Scientific name – Ananas comosus
Type – tropical fruit with a tough outer shell that has the appearance of a pinecone with edible sweet yellow fruit inside
Cost – fresh pineapple can be moderately expensive at a cost varying from $4-7 each. Canned pineapple can be a less expensive option.
History of the pineapple
Pineapple as we now know it was known by a different names on its native lands of central and south America. Its traditional Brazilian name, “nanas”, meaning “excellent/exquisite”, was later incorporated into its scientific name. The name “pineapple” actually referred to what we know as pinecones. It is unknown exactly when the anana became known as the pineapple but it is thought that an English explorer, Captain John Smith, wrote about it in 1624 and named it the pineapple as it resembled the pineapple (pinecone) of the pine tree.
Regardless of exactly when and how it became known as the pineapple, it gained significant popularity in colonial American being coined the “ultimate exotic fruit”. It’s delicious taste, texture and beauty along with its limited availability made it symbol of wealth. Many colonials would use it as their centerpiece when entertaining. At the time, those who could not afford to purchase one could rent it for a dinner party.
The pineapple’s beauty, popularity and sign of hospitality/friendship led to it being used by many colonial artists. Many colonial mansion gates would display pineapples as would entertaining goods such as china dishes, tableware and napkins.
The pineapple is a more affordable today but it does still run at a higher cost than other fruit types. The average size of a modern fresh pineapple is between 2 – 5 lbs and in North America are usually of the Red Spanish variety. Smooth Cayenne varieties are used for canned and processed pineapple, as their high sugar and acid content make them ideal for processing.
Water content: 87%
Calories: low calorie
Macronutrient breakdown: 94% carbohydrate, 4% protein and 2% fat
Fibre: Pineapple contains mostly insoluble fibre. See my previous fibre post to learn more about fibre and its benefits. https://tanyabrownrd.wordpress.com/2020/04/21/so-you-want-to-increase-your-fibre/
Vitamins and minerals: Pineapple is a good source of a number of vitamins and minerals including
Maganese1 – manganese is an important mineral for growth, metabolism and has antioxidant properties
Vitamin C – vitamin C is important for growth and development, maintaining a healthy immune system, supports collage synthesis, aids wound healing and aiding the absorption of iron from the diet.
Antioxidants: Beneficial antioxidants flavonoids and phenolic acids are found in pineapple.
Pineapple contains the proteolytic enzyme bromelain which breaks down the protein in food. Pineapple can thus be helpful for digestion. There is also some research that bromelain may help maintain a healthy immune system and be an anti-inflammatory. Pineapples thus have been noted as a possible aid for arthritis but most studies studied bromelain or manganese directly rather than pineapple.
Based on 1 cup the estimated nutritional breakdown as per USDA National Nutrient Database:
21.6 grams carbohydrates (of which 2.3 grams are fibre)
0.9 grams protein
0.2 grams fat
Cooking with pineapple
Pineapple is more of a versatile food than often thought as it can be used raw or cooked. Here are a few examples:
Simply raw – sliced and consumed fresh on its own or part of a in a salad.
Dehydrated – sliced thinly, dehydrated pineapple makes a great snack.
Roasted/grilled – in the oven on a BBQ. Every Christmas Eve we make roast ham with pineapple sauce that includes pineapple rings roasted directly on top of the ham which is delicious.
Baked – in a cake or muffin or loaf.
Juiced – pineapple juice can be a nice addition to a smoothie or mixed juice.
Blended – blending canned crushed pineapple can be easier than fresh pineapple. Blended pineapple can then we added to various dishes including a wide variety of jams, sauces or baked goods. I have also used blended pineapple in my homemade dehydrated fruit leathers.
Due to the bromelain mentioned above, pineapple is often used as a marinade or tenderizer for meats. This same protein prevents fruit gelatin from setting and so fresh pineapple cannot be used to make jelly.
Sliced, diced, chunked, crushed, blended, juiced, or baked – However you decide, enjoy this delicious, nutritious and often underrated fruit.
Let me know if you enjoyed this post and what food you may be interested in learning about next in the comments section below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: The above information is intended for general public education and is not intended to be dietetic advice in any respect or to any person. Use of this information does not make any person a direct client of Tanya Brown,RD for any purpose and no such relationship will exist unless a formal client relationship has been entered into. Please consult your Doctor or a Registered Dietitian for individual recommendations prior to making any dietary or lifestyle changes.
Krause’s Food, Nutrition and Diet Therapy 11th Edition
New world encyclopedia – https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Pineapple
Merriam-Webster – https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/word-history-pineapple
USDA National Nutrient Database