(Ananas comosus) is the common name for an edible tropical plant and also its fruit. It
is native to the southern part of Brazil, and Paraguay, but is also
grown in the southern part of the United
the islands off the southeastern coast, and in Hawaii. Pinaples vary in
according to the age of the plants.
The pineapple is a herbaceous perennial plant
which grows to 1.0 to 1.5 metres (3.3 to 4.9 ft) tall with 30 or
trough-shaped and pointed leaves 30 to 100 centimetres (1.0 to
long, surrounding a thick stem. It requires from 18 to 20 months
the fruit to develop, and most of the plants yield only four or five
crops. Since about
2000, the most common fresh pineapple fruit found in U.S.
and European supermarkets is a low-acid hybrid that was developed in
Hawaii in the early 1970s.
have a great deal of flavor, and for
this reason they are very valuable in the making of desserts,
marmalades, and beverages of various kinds. It is said that the
combination of pineapple and lemon will flavor a greater amount of food
than any other fruit combined. Another characteristic of pineapples is
that they are a good source of manganese (91 %DV in a 1 cup
contain significant amounts of Vitamin C (94 %DV in a 1 cup
and Vitamin B1 (8 %DV in a 1 cup
also contains a proteolytic enzyme bromelain, which breaks down protein
considerably in the digestion of
juice can thus be used as a marinade and tenderizer for meat. The
enzymes in raw pineapples can interfere with the preparation of some
foods, such as jelly or other gelatin-based desserts. Its effect upon protein material
readily be observed by attempting to use raw pineapple in the making of
a gelatine dessert. If the raw pineapple is put in gelatine, the
not solidify; but if the pineapple is heated sufficiently to destroy
this enzyme, it has no effect whatsoever upon the gelatine. The bromelain breaks down in
cooking or the canning process, thus canned pineapple can generally be
used with gelatin.
pineapples are to be
should be exercised to see that they are ripe. The most certain way of
determining this fact is to pull out the center leaves of each
that is chosen. Grasp the pineapple with one hand
and then with the other pull out, one at a time, several of the center
leaves of the tuft at the top. If the fruit is ripe a sharp jerk will
usually remove each leaf readily, but the harder the leaves pull, the
greener the pineapple is.
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overripe pineapple is just as unsatisfactory as one that is not
enough. When a pineapple becomes too ripe, rotten spots begin to
around the base. Such spots can be easily detected by the discoloration
of the skin and such a pineapple should not be selected.
The natural (or most common) pollinator of the pineapple is the
Pollination is required for seed formation; the presence of seeds
negatively affects the quality of the fruit. In Hawaii, where pineapple
is cultivated on an agricultural scale, importation of hummingbirds is
prohibited for this reason.
In commercial farming, pineapple flowering can be induced artificially,
early harvesting of the main fruit can encourage the development
second crop of smaller fruits. Once removed during cleaning, the top of
the pineapple can be planted in soil and a new fruit-bearing plant will
grow in a manner similar to that of a potato or onion, which will
sprout from a cutting. Crowns are the primary method of propagation for
home gardeners, though slips and suckers are preferred.
While sweet, pineapple is known for its
high acid content (perhaps malic and/or citric). Pineapples are also
the only bromeliad fruit in
widespread cultivation. It is one of the most commercially important
plants which carry out CAM photosynthesis.
Consumers of pineapple have
claimed that pineapple has benefits for
some intestinal disorders and others believe it serves as a pain
reliever; others claim that it helps to induce childbirth when a baby
The pineapple root and fruit are either eaten or applied topically as an anti-inflammatory and as a proteolytic agent. It is also
traditionally used as an antihelminthic
agent in the Philippines.