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(Taxonomical classification: Ananas comosus)
(BROMELIACEAE: Pineapple Family)

The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is one of the most popular fruits, eaten for dessert as well as for toppings, glazings, and flavouring for main meals.

Pineapple originated in South America. In northern Paraquay, the Guarani Indians domesticated this crop. Before Columbus arrived in the New World, the native Amerinds consumed pineapples, referring to them as ananas. Ananas is still used as a reference name in French and other languages. Most of use, however, prefer to use the well-known name, pineapple, because of its similarity to the common pine cone. During the 1500's, pineapple was exported throughout the world by traders coming and going by ship. Because pineapple had become so popular, many farmers around the world tried unsuccessfully to cultivate this crop. Pineapples thrive in dry, well-drained tropical habitats, (e.g., tropical regions of south America, South and West Africa, and Southeast Asia. Today, the Hawaiian Islands supplies a large majority of the world's pineapple demand, where the crop was successfully cultivated in the late 1800's.

A pineapple plant is cultivated as a biennial. A majority of Hawaiian pineapple is cultivar Smooth Cayenne. Most pineapples are canned, juiced, or eaten raw. The central cylinder (the edible portion) is diced, and hot syrup from juices and sugar are added. The sugary syrup from the excess pineapple juices can be fermented to produced alcohol or pineapple wine, or to extract citric acid.

Pineapple juice contains bromelin (bromelain), a protein-digesting enzyme similar to papain (papaya enzyme, Carica papaya). Bromelin acts as an antibacterial and also has anti-inflammatory properties. This enzyme stops gelatin from solidifying. This is why you cannot use raw pineapple in gelatin-containing recipes. Like papaya, pineapple aids digestion and helps to dissolve blood clots. Bromelin and papaya enzyme aid digestion because they are enzymes, which help to catalyze digestive reactions in the stomach and small intestine. Pineapple can prolong the onset of osteoporosis and bone fractures because of its high manganese content. Pineapple is also somewhat estrogenic.

Nutritional data:
[155 g (1 cup)]
  • calories (kcal)
  • Carbohydrates (grams): 19
  • protein
  • fat (grams):
  • fiber (grams): 3.0
  • ascorbic acid (mg): 125
  • niacin (mg): 0.65
  • riboflavin (mg): 0.64
  • thiamin (mg): 0.15
  • potassium (mg) 1.76

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