Cooking is both science and art, so I’m not surprised by any ingredients combination I see anymore. The pineapple and ham duo is a true homage to Hawaiian culture, as it became iconic and globally known for this unusual fusion. This meld of tastes embraces everything – sweet, savory, and tropical relishes you can’t stay immune on. You’ll probably get kicked out from an Italian restaurant if you ask for pineapple on pizza, but some dishes just call for pineapple on top! Here are all the reasons why people put pineapple on ham!
The sugary relish of pineapple will blend perfectly with salty ham and balance the meal impeccably. This fruit does an amazing job tenderizing the meat and keeping it succulent, and adding a new texture. Not to mention the additional freshness pineapple will give to your regular dishes!
I adore the fact you can travel anywhere while never leaving the kitchen! This is one of those combinations that just screams “tropical paradise,” and that’s the reason why it is one of my favs. So, here’s a list of facts to convince you to try it out, as well!
Balances and Enhances Flavors
Tropically sweet pineapple on top of slightly salty ham creates a perfectly balanced bite. Ham has a smoky relish, so it pairs with the fresh and tart taste of fruit. It creates a great base with its bright flavor and tanginess, plus it neutralizes and soothes the savory relish of ham.
One of my favorite combos is definitely roasted ham and pineapple. It’s a trendy way to prepare the roast, no doubt; just top it with pineapple rings. They, of course, have a natural sweetness to them that caramelizes during cooking, giving the meat a sugary glaze.
Pineapple has a prominent acidic component that will skyrocket the taste of the meat. The acidity pierces right through the richness of the ham and balances the final taste by giving it a touch of tropical flare. Furthermore, the vibrant, juicy fruit adds a refreshing component to each bite.
Even if you’re incorporating pineapple in your ham-based dish as a topping, glaze, marinade, or side – one thing is for sure – it will do a fantastic job as a flavor enhancer. It will add a last piece of the puzzle that complements the savory taste of ham and simply elevates the meal on a different level.
Pineapple Adds Texture
Like any other meat, ham is a bit chewy and dense – it has a fleshy texture. This makes it pairs perfectly with fresh, juicy, and soft pineapple slices. Feeling more textures when biting makes flavors pop, and it wakes up all your taste buds.
Ripe, fruity juices dripping onto rich-flavored ham create a whole new dimension, especially traces of crunch of fresh pineapple. This is mostly in sandwiches or appetizers prepared with paper-thin-sliced smoky ham. When it comes to roast, it is scrumptious with pineapple on top before baking, so here you’ll have crusty skin and a pulpy pineapple duo after.
Pineapple Keeps Ham Succulent and Tender
Everyone knows ham tends to dry out when roasting, so topping it with pineapple is a top-notch trick to save the day. Pineapple is incredibly juicy, so cooking in its liquid will make your ham extra tender and succulent. That’s all because the fruit contains a special enzyme, bromelain, which has an influence on the proteins in meat.
It actually breaks down those proteins making the ham able to absorb more water. What’s more, the enzyme softens the muscle fiber, so the ham has that melt-in-mouth texture everyone loves. I think these are more than enough reasons to add it to your recipe next time!
Cuts Down Marinating Time
The pineapple-based marinade is not only amazingly delicious but also cuts the marinating time because of its protein chain-breaking ability. I never keep the meat in pineapple juices longer than 6 hours, as the outer layer starts to fall apart. That’s an obvious example of enzymes doing their magic!
Helps With Digestion
Once again, bromelain has an important role here, as well. Being the enzyme that breaks down proteins, it’s no wonder that has an influence on overall digestion, too. Pineapple helps the meat absorb its nutrients better and digest it easier and faster. 
There is one more thing to add – pineapple is abundant in fiber which also improves digestion. This stands for fresh fruit only, not juice because the fibers tear up when blended or juiced. This is a flavorful way to take out the best from ham or any other “heavier” food.
It Adds Nutrients
Pineapple will boost the nutritional values of classic ham lunch – whether it is a simple roast, burger, sandwich, or salad. It abounds in fiber, vitamin C and B6, but also in minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium, and many, many more. This means it has an influence on immune health and metabolism, plus has antioxidant effects. 
Fresh, canned, cooked, or juiced – pineapple will always have a fair share of nutrients to offer. Still, it’s important to note that fresh variety saves the most vitamins and minerals, so opt for it whenever you have a chance.
Adds a Tropical Twist
Golden, glossy, and crispy ham looks, undoubtedly, delicious on the table, but if you want a show-stopping moment, you need a unique touch. Baking the ham with pineapple rings on top and serving it like that will definitely catch some eyes. I love to see the contrast between vibrant yellow fruit and golden shades of meat crust.
This duo can be a part of numerous dishes, from pizza to kabob. One of the best ways to prepare the ham steak is by marinating it in pineapple and serving it with caramelized chunks to add even more flavor. If you fancy risottos, I highly recommend you try it with pineapple and ham cubes, plus it creates a superior base to add more veggies.
You can swap the rice with pasta, and you’ll have a scrumptious salad or bake ham and pineapple like ratatouille in a pan! You have a load of recipes to choose from, so my only advice is to start simple without adding too many ingredients and different flavors.
What’s your verdict on this combo — is it a yes or a no? Excited to hear your take in the comments below!