Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Best Juice Ever: Pineapple and Mint (Abacaxí com hortelã)

I finally taught myself / learned how to make the famous Brazilian pineapple and mint juice. (Yes, Kristin, now  you can make the real thing, instead of just Clight!)

It's super easy to make; you just have to know a couple of techniques (the main ones being water and straining!).

(This is someone else's delicious-looking picture).

Okay, so here are my instructions (with pictures) on how to make pineapple and mint juice!

You will need:
1. 1 pineapple (Buy a fresh one, my American friends! Don't be scared! I'll tell you what to do)
2. Fresh mint
3. Ice
4. Cold water
5. Sugar
6. A blender
7. A strainer

Note: For my American friends who have never bought a fresh pineapple: The more yellow it is, the riper it is. The stronger its smell, the riper it is. So if you buy the pineapple the day you're gonna make the juice, then buy a yellow, strong-smelling one. Elena taught me that! :D


1. Cut the pineapple. Don't worry. It's not hard. There are some instructions here. However, I disagree with one part of these instructions: When you cut the sides of the pineapple, you lose a lot of pineapple if  you try to cut off all the "eyes" (little brown spots). So just cut off the actual hard skin-- it's ok to leave the little brown spots. We'll remedy that in a minute.

When I cut the pineapple, it looks like this:
Much lower quality picture. But you can see that I leave the little brown "eyes".

2.   After you cut off the skin of the pineapple, chop it up enough to get it into the blender.  Then add some water about halfway full:
These are the pineapple chunks in the blender with some water. The more water you put, the more water-y it is (obviously). The less water you put, the more it becomes like a smoothie and less like juice.

3. Blend the water and the pineapple. It's best to blend it on a lower setting to prevent the pineapple juice from getting too frothy (though it will get very frothy no matter what). 

4. Now, here's the technique to take out all the little brown bits: Run the juice through a strainer. I just put it into a big bowl, because it's gonna go right back into the blender:

When you do this, it's best to pour the juice into the strainer slowly. But either way, the juice really starts to froth up. So you have to pour the juice into the strainer little by little. Then use a spoon in the strainer to mix it a lot and try to save as much juice as you can. Each time you pour some juice, you'll have to scoop the leftover froth and seedy bits into the trash before you pour the next part. 

This is kind of tedious: if you're in a hurry and don't care about wasting a lot of your pineapple, just cut the pineapple the way the guy showed on the website.

5. After you've strained all the juice, you'll have a bowl filled of pineapple juice. Add this back to the blender. 

6. Wash and then add in the mint leaves. You can chop them up beforehand if you want, but the blender will also do it for you. I just add the whole leaves, but I make a point to break off the stems so it's just the actual leaf part. 

I add about 1-2 handfuls of mint per pineapple. It just depends on your preference. 

7. Add in the sugar. Again, the amount depends on your preference. I like a lot of sugar, so I add in about 3 heaping spoonfuls. Remember that you can always just add a little and then add more later if necessary. 

8. Add in the ice. Again, the more ice you add, the more watery it is. I add about 5 ice cubes for each pineapple. 

9. Now that everything's in the blender, blend it!! 

10. Before you take it out of the blender, test it with a spoon and see if you need more mint/sugar/water. 

11. Pour and serve!

Note that it is very frothy and it separates quickly. But if you just serve it with a bit mixing spoon, you and your family/guests can just mix it before they serve themselves!

I know this is a super popular recipe here in Brazil, so if anyone knows any tips, tricks, or variations, please share!!