Why Southerners Serve Pineapple Casserole At Christmas

Why Southerners Serve Pineapple Casserole At Christmas

Why Southerners Serve Pineapple Casserole At Christmas-url

Easter dinner wouldn't be complete without this nostalgic Southern dish on the table. Made with chunks of pineapple, crushed Ritz crackers, shredded Cheddar, Pineapple Casserole is a rich casserole with an unlikely flavor combination.

Serving pineapple casserole on a Southern holiday is not an unlikely tradition. Southerners make all sorts of sweet oddities like congealed cranberry molds and citrusy ambrosia salads. Nevertheless, some have come to the opinion that pineapple casserole should be reserved only for Easter to go with baked ham and decorated eggs. However, there's a reason that interest and internet searches around classic pineapple casserole recipes seriously spike right around the holiday season: Southerners are secretly making it for Christmas, too.


Christmas Pineapple Casserole

Many people sadly keep their inclusion of pineapple casserole on their holiday menus a secret, be it out of shame or fear of embarrassment. Still, it's become quite the regular on Thanksgiving and Christmas tables. We suspect the resistance might come from what might seem like an embracing of old flavors that stem from canned fruit. Don't be put off by this. A Christmas pineapple casserole is delicious and has broad appeal, and you will find your family and friends taken by the flavor. The question of whether or not you should whip up a batch of mai tais to accompany this unusual side is up to you.

Fresh Pineapple Not Required

So, you may ask yourself, "What is the appeal of pineapple casserole?" Firstly, it's delicious. (If you've never tried it, read this.) The combination of sweet pineapple, Cheddar cheese, and buttery crackers forms a perfectly balanced bite. Secondly, there is never a need to worry about what's in season. Classic pineapple casserole calls for canned fruit, of course. Also, all ingredients can be on hand for any last-minute dessert needs. Lastly, it adds the right sweetness to offset the insanely rich, savory, salty dishes that make up a Southern feast. Many even scoop up a bite alongside the turkey, ham, or beef. You've never known such culinary heaven.

Pineapple's Place In Home Cooking

Pineapple earned a place in the kitchen when the canning of this sweet-tart fruit became a practice. The pineapple industry was changed in 1901 when James Drummond Dole established the Hawaiian Pineapple Company and started growing pineapples in Wahiawa, Oahu. He did so with the intention of canning the pineapple, but had no knowledge of how to can fruit.

Between the 1910s and 1920s, Dole saw his dream realized when canned pineapple became a culinary fad on the mainland of the United States. Pineapple recipes were developed for magazines, books, and newspapers due to popular demand. At this time, the upside-down cake realized its potential. By 1923, Dole became the largest pineapple packer in the world. This introduction to canned pineapple took hold, and certain parts of the U.S. are still compelled to use pineapple in cooking.

Shed Your Pineapple Inhibitions

If you've been scared to slide that baking dish onto the sideboard – despite being your favorite holiday side dish – now's the time to forget your shame and own the truth that this is a delicious dish for any time of the year. This has so much to do with the sweet and savory combination that presents itself to your palate. You might think pineapple should be reserved for that quintessential pineapple upside-down cake or other fruity and sweet dessert. That is not so with a pineapple casserole. This side dish is beloved for a reason. You might need to problem-solve your main dish, however, as the possibility to feature even more pineapple could be at hand should you choose the right ham recipe.


This article was written by Kaitlyn Yarborough from Southern Living and was legally licensed through the DiveMarketplace by Industry Dive. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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