Pineapple is the common name for an edible tropical plant and also its fruit (although technically multiple fruit merged together, and perceived as one). Pineapple is eaten fresh or canned and is available as a juice or in juice combinations. It is used in desserts, salads, as a complement to meat dishes and in fruit cocktail. While sweet, it is known for its high acid content (perhaps malic and/or citric). Pineapples are the only bromeliad fruit in widespread cultivation. It is one of the most commercially important plants. Pineapple are native to the Paraguay-Brazil border area. The name is derived from the pine cone look of the fruit.

The natives of southern Brazil and Paraguay spread the pineapple throughout South America, and it eventually reached the Caribbean. Columbus discovered it in the Indies and brought it back with him to Europe. The Spanish introduced it into the Philippines, Hawaii and Guam. The pineapple was introduced to Hawaii in 1813; exports of canned pineapples began in 1892. Large scale pineapple cultivation by U.S. companies began in the early 1900s in Hawaii. Among the most famous and influential pineapple industrialists was James Dole, who started a pineapple plantation in Hawaii in the year 1900, which continues to this day.

Pineapples like to grow in loose reddish soil. They are easy to grow by planting the top crown or secondary crowns that sprout at the base. Hummingbirds are the main pollinator of pineapples, so planting pineapples is good for hummingbirds.

Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which breaks down protein so it is a good tenderizer of meats and since its sweetness goes well with white meats it is a good ingredient in marinades for pork or poultry.


LOCAL NAMES: Piña, Ananas, Abacaxi (Brazil)

PRODUCTS: Canned pineapple, Pineapple marmalade, Dry pineapple rings

NUTRIENTS: Pineapple is a good source of manganese, as well as Vitamin C and Vitamin B1; it is also a good source of dietary fiber. The following link will give you detailed nutrition information:  Pineapple Nutrients

PROCESSING: Processing Pineapple is about cutting the skin off and the heart out. The following link is the best I have seen: Processing Pineapples

STORING: Pineapple can stay green at room temperature for many days and then suddenly ripen in 24 hours so you better watch your pineapples when storing it at room temperature.

PINEAPPLE RICE DRINK: This is the very popular in Panama CHICHA DE ARROZ CON PIÑA, every Panamanian mother makes it at home with leftovers from pineapple and a little rice. Take 1 cup of rice, 6 cups of water, the skin and heart of a pineapple and boil everything until the rice is very soft, about 40 minutes. Let the mixture cool completely and process in batches through a blender to liquefy, strain each batch and get as much liquid as possible into a bowl, discard the dry solids. Once all the mixture has been blended and strained, add 1 can of sweetened condensed milk to the liquid and mix well, add a few drops of vanilla extract, taste sweetness and add extra sugar if necessary. Serve chilled with ice cubes, kids love this drink and is good for them.

HAWAIIAN MEATBALLS: process 1 small pineapple, discarding skin and heart, cut pineapple into chunks. Take 1/2 cup of pineapple chunks and liquefy with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (raspadura, panela) to obtain a thick juice, in a bowl mix juice with 1 red pepper finely chopped, 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger, 0.5 Kg (1 Lb) of ground pork, 1/2 cup of finely chopped green onions, 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, knead well, wet yours hands and make bite size meatballs. Place meatballs in a baking pan, spray generously with Teriyaki sauce and bake 30 minutes at 400F. To serve pierce one meatball and a pineapple chunk with a toothpick.

PINEAPPLE CHICKEN WINGS: Process 1 pineapple into chunks, discarding skin and heart. In a bowl spray pineapple chunks with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar (raspadura, panela), mix with 1 cup of BBQ sauce and add 1.25 Kg (2.5 Lb) of split chicken wings tips removed, if you want extra heat add some hot sauce, toss well to coat and bake at 400F for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

PINEAPPLE FLAN: one of the most exquisite desserts in Latin America. Prepare caramel coating by cooking in a pan 1 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup of water until golden, carefully pour into a mold and move it to coat bottom and sides, let caramel coating cool completely. Take 2 ripe pineapples, process them discarding the skin but keeping the heart, cut pineapples in chunks and liquefy in batches through a blender add a little water to facilitate, strain to get as much liquid as possible and discard fibers, you should get about 1 liter (4 cups) of filtered pineapple juice, add 1 cup of white sugar and cook in a pan to reduce volume by half, you should get about 2 1/2 cups of pineapple syrup, let cool completely and blend thoroughly with 8 eggs and 1 teaspoon of corn starch, pour this mixture into the caramelized mold; cook covered in Bain Marie in 400F oven or stove top, until flan sets (an inserted knife comes out clean), about 2 hours. Let cool completely before taking out of the mold. For visual effect you may use some thin slices of pineapple without the heart to place at bottom of your mold while caramel is still hot, when you take out your flan from the mold by inverting it on a platter the slices will show on top.

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