Pineapple is a small fruit
The pineapple, also known as the "queen of fruits", belongs to the bromile family (Bromiliaceae) and is one of the few species of this family of plants that grows on the ground while most members of this family grow on other plants. The pineapple has a short, club-shaped trunk that becomes thicker towards the top and forms a wreath of leaves consisting of several levels, which direct the rainwater into the middle. From the vegetation cone, an inflorescence stalk about 30 cm long develops with about 100 blue, violet or pink colored flowers from which the fruits develop in turn.
The fruits consist of the thickened, fleshy flower axis and the berries that are now fused together, each of which is formed by a flower, the tips of which are still recognizable as scales. The barrel-like berry false fruit is 15-20 cm long and 12-15 cm thick, can weigh up to 5 kg and has a rump made of small leaves at its tip - the so-called crown. The fruit has a light brown to orange, rough and flaky surface, including a yellowish or reddish and very juicy pulp and the woody middle stalk inside.
Origin and history
The pineapple, which probably originally came from the area of today's Paraguay, was cultivated by the Indians of South and Central America long before the discovery of America and used as food, medicine, wine production or - in the Caribbean - as raw fiber. The Portuguese called the delicious fruit ananás, probably derived from the Indonesian name nanas, while the Spanish called it piña because of its similarity to pine cones, from which the English pineapple is derived.
While Portuguese sailors spread the newly discovered fruits a few decades later to Africa (Madagascar) and India, in Europe - because of the poor transportability of the fruits - one had to be content with descriptions for another 150 years. It was not until 1650 that the first European pineapples were harvested in greenhouses and were an extravagant fruit on the tables of the French court. In the 18th century it also found its way into the homes of wealthy citizens and retained its nimbus of exclusivity until the middle of the 20th century.
The fruit also came to Hawaii very late; it did not reach the islands until 1886 via Australia. This was also the beginning of their industrial processing - canned pineapples began a veritable triumphant advance around the world, most of which had to do without fresh fruit at that time due to limited transport options.
Origin and availability
Pineapples are offered in constant quantities all year round. The most important suppliers for us are the Central American countries Costa Rica and Honduras, the Dominican Republic and, on the African continent, the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Kenya.
Pineapples can only fully ripen on the plant itself, they do not ripen after the harvest! In the trade, the so-called "flying pineapples", which could really mature on the plants, are therefore listed as a separate quality standard.
Pineapples are usually packed in cardboard boxes, while flying pineapples are also packed in telescopic cardboard boxes of 5 - 9 pieces. Central American pineapples are mostly under the trademark Del Monte offered.
100 g pineapples have a calorific value of 200 kJoules and contain around 85 g water, 0.4 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 12.4 g carbohydrates and 1.2 g fiber. In terms of minerals and vitamins, it contains around 7 mg calcium, 0.4 mg iron, 1 mg sodium, 2.3 mg vitamin A (RE) and 15.4 mg vitamin C.
Fresh pineapples contain a mixture of three protein-splitting enzymes, namely bromelain, pineapple and etranase, and can therefore play an important role in protein utilization in the body. Bromelain seems to be a “superenzyme” in general: it inhibits blood clotting, improves blood circulation and thus works against arteriosclerosis. A cotton ball soaked in pineapple juice can also use bromelain to lighten or even remove age spots. Pineapples are good for firm skin and firm connective tissue and have a preventive effect against premature wrinkling. In cosmetics, pineapple juice is used against cellulite. However, this really only applies to fresh fruit, as these enzymes are destroyed when canned pineapples are preserved.
Species and varieties
Although there are a large number of local varieties in the growing countries, only about three varieties (groups) have established themselves in the trade: Cayenne is the economically most important group with very large fruits with light yellow, aromatic pulp and the highest sugar and acid content, which has also made it the main variety for the canning industry. Queen are slightly smaller, have a golden yellow to deep yellow pulp and taste very aromatic and sweet. Spanish are medium-sized and thick, have a pale yellow, very fibrous flesh and a pleasantly sour aroma.
Preparation and tips
Most pineapples are eaten fresh. To do this, cut off the crown and the stem base, divide the fruit into slices or wedges and then remove the skin and the woody stalk. In the kitchen, pineapples are often served with sweet and sour dishes such as duck or pork, but they also go very well with salads with chicken or prawns. In addition, the action of the protein-splitting bromelain is used to tenderize meat, to prevent gelatine from setting, to curdle milk or to soften fruit in fruit salads.
The peels, especially of the lighter varieties, have brown, sunken spots every now and then. However, these are only superficial and have no effect on the taste of the pulp. These are so-called "dehydration spots" that arise when the water remains on the scaly shell after a tropical downpour and the sun evaporates it, causing a small burn due to the lens effect of the water droplet.
facts and figures
Pineapple production and the most important growing countries (source: FAO, quantities in 1,000 kg)
|Total global production||10.830.909||11.291.972||13.448.930|
Pineapple in the EU (source: FAO, year 1999, quantities in 1,000 kg)
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