and revived itself.

Where can you find Maui Gold? The easiest place is the local grocery store – Safeway, Times, Foodland and Costco, they all carry Maui Gold pineapples. So do many farmer’s markets.

Curious to learn more about pineapple farming? You can take a Maui Pineapple Tour!

Cara's baby pineapple
baby pineapple growing – spectacular coloring

How do pineapples grow? A few years ago I experimented and planted a Maui Gold pineapple top. It grew to about 4 feet in height, 2 feet in diameter and looked like a giant pineapple top! At about the 12 month mark, the plant developed a pineapple bud in its center, which then grew into a full-fledged pineapple. Four months later we harvested our large Maui Gold pineapple – that’s right, 16 months to grow one pineapple! Ours had a crooked crown which I suppose it would have been considered ‘flawed’. The next year the plant grew two more baby pineapples (they were roughly a third the size of the original pineapple).

Cara's pineapple
our homegrown Maui Gold pineapple – with a somewhat deformed crown

For blog entries and interesting pictures of our pineapple-growing progress click  the ‘Cara’s pineapple’ tag on the right side of this blog.

How to choose the perfect pineapple? I look for fruit that is yellow and smells like ripe pineapple. How about you? What is your trick to finding the perfect pineapple?

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Halloween is back!

Hard to believe it’s been a year since I dressed up in my Austrian (ok, ‘Amazon’) dirndl. You should have seen Sig’s look of consternation…. that’s not a Halloween outfit! Well, he should have taken me to Oktoberfest and given me another opportunity to wear it, right?

Anyway. Halloween is big in Lahaina – they call it the Mardi Gras of the Pacific. For much more information about it (including the shuttle bus from Kihei), check this Maui Now link.

What will we be doing for Halloween? Well, one thing is for sure – we are definitely going with our new family tradition of carving pineapples! They were too cool!

halloween
pineapple jack-o’lanterns

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