Colorful Cooking: Add a tropical twist to your salsa | VailDaily.com

Colorful Cooking: Add a tropical twist to your salsa

It may be the middle of winter, but you can freshen up this classic with pineapple

Tracy Miller The Colorful Cook

After a few heavy snowstorms and lots of powder turns on the hill, could you use an anti-inflammatory? With all this snow and beautiful weather, you may need to recruit the over-the-counter meds or supplements, however, pineapple could help ease your aches and pains instead.

It reduces inflammation of joints and muscles and helps heal sprains and bruises. One cup of pineapple has almost 100 percent of the daily value for manganese, which helps with skin and bone health and cartilage formation.

Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which has a ton of health benefits. Not only does it heal the body’s aches and pains but it also helps with digestion and can relieve indigestion.

Bromelain is mostly found in the stem of the pineapple. Rarely do we eat the stem so the enzyme is extracted from the stem and put into supplements and digestive enzymes. Studies show that 160 mg of bromelain per day is beneficial but the best results were found when consuming 750-1000 mg in divided doses, between meals.

Ever wonder why your mouth feels a little strange after eating too much pineapple? It’s the bromelain. Bromelain breaks down proteins and attacks your tongue and lips on contact. Once you chew and swallow, your saliva and stomach acids take over and your mouth rebuilds.

Eating pineapple naturally gives us the benefits of bromelain and the flavor this time of year is so good. This tropical fruit is sweet, juicy and fragrant.

How to choose a pineapple

Pineapples do not ripen after they are picked, but they sweeten a little on the counter. When I am choosing a pineapple at the store, I look for one that is heavy in weight, smells like pineapple and is yellow with a sort of rotten-looking bottom. I also try to eat it within a day of purchasing it.

Pair pineapple with red peppers and you’ll have a pop of vitamin C to combat the flu and colds people are catching this time of year.

This salsa is a favorite of mine and if you’re looking for something fresh and light, try it on shrimp tacos, fish, chicken or pork.

Pineapple salsa

2 cups pineapple, diced

1 cup red pepper, diced

¼ cup red onion, diced

1 jalapeno, diced (optional)

1 teaspoon lime juice

½ teaspoon each salt, pepper and sugar

Combine all ingredients, stir and chill. Best if eaten within the day of making, but it can be kept in the refrigerator for about two days.

Tracy Miller is a caterer and personal chef. She specializes in healthy meals and always adds fruit and vegetables to her dishes. Contact Tracy at tracy@colorfulcooking.com or log onto ColorfulCooking.com for catering information.