Pineapple is the designation of a multiple fruit belonging to the Bromeliaceae family. Most common in tropical regions, it can be bought all over the world. Even though there are different varieties that could be seen as a different fruit, those differences are the same as seen in two different varieties of apples.
The pineapple is the best representation of tropical fruit production in the world, with great economic importance. They are commonly found in tropical climates such as Madeira island, which is known for their pineapple production.
The plant that gives origin to the pineapple is also called pineapple and it corresponds to an herbaceous perennial plant from the species Ananas comosus. From this species, several other varieties were created, some sweeter than others. However, it is still possible to find wild specimens in the world.
The pineapple plant is a small plant, that doesn’t grow far from the ground, reaching approximately a meter tall, around 39 inches. Its leaves are considered perennial because they don’t fall in Winter and are very robust, and with a waxy appearance. These individuals produce only one piece of fruit that grows precisely at the top centre of the plant. Other pieces of fruit are produced by the ramifications of the talus. The ramifications allow a plant to produce several pieces of fruit for years.
The inflorescence gives rise to complete flowers, one per each axis of the bract. The fruit is multiple, deriving from the gathering of all the flowers in the wooden stem. This gathering gives the fruit its round shape. On top of the fruit there is a crown of leaves. The skin that surrounds the fruit is created by the union of the bracts and the sepals of the flowers, giving it a scaly texture, and a greenish or brownish colour.
This fruit is only fertilized if the cross pollination occurs. In other words, the pollen must be produced by one individual and collected by another, which can be of the same specimen. When fertilization occurs, thousands of new seeds are produced. If cross pollination doesn’t happen, the egg cells will abort. This happens most frequently as seeds production is very rare.
This fruit is sweet and sour at the same time but when it is ripe the acidity declines. Its yellow pulp smells very pleasantly and fruity. Note that after being harvested, the fruit reaches its maturity in terms of ripening. This means the fruit won’t ripen further and it will just start to rotten.
The pineapple had its origin in the tropical regions of South America (Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina). It was cultivated a long time before the Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch explorers helped dispersing this fruit around the world.
The crown at the top of the pineapple has granted this fruit the title of king among other fruit. It is an expensive fruit, and curious enough, when it was found, people didn’t eat it, but used it for decoration. Soon enough it became a symbol of ostentation and wealth.
Nonetheless, people rapidly found other uses for the pineapple. It can be eaten raw, cooked, or even preserved with sugar or dried. It can also be used in jams and liqueurs. However, the pineapple doesn’t get along with cold. The natural fruit can’t be frozen because it contains substances that make the freezing difficult to happen. At the same time, the frozen fruit could lose some of its important properties, specially its singular flavour.
Highly recommended by nutritionists, the pineapple is very low in fat and cholesterol making it more attractive for the ones who worry about health and fitness. Its consumption makes bones stronger because it contains manganese, a mineral which helps fighting the flu, some infections and nausea. It can also contribute to the prevention of diseases such as osteoporosis.
However, we can’t go without saying that there are a few drawbacks related to the production of the pineapple. As the crops are frequently affected with diseases caused by bacteria or mould, producers often use a lot of pesticides to fight them. This happens specially during intensive production.
(2015). The 7 Best Pineapple Juice Benefits. Healthline Editorial Team. Consultado em: Outubro 31, 2015, em http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/pineapple-juice-benefits
(2015). The world healthiest foods: Pineapple. The George Mateljan Foundation. Consultado em: Outubro 31, 2015, em http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=34