Pineapples most likely originated in the area of Southern Brazil and Paraguay. From this area they spread throughout Northern South America, Central America, Southern Mexico, and into the Caribbean.
Spanish, English, and Dutch explorers and merchants spread the pineapple into Africa, the Philippines, Europe, and India.
How much does a pineapple weigh?
|Slice||4-2/3″ Dia 3/4″ Thick||175g||6.2oz|
|Pineapple. Extra Sweet|
|Slice||4-2/3″ Dia 3/4″ Thick||166g||5.9oz|
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What You Need to Know about the Pineapple
The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a tropical fruit that belongs to the family Bromeliaceae. Do you know that throughout its history, the pineapple is revered for its symbolism? In early America, it was often gifted as a token of friendship, while in Europe, it was considered a symbol of affluence. Continue reading this article to learn about the luxurious history of the pineapple and its popular uses today.
The pineapple originated in South America, somewhere between South Brazil and Paraguay. It made its way to the Carribean island of Guadeloupe where the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus discovered the fruit in 1493. Columbus and his crew members took the pineapple to Spain where it was loved for its sweet and exotic flavor.
The Spaniards attempted to grow pineapples in their homeland but the fruit is picky when it comes to climate. The Europeans were then only able to eat the pineapple imported from across the Atlantic Ocean. In the mid-17th century, the Europeans devised a method to grow pineapples by creating hothouses that mimic warm temperatures. Because of its low supply and high demand, only the affluent Europeans were able to afford this fruit, making it a symbol of luxury during those times.
In the 1700s, the pineapple was also revered in many American colonies because of its cost. Pineapples arriving from the Carribean islands were sold at a very expensive price because of their novelty and scarcity that only the rich colonizers were able to display them as centrepiece during lavish dinner parties. However, they were only for displaying purposes and were not eaten until they begin to rot.
In the 1900, an industrialist named James Dole (a.ka. King of Pineapples) opened a plantation in Hawaii to sell and distribute the fruit as an accessible food for the masses and not only the rich. His company, Hawaiian Pineapple Company, was later renamed Dole Food Company, which became the largest producer of pineapples for several decades.
Where the Pineapple is Grown
The pineapple grows in countries with tropical climate, although advancement in technology and agriculture has allowed countries with other climates to develop this fruit. The pineapple likes a mild temperature at night and warm temperature during the day. It takes about one to two years for its fruit to ripen.
In 2017, the top three largest producers of pineapples are Costa Rica, the Philippines, and Brazil.
The pineapple is loaded with nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin K, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, and magnesium. A cup of pineapple chunks can contain:
- Calories: 82.5
- Fat: 1.7 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 21.6 grams
- Fiber: 2.3 grams
- Vitamin C: 131% of the RDI
- Manganese: 76% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDI
- Copper: 9% of the RDI
- Thiamin: 9% of the RDI
- Folate: 7% of the RDI
- Potassium: 5% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 5% of the RDI
- Niacin: 4% of the RDI
- Pantothenic acid: 4% of the RDI
- Riboflavin: 3% of the RDI
- Iron: 3% of the RDI
There are dozens of varieties of the pineapple. Below are ten of these varieties.
- Abacaxi Pineapple. Abacaxi pineapple is known to be the most delicious variety and is popularly grown because of its delicious taste and disease-resistance abilities. Among the Abacaxi varieties are Sugarloaf, Montufar, Antigua Black, and White Kauai.
- Queen Pineapple. Also known as Common Rough, this variety is mostly found in Australia and South Africa. It is dark-yellow in color and has a pleasant aroma and taste. They are best eaten fresh or served as a table fruit. Some popular varieties of the Queen pineapple are MacGregor, Natal Queen, and Ripley.
- Red Spanish Pineapple. Commonly grown in Caribbean countries like Mexico and Puerto Rico, this orange-red variety is sturdy and fibrous with an aromatic taste. This family of pineapple includes Valera and Monte Oscuro.
- Smooth Cayenne Pineapple. This is the main type of pineapple in Hawaii than can be found in many food stores in the United States. It is bigger than other varieties and is high in acidity and sugar content. Some of its popular types are Giant Kew, St. Michael, and Hilo.
- Pernambuco Pineapple. The Pernambuco pineapple is mostly cultivated in the north east of Brazil. It has long and spiny leaves and its fruits are white and juicy with mild flavor.
- Mordilona Pineapple. Grown In the northeastern Andes of Colombia and Venezuela, this large, irregularly-shaped variety is cream-colored and has a sweet flavor.
- Kona Sugarloaf. This cultivar of the Smooth Cayenne pineapple has a white flesh, high sugar content, and no acidity.
- Brecheche. The Brecheche pineapple is small and olive-colored. It has no spikes unlike other varieties. It is commonly grown in Southern Venezuela.
- Singapore Red. This variety features green leaves and reddish, cylindrical fruits. It is disease-resistant and good for canning.
- Panare. Named after an Indian tribe in Venezuela, this variety is shaped like a bottle and is orange in color.
Aside from its delicious and exotic flavor, the pineapple is famous for its medicinal uses.
- Fighting Diseases. The pineapple is rich in antioxidants known as flavonoids and phenolic acids that help your body fight many free radicals.
- Helping in Digestion. The pineapple contains bromelain, a group of enzymes that help in digestion by breaking down protein molecules into amino acids and small peptides.
- Reducing Risk of Cancer. The several compounds found in the pineapple are known to reduce the risk of cancer by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Boosting the Immune System. The pineapple contains a wide array of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that help boost your immunity.
- Easing Symptoms of Arthritis. The bromelain enzyme found in the pineapple is also known to have anti-inflammatory effects against rheumatoid arthritis caused by inflammation of the joints.
- Speeding Up Recovery. After going through surgery, eating pineapples can reduce the recovery time of a patient due to the anti-inflammatory effects of bromelain.
- Supplementing Diet. Due to its sweet flavor and easy preparation, the pineapple can be easily incorporated into your diet whether as a smoothie, salad, or as a pizza topping.