PINEAPPLES - Pineapples originally come from Paraguay. Columbus discovered them in 1493 in Guadeloupe and from then on they became native to all tropical latitudes.
The pineapple is the cylindrical false fruit (pseudo-fruit) of the family Bromeliaceae and consists of a thickened, fleshy, very juicy axis core and inedible, scaly, warty skin, resembling a pine cone: only the polygonal, flattened outsides of the individual fruits are visible at the surface of the multiple fruit (syncarp). The fruit is topped by a crown of prickly leaves. The axis core (central cylinder) in the middle of the false fruit is woody and therefore inedible.
The English name "pineapple" points to the similarity to a pine cone.
Important commercial varieties include "Smooth Cayenne", the most important variety in the canning industry, the yellow "Queen", which is cultivated for eating fresh, and the Spanish group, "Red Spanish" likewise being suitable for eating fresh.
The pulp generally only reaches its full flavor if the fruit is left to ripen on the plant. The pale yellow to golden pulp is high in sugar and acids and has an excellent flavor (eating, luxury or dessert fruit).
The fruit is harvested while still firm (two-thirds ripe). In most varieties, the degree of ripeness of the fruit is clear from the yellowness of the skin. However, a pineapple may be fully ripe while still green on the outside. If one of the inner crown leaves can be pulled out easily, the pineapple is fully ripe. Pineapples intended for shipping are harvested when green, while those intended for immediate eating are harvested in the semiripe state and those intended for canning in the ripe state. Since pineapples are a nonclimacteric fruit, they should not be cut before ripening begins if a good flavor and quality are to develop.
A distinction is drawn between greenhouse products, e.g. from the Azores (ripe for harvesting after nine months, externally more attractive than outdoor pineapples but more sensitive and with a shorter keeping period) and outdoor pineapples (ripe after 14 - 22 months, externally not so uniform as greenhouse products, but more robust and better suited to long journeys).
- Commodity Name:
VEGETABLES AND FRUIT (Fresh)