Pineapple Eats You!

The Editors at Food Fanatic | Food Fanatic

If you have heard that 'pineapple eats you' you must have wondered what on earth that means! Here's the explanation behind this bizarre phrase!

‘Pineapple eats you’ - sounds a bit like something out of a horror movie doesn’t it?

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You may have heard before that there are certain enzymes found in pineapples - and papaya -  that eat flesh. But before you begin panicking,  this isn't quite as drastic as it sounds.

In fact, it's something that most people only discover when they want to make jam from these fruits, as the fruits' flesh does not gel due to enzymes they contain.

This post will take a look at exactly what these enzymes are - and why you don't need to worry about them!


Pineapples contain copious amounts of bromelain, a type of enzyme which helps to break tough protein chains. It is found in large amounts in the skin and stem.

For this reason, pineapple makes an excellent marinade, as it really helps to tenderize meat. You do need to avoid marinating for too long, however, as it can cause the meat to fall apart!

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It is the power of the bromelain enzyme that stops pineapples from turning into jam or jelly when combined with gelatin. The enzyme breaks the gelatin down too, so it cannot gel.

One way to overcome this is to use agar-agar as minimizes the reaction that typically occurs.

As the enzyme is so strong, anyone handling large amounts of pineapple should wear protective face wear and gloves, otherwise the enzyme can eat away at the flesh on the hands and face. You may have even noticed yourself that if you have cut up lots of pineapple yourself that your hands may become dry and flaky. You may even notice little sores! 

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One of our favorite ways to use pineapple is to create a beef steak marinade, which produces perfectly succulent and juicy steak. Here’s a recipe to serve 2:

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 

2 tablespoons pineapple juice 

1 tablespoon brown sugar 

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1. Simply place all of the ingredients into a zip top bag.

2. Add in your meat and marinate for 1-2 hours. 

Alternatively, you can make a marinade with papaya.

Papaya contains the enzyme papain, which is abundant in underripe fruit, lessening as the fruit ripens.

Much like bromelain, papain is often used as a tenderizer, particularly for tougher cuts of meat like goat and mutton. Eating papaya won’t affect you, unless of course you are eating dozens a day!

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Here is a recipe for a papaya marinade that beautifully tenderizes your meat:

1 small papaya, peeled, halved and de-seeded 

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste 

1. Cube the papaya and place it and the remaining ingredients into a food processor or blender. Pulse until it is pureed, adding in a little water if you need to thin it slightly. 

2. Refrigerate the marinade for 24 hours prior to use. If you are using this marinade for beef, let it rest in the marinade for 6 hours and only 2 hours for poultry. You can also use it to marinade seafood, but you will only need to do so for about 10-15 minutes. 

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