Pineapple

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The pineapple is a fruit. It is native to South America, Central America and the Caribbean. The word "pineapple" came from European explorers, who thought the fruit looked similar to a pine cone.[1] The pineapple is also a tropical plant and it must not be kept under 10 degrees. It takes a long time for the pineapple to grow. It mainly depends on the location and the growing conditions it gets. If the temperature is warm, the pineapple will grow faster. On average, it takes about two to three years.[2] If the fruit travels by boat, the fruit must be picked before ripening, since the trip takes a long time. Sometimes, pineapple has to travel by boat to be accessible to all. It is different for air travel. The pineapple can be picked when it is grown, since travel time is short. In most countries, they call the pineapple ananas.

Benefits

Pineapple juice
Pineapple juice

Pineapple contains fiber and vitamin C. The stem of the pineapple contains an enzyme having healing effects, anti-inflammatory effects and it may reduce edema. The enzyme from the pineapple is also beneficial for a person who wants to go on a good diet. Pineapple contains a lot of manganese and the body needs manganese to build strong bones.[3] [4]

Varieties

In the world, there are a lot of varieties of pineapples. In fact, there are more than one hundred varieties and they grow in different sizes too. Four of those are the main varieties:

  • Sugarloaf pineapple: It usually grows in Mexico and Venezuela. The flesh is white and there is no woodiness.
  • English Pineapple: It is found in Central America's countries. The yellow of this pineapple is pale and it has the shape of a square.
  • Queen pineapple: It grows in the Hluhluwe region of South Africa. It is less sweet, the flesh is rich and yellow. The flavor of this variety is mild.
  • Smooth Cayenne pineapple: This variety comes from Hawaii. It contains high sugar and acid content. The leaves are spineless and they have a cylinder shape.[5]

Symbolism

Early Europeans commonly called any kind of fruit an apple, and that is why the Spanish thought pineapples looked like pine cones. Pineapples have nothing to do with pine cones and apples, but because of the similar shape between the pineapple and the pine cone, most people change it into symbolism. Both have been used for symbolizing fertility. The pineapple symbolized friendship and hospitality to the Caribs. These people usually hung pineapples outside their huts to show their welcome.[6]

Interesting facts about Pineapple

  • Are you aware that a ½ cup of fresh pineapple contains only 60 calories?
  • Are you aware that the name pineapple was derived from the word “pina” because Spanish explorers thought the fruit looked like a pinecone? (The English added the word “apple” to associate it with juicy luscious fruits.)
Plate of a pineapple from Descourtiz, 1877 One of a series of plates drawn by Jean-Théodore Descourtilz (1777-1835) and used in his son's 1821 book on the flora of the Antilles
Plate of a pineapple from Descourtiz, 1877 One of a series of plates drawn by Jean-Théodore Descourtilz (1777-1835) and used in his son's 1821 book on the flora of the Antilles
  • Are you aware that “halakahiki” (hah-lah-kah-hee-kee) is pineapple in Hawaiian?
  • Are you aware that Hawaii was the first to can pineapple?
  • Are you aware that the Caribbean Indians placed pineapples or pineapple crowns outside the entrances of their homes to symbolize friendship and hospitality?
  • Are you aware that just a ½ cup of pineapple contains approximately 25% of your daily recommended vitamin C? (Vitamin C is needed by the body to form collagen in bones, cartilage, muscle, and blood vessels, and aids in the absorption of iron.)
Pineapple
Pineapple
  • Are you aware that pineapple can be enjoyed in many ways? (Eat fresh, canned or dried pineapple and drink pineapple juice.)
  • Are you aware that there are four types of pineapples? (Gold, Smooth Cayenne, Red Spanish and Sugar Loaf; the Gold is the newest variety with an extra sweet flavor, golden color and higher vitamin C content.)
  • Are you aware that the average pineapple weighs 2 – 5 pounds?
  • Are you aware that a good way to distribute a pineapple’s sugar content, throughout the fruit, is to stand it upside down for a few days? (This allows the sugar to flow towards the top.)

References

  1. "How Long Does it Take to Grow a Full Sized Pineapple?", answers.yahoo.
  2. "7 Health Benefits of Eating Pineapples", 3fatchicks.
  3. "Pineapple Nutrition Facts", nutrition-and-you.
  4. "4 Different Varieties of Pineapples", doityourself.
  5. Nectar and Ambrosia: An Encyclopedia of Food in World Mythology, Tamra Andrews ABC-CLIO:Santa Barbara CA 2000 (p. 177,179)

Nutritional information on Pineapple

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NB:Carbohydrate, by difference(total carbs-fiber) is also called net carbs

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