1/26/2013

Where do pineapples come from?

The pineapple is most commonly noted for its likeness to a pine cone.  The tropical plant is indigenous to South America and is well known for its juiciness and sweet flavor.     The tropical fruit is indigenous to the Amazon basin (notably, Brazil and Paraguay) where it was originally domesticated and subsequently made its way around the world.  

Correspondingly, major pineapple producing countries include Brazil, Thailand, The Philippines, Costa Rica and China; the five countries accounting for approximately 50-60% of the world’s total pineapple production. During the past forty-to-fifty years, pineapple production has surged to meet growling demand.  

Pineapple represents the world’s most significant fruit trade.  Much of the product is often packed and shipped in canned or juiced form.   Primary importers of pineapples include the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy (the first three also represent large re-exporters).    The United States also stands as the world’s largest consumer of pineapple with domestic production being sourced from Hawaii.    Although processed pineapple represents a significant source of international trade; however, shipments of fresh fruit has steadily grown over time.     

Commercial production types of pineapple are generally referred to as “clones” because they are propagated through vegetative means through the use of a “slip” – an undeveloped fruit with a large crown.   The majority of production utilizes the Cayenne or Smooth Cayenne strains.  Flowering occurs naturally as specific times of year – primarily as the days become cooler and shorter.  However, in commercial production it can be induced throughout the year by artificial means to allow for better scheduling and ensure more readily-available supply of fresh product throughout the year.   Pineapples ripen on the tree and stop ripening once they are removed from the tree; there is no means to store and /or induce further ripening one picked.    Sweetness of a pineapple can be determined by the number of scales – the more scales the better!

Pineapple is well known for its dense nutrient value.   It is particularly noted for its Manganese content.    The fruit is also renowned for containing Bromelain – a proteolytic enzyme and thus aids in the digestive process.   

Did you know?  
Columbus is primarily responsible for introducing pineapples to the modern world.   During his travels he and his crew discovered the fruit during their travels to the Caribbean and subsequently took them back to Europe where they became very popular, especially important to serve as the “crown” of large feasts and banquets.  

So now you know….

**Source: Nevil Speer