By Lauren Griffin

The sweet and sour taste of pineapple makes a refreshing treat on its own. But this tropical fruit also pairs well with other foods. Because pineapple contains an enzyme that breaks down the proteins in meat, don't leave it in contact with any type of meat for too long or you'll turn your meat to mush.

Fresh tropical fruits
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Halved pineapple

Getting Fruity

The tangy and sweet taste of pineapples goes well with other fruits. Add chunks of pineapple along with pieces watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes, strawberries and other fruits to create a tropical fruit salad. For a fun twist on a fruit salad, make fruit kebabs by sliding chunks of pineapple and other fruit onto wooden skewers to serve alone or with chocolate sauce, whipped cream or plain yogurt. Fruit smoothies of blended pineapple, strawberries, bananas and other tropical fruits make a refreshing treat on a hot day.

Pair It With Meat

Pineapple pairs well with many types of meat. One classic combination is ham and pineapple. Grilled ham steak seasoned with a zesty Dijon mustard sauce benefits from the sweetness of grilled pineapple slices. Hawaiian pizza, topped with pieces of Canadian ham and chunks of pineapple, provides bites of sweet, acid, salt and savory. Other tasty meat-pineapple combinations include smoked chicken sausage with pineapple and kebabs made of chicken, pineapple and bell peppers.

Serving a Purpose

To top meats or seafood, whip up a delicious pineapple salsa. A mixture of chopped pineapple, red bell pepper, tomato and jalapeno that's been simmered and cooled makes a refreshing topping for seafood or chicken. A pineapple glaze can also add some zip to a chicken or pork dish.

Sweeten Up

Classic pineapple upside-down cake pairs moist golden cake with pineapple. Pairing pineapple rings with maple syrup, brown sugar and butter gives this cake great depth of flavor. For a lighter dessert, mix pineapple and coconut together to create a refreshing pineapple-coconut sorbet. The two flavors, featured in pina coladas, go well together.