pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a tropical plant and its fruit, native to Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. The plant is a bromeliad
(family Bromeliaceae), a short,
herbaceous perennial with 30 or more long,
spined and pointed leaves surrounding a thick stem. The fruit was named "pineapple"
because of its resemblance to a pine cone. The native Tupi
word for the fruit was anana, meaning "excellent fruit." Hummingbirds are its natural
pineapple is an old symbol of hospitality and can often be seen in carved decorations.
pineapple fruit develops from many smaller berries fusing together (called a multiple-accessory
fleshy fruit). It is large and ovoid with a tough, spikey, waxy shell of many
hexagonal sections, containing large amounts of white or yellow flesh with a tough,
fibrous core. Depending on variety, the fruit can be up to 30 cm long and weigh
more than 4 kg.
is commonly used in desserts and other types of fruit
dishes, or served on its own. Fresh pineapple is often somewhat expensive as the
tropical fruit is delicate and difficult to ship. It will not ripen once harvested,
so must be harvested ripe and brought to the consumer without delay. Therefore,
pineapple is most widely available canned.
of a ripe pineapple include:
that is firm but yielding;
that can be readily removed with a sharp tug;
odor of pineapple at the bottom of the fruit.
contains a proteolytic enzyme bromelain, which digests food.
Pineapple juice can be used as a marinade for meat. The enzymes in pineapples
can interfere with some food preparation, such as jelly. Some have claimed that
pineapple has benefits for some intestinal disorders while others claim that it
helps to induce childbirth when a baby is overdue.
pineapple spread from its original area through cultivation, and by the time of
it grew throughout South and Central America and the West Indies.
Columbus may have taken a sample back to Europe. The Spanish introduced it into
the Philippines, Hawai'i (introduced in
the early 19th century, first commercial plantation 1886) and Guam. The fruit was successfully
cultivated in European hothouses beginning in 1720.
cultivated varieties include Red Spanish, Hilo, Smooth Cayenne, St. Michael, Kona
Sugarloaf, Natal Queen, and Pernambuco. The flesh is very tart, except for varieties
such as the Del Monte Gold which are bred for sweetness.
Asia dominates world production: in 2001 Thailand produced 1.979 million
tonnes, the Philippines 1.618 million tonnes and Brazil 1.43 million tonnes. Total
world production in 2001 was 14.220 million tonnes. The primary exproters of fresh
pineapples in 2001 were Costa Rica, 322 000 tonnes,
d'Ivoire, 188 000 tonnes and the Phillipines, 135 000 tonnes.
commercial farming flowering can be artificially induced, and the early harvesting
of the main fruit can encourage the development of a second crop of smaller fruits.
Fact: Every pineapple has the exact same amount of hexagonal sections on it, no
matter the size or shape.