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Pineapple - Ananas comosus

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Scientific classification

Kingdom:Plantae

(unranked):Angiosperms

(unranked):Monocots

(unranked):Commelinids

Order:Poales

Family:Bromeliaceae

Subfamily:Bromelioideae

Genus:Ananas

Species:A. comosus

Binomial name

Ananas comosus

(L.) Merr.

The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a tropical plant with edible multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries, also called pineapples, and the most economically significant plant in the Bromeliaceae family.

Pineapples may be cultivated from a crown cutting of the fruit, possibly flowering in 20–24 months and fruiting in the following six months.Pineapple does not ripen significantly post-harvest.

Pineapples can be consumed fresh, cooked, juiced, or preserved. They are found in a wide array of cuisines. In addition to consumption, the pineapple leaves are used to produce the textile fiber piña in the Philippines, commonly used as the material for the men's Barong Tagalog and women's Baro't saya formal wear in the country. The fiber is also used as a component for wallpaper and other furnishings.

Etymology

The word "pineapple" in English was first recorded to describe the reproductive organs of conifer trees (now termed pine cones). When European explorers discovered this tropical fruit in the Americas, they called them "pineapples" (first referenced in 1664 for resemblance to the pine cone).

In the scientific binomial Ananas comosus, ananas, the original name of the fruit, comes from the Tupi word nanas, meaning "excellent fruit," as recorded by André Thevet in 1555, and comosus, tufted, refers to the stem of the fruit. Other members of the Ananas genus are often called pine, as well, in other languages. In Spanish, pineapples are called piña ("pine cone"), or ananá (ananás) (for example, the piña colada drink).

Botany

The pineapple is a herbaceous perennial, which grows to 1.0 to 1.5 meters (3.3 to 4.9 ft) tall, although sometimes it can be taller. In appearance, the plant has a short, stocky stem with tough, waxy leaves. When creating its fruit, it usually produces up to 200 flowers, although some large-fruited cultivars can exceed this. Once it flowers, the individual fruits of the flowers join together to create what is commonly referred to as a pineapple. After the first fruit is produced, side shoots (called 'suckers' by commercial growers) are produced in the leaf axils of the main stem. These may be removed for propagation, or left to produce additional fruits on the original plant. Commercially, suckers that appear around the base are cultivated. It has 30 or more long, narrow, fleshy, trough-shaped leaves with sharp spines along the margins that are 30 to 100 centimeters (1.0 to 3.3 ft) long, surrounding a thick stem. In the first year of growth, the axis lengthens and thickens, bearing numerous leaves in close spirals. After 12 to 20 months, the stem grows into a spike-like inflorescence up to 15 cm (6 in) long with over 100 spirally arranged, trimerous flowers, each subtended by a bract. Flower colors vary, depending on variety, from lavender, through light purple to red.

The ovaries develop into berries, which coalesce into a large, compact, multiple accessory fruit. The fruit of a pineapple is arranged in two interlocking helices, eight in one direction, thirteen in the other, each being a Fibonacci number.

The pineapple carries out CAM photosynthesis, fixing carbon dioxide at night and storing it as the acid malate, then releasing it during the day aiding photosynthesis.

Pollination

Seed formation needs pollination, but the presence of seeds harms the quality of the fruit. In Hawaii, where pineapple is cultivated on an agricultural scale, importation of hummingbirds is prohibited for this reason.Certain bat-pollinated wild pineapples open their flowers only at night.

Culinary uses

The flesh and juice of the pineapple are used in cuisines around the world. In many tropical countries pineapple is prepared and sold on roadsides as a snack. It is sold whole or in halves with a stick inserted. Whole, cored slices with a cherry in the middle are a common garnish on hams in the West. Chunks of pineapple are used in desserts such as fruit salad, as well as in some savory dishes, including pizza toppings and a grilled ring on a hamburger. Crushed pineapple is used in yogurt, jam, sweets, and ice cream. The juice of the pineapple is served as a beverage, and it is also the main ingredient in cocktails such as the piña colada and in the drink tepache.

Nutrition

In a 100 gram serving, raw pineapple is an excellent source of manganese (44% Daily Value (DV)) and vitamin C (58% DV), but otherwise contains no essential nutrients in significant content (table).

