It’s Food Fact Friday. On this day, I reveal an interesting food fact. This week, we’re examining the curious case of pineapples which are neither a pine or an apple so how did they get their name and what are they all about?
While visiting Monterey and staring off into the distance in search of otters, I began to wonder about the last meal I ate. It was lunch at The Fish Hopper and it was served with fresh fruit primarily pineapple. My quest for otters was immediately taken over by my thoughts of the pineapple. This succulent fruit bears an interesting name yet it doesn’t come from a pine tree or taste like apple so why the name?
The word “pineapple” originated in 1398 to describe a fruit that resembled a pine cone. That solves the mystery of “pine” in “pineapple.” The single use of the word started in 1694 to describe the pineapple as a fruit vs a pine cone. Why they picked apple is still a mystery.
The pineapple originates from Brazil and Paraguay. Christopher Columbus is created for finding them on the island of Guadalupe and taking them to Spain. They became popular amongst sailors as protection against scurvy due to their high Vitamin C content. The anti-inflammatory Bromlein found in pineapples is also known to aid in digestion and reduce the risk of blood clots in the body.
From Spain, the pineapple arrived in Hawaii which is now considered a top producer of the fruit thanks to James Dole a.k.a. “The Pineapple King” who started a plantation in the 1900’s and opened his first cannery in 1901.
Pineapple Fun Facts:
- Pineapples take 18 months to grow
- One cup of pineapple has about 33% of the RDA of Vitamin C and 135 calories
- The most popular pineapple sold in the United States is the Smooth Cayenne. The other three varieties sold in the United States are the Red Spanish, the Sugar Loaf, and the Golden Supreme
- Unripe pineapples can be poisonous and cause a serious throat infection and/or a laxative effect
- Traditionally pineapple juice was used as a diuretic and to induce labor
- Choose pineapples that are golden and aromatic. Check the bottoms for mold spots and decay
- Before eating a pineapple, cut off the crown a few hours in advance and place it upside down in the fridge (on a plate). The sweetness of the fruit, which is at the bottom, will be distributed evenly throughout the fruit when turned over
- The Bromlein can also be used to tenderize meat
Although this fruit bears an interesting name, the benefits and the unique sweetness of this fruit are not to be missed.