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Pineapple History

The pineapple that made Hawaii famous is not from Hawaii

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Pineapples

© 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
It is not a pine nor an apple, and it is not native to Hawaii. However, since it was first canned and became a major crop there, we associate pineapple with Hawaii and the tastes of the islands. It has wonderful tenderizing enzymes and goes especially well with pork as well as poultry, seafood, and sweet-and-sour dishes. Of course, there are always plenty of dessert recipes using pineapple.

Pineapple History

Ananas comosus is the botanical name of the fruit we know as the pineapple. Native to South America, it was named for its resemblance to a pine cone. The term pineapple (or pinappel in Middle English) did not appear in English print until around 1664.

Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering the pineapple on the island of Guadeloupe in 1493, although the fruit had long been grown in South America. He called it piña de Indes meaning "pine of the Indians."

South American Guarani Indians cultivated pineapples for food. They called it nanã, meaning "excellent fruit."

Another explorer, Magellan, is credited with finding pineapples in Brazil in 1519, and by 1555, the luscious fruit was being exported with gusto to England. It soon spread to India, Asia, and the West Indies.

When George Washington tasted pineapple in 1751 in Barbados, he declared it his favorite tropical fruit. Although the pineapple thrived in Florida, it was still a rarity for most Americans.

Captain James Cook later introduced the pineapple to Hawaii circa 1770. However, commercial cultivation did not begin until the 1880s when steamships made transporting the perishable fruit viable.

In 1903, James Drummond Dole began canning pineapple, making it easily accessible worldwide. Production stepped up dramatically when a new machine automated the skinning and coring of the fruit. The Dole Hawaiian Pineapple Company was a booming business by 1921, making pineapple Hawaii's largest crop and industry.

Today, Hawaii produces only ten percent of the world's pineapple crops. Other countries contributing to the pineapple industry include Mexico, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Thailand, Costa Rica, China, and Asia.

Pineapple is the third most canned fruit behind applesauce and peaches.

More about Pineapples and Pineapple Recipes:

Pineapple Selection and Storage
Pineapple Cooking Tips
What is a pineapple? - Pineapple Facts
Pineapple Measures, & Equivalents
Pineapple History
Pineapple Lore and Legends
Pineapples and Health
Pineapple Recipes
Pineapples Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Cookbooks

And the Answer Is a Pineapple
The Great Exotic Fruit Book
Jane Grigson's Fruit Book
Fruit-Sweet and Sugar-Free
More Cookbooks
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