Before reading Harry Potter, I had never heard of crystallized pineapple before. Actually, I hadn’t heard of crystallized fruit of any kind. The only “crystal” candy I’d had was the rock candy that you can make at home with a string and a cup of sugar water. In some ways, this is similar, but it isn’t pure sugar you are eating and has a lot more flavor.
You’ll be sure to impress Professor Slughorn with this recipe, just don’t ask him about Horcruxes when you do!!
His [Professor Slughorn] little feet resting upon a velvet pouffe, he was sitting well back in a comfortable winged armchair, one hand grasping a small glass of wine, the other searching through a box of crystallized pineapple.
“What with your uncanny ability to know things you shouldn’t, and your careful flattery of the people who matter – thank you for the pineapple, by the way, you’re quite right, it is my favorite-“
-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
When I think of crystallized pineapple and the rock candy I used to eat, I figured I could try to put the two ideas together and make my own pineapple snack. Of course, being pineapple is so water-infused, I realized I would need to dry it out in the process so it wouldn’t be a wet and sticky mess.
I used a fresh pineapple for this recipe, but if they are out of season or you don’t want to deal with cutting one, you can also buy a can of pineapple rings. It’s also up to you if you want to keep the pineapple in rings or cut it into bite-sized pieces. We did the bite-sized because it was easier to work with and better for the boys to eat.
If you buy a fresh pineapple, start by cutting and coring the fruit. You can see my favorite tool and method here: The Easiest Way to Cut and Core a Pineapple. To crystallize the pineapple, you’ll make a simple syrup and submerge the pineapple in that before putting it in a dehydrator or the oven.
Start the simple syrup by pouring 4 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar into a large saucepan and set it to high heat. While it warms up, stir continuously until the sugar has dissolved completely.
Once it is at a rolling boil with a candy thermometer reading about 235F, add the pineapple into the pan and bring it back to a simmer.
Cover the pot and let it simmer for about an hour. You want the pineapple to start to look translucent. Stir occasionally, just enough to make sure the pineapple doesn’t stick to the sides or bottom of the pan.
After it’s done cooking, take the pineapple out and transfer it to a wire rack. Place either a pan or some paper towels underneath to catch the drippings. Remember, it’s simple syrup so it will be sticky and not very fun to scrub off of a countertop.
Let most of the syrup drip off of the pineapple, then move it to the dehydrator. Check the settings for your dehydrator since they all vary. I borrowed my father-in-law’s dehydrator which is probably older than me or close to it, so I’m sure the directions are very different for newer ones.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can dry the pineapple out in the oven. Keep it on the cooling rack, as long as it’s one that can go in the oven, and put a pan underneath to catch the drippings. You think it’s hard to clean off a counter? Imagine an oven! Set the oven to 200F and cook until it’s dry which will probably take a few hours.
When you have your dried out pineapple, sprinkle it with just a little more sugar, and it’s ready to serve! You can store this in an airtight container on the counter for up to a month. I’d be surprised if it lasts that long, mine only did because I was out of town for two weeks, but it was just as delicious when we got home!
I’m thinking about making another batch before our next road trip to have a snack while we drive. I also saved the syrup that the pineapple cooked in and it’s sealed in the refrigerator. I haven’t found a use yet, but want to try it in a drink or possibly a topping for ice cream or in a smoothie or maybe just to make my next batch of crystallized pineapple!
- 1 pineapple
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 cups water
- 2 tbsp sugar for garnish
- Cut and core the pineapple, leaving it in rings or cutting to bite-sized pieces
- In a medium saucepan, dissolve the sugar into the water
- Bring it to a boil until a candy thermometer reaches 235F
- Add the pineapple and bring it back up to a simmer
- Cover and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick
- Transfer the pineapple to a cooling rack with a pan or paper towel underneath to catch drippings
- Save the simple syrup from the pot for other recipes or to make another batch
- Put the pineapple in the dehydrator and set according to the instructions
- If you don't have a dehydrator, dry it in the oven at 200F on a wire rack with a pan underneath for about 6-8 hours
- Once it's done drying out, sprinkle with sugar
- Store in an airtight container for up to one month
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