Bromelain

Present in all parts of the pineapple plant, bromelain is a mixture of proteolytic enzymes. Bromelain is under preliminary research for a variety of clinical disorders, but to date has not been adequately defined for its effects in the human body. Bromelain may be unsafe for some users, such as in pregnancy, allergies, or anticoagulation therapy.

If having sufficient bromelain content, raw pineapple juice may be useful as a meat marinade and tenderizer.Although pineapple enzymes can interfere with the preparation of some foods or manufactured products, such as gelatin-based desserts or gel capsules, their proteolytic activity responsible for such properties may be degraded during cooking and canning. Although the quantity of bromelain in a typical serving of pineapple fruit is probably not significant, specific extraction can yield sufficient quantities for domestic and industrial processing.

History

The plant is indigenous to South America and is said to originate from the area between southern Brazil and Paraguay; however, little is known about the origin of the domesticated pineapple (Pickersgill, 1976). M.S. Bertoni (1919)considered the Paraná–Paraguay River drainages to be the place of origin of A. comosus. The natives of southern Brazil and Paraguay spread the pineapple throughout South America, and it eventually reached the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, where it was cultivated by the Mayas and the Aztecs. Columbus encountered the pineapple in 1493 on the leeward island of Guadeloupe. He called it piña de Indes, meaning "pine of the Indians", and brought it back with him to Spain, thus making the pineapple the first bromeliad to be introduced by humans outside of the New World. The Spanish introduced it into the Philippines, Hawaii (introduced in the early 19th century, first commercial plantation 1886), Zimbabwe and Guam. The fruit is said to have been first introduced in Hawaii when a Spanish ship brought it there in the 1500s.The Portuguese took the fruit from Brazil and introduced it into India by 1550.

Charles II presented with the first pineapple grown in England (1675 painting by Hendrik Danckerts).

The pineapple was brought to northern Europe by the Dutch from their colony in Surinam. The first pineapple to be successfully cultivated in Europe, is said to have been grown by Pieter de la Court at Meerburg in 1658.In England, a huge "Pineapple stove" needed to grow the plants had been built at the Chelsea Physic Garden in 1723. In France, King Louis XV was presented with a pineapple that had been grown at Versailles in 1733. Catherine the Great ate pineapples grown on her own estates before her death in 1796. Because of the expense of direct import and the enormous cost in equipment and labour required to grow them in a temperate climate, using hothouses called "pineries", pineapples soon became a symbol of wealth. They were initially used mainly for display at dinner parties, rather than being eaten, and were used again and again until they began to rot.By the second half of the 18th century, the production of the fruit on British estates had become the subject of great rivalry between wealthy aristocrats. John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore built a hothouse on his estate surmounted by a huge stone cupola 14 metres tall in the shape of the fruit; it is known as the Dunmore Pineapple.

John Kidwell is credited with the introduction of the pineapple industry to Hawaii. Large-scale pineapple cultivation by US companies began in the early 1900s on Hawaii. Among the most famous and influential pineapple industrialists was James Dole who moved to Hawaii in 1899 and started a pineapple plantation in 1900. The companies Dole and Del Monte began growing pineapples on the island of Oahu in 1901 and 1917, respectively. Dole's pineapple company began with the acquisition of 60 acres (24 ha) of land in 1901, and grew into a major company, Dole Food Co.. Maui Pineapple Company began pineapple cultivation on the island of Maui in 1909.

In the US, in 1986, the Pineapple Research Institute was dissolved and its assets divided between Del Monte and Maui Land and Pineapple. Del Monte took cultivar '73–114', dubbed 'MD-2', to its plantations in Costa Rica, found it to be well-suited to growing there, and launched it publicly in 1996 as 'Gold Extra Sweet' while Del Monte also began marketing '73–50', dubbed 'CO-2', as 'Del Monte Gold'.

Dole ceased its cannery operations in Honolulu in 1991, and in 2008, Del Monte terminated its pineapple growing operations in Hawaii. In 2009, the Maui Pineapple Company reduced its operations to supply pineapples only locally on Maui,and by 2013, only the Dole Plantation on Oahu grew pineapples in a volume of about 0.1% of the world's production.

Production and cultivation

In 2013, world production was 24.8 million tonnes, with the top five countries producing half of this total, led by Costa Rica.

In commercial farming, flowering can be induced artificially, and the early harvesting of the main fruit can encourage the development of a second crop of smaller fruits. Once removed during cleaning, the top of the pineapple can be planted in soil and a new plant will grow. Slips and suckers are planted commercially.

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