Monday, January 10, 2011
Pineapple Pineapple is known as nanas locally in Malaysia. There are two pineapple commercial varieties in the country. For canning, they are known as "nanas merah" (red pineapple) or "nanas hijau" (green pineapple). For eating raw, the nanas Sarawak (Sarawak pineapple) and nanas Moris (Moris pineapple) is used. The nanas Sarawak is usually minimum in size with pale yellow flesh. The nanas Moris is usually smaller with a bright yellow flesh.
Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a tropical plant and its fruit, native to Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. The plant is a bromeliad (family Bromeliaceae), a short, herbaceous perennial with 30 or more long, spined and pointed leaves surrounding a thick stem. The fruit was named "pineapple" because of its resemblance to a pine cone. The native Tupi word for the fruit was anana, meaning "excellent fruit", this is the source for words like ananas, common in many languages. Hummingbirds are its natural pollinators.
The pineapple is an old symbol of hospitality and can often be seen in carved decorations.
The pineapple fruit develops from many smaller berries fusing together (called a multiple-accessory fleshy fruit). It is large and ovoid with a tough, spiky, waxy shell of many hexagonal sections, containing large amounts of white or yellow flesh with a tough, fibrous core. Depending on variety, the fruit can be up to 30 cm long and weigh more than 4 kg. Wild pineapples will contain one seed for each flower that produced the fruit. However, most commercially grown pineapples do not contain any seeds.
Pineapple is commonly used in desserts and other types of fruit dishes, or served on its own. Fresh pineapple is often somewhat expensive as the tropical fruit is delicate and difficult to ship. It will not ripen once harvested, so must be harvested ripe and brought to the consumer without delay. Pineapple is therefore most widely available canned. The pineapple juice has been fermented into an alcoholic beverage commonly called pineapple wine which is a type of fruit wine, most commonly found in Hawaii.
Signs of a ripe pineapple include:
* Flesh that is firm but yielding;
* Leaves that can be readily removed with a sharp tug;
* An odor of pineapple at the bottom of the fruit.
Pineapple contains a proteolytic enzyme bromelain, which digests food by breaking down protein. Pineapple juice can thus be used as a marinade and tenderizer for meat. The enzymes in pineapples can interfere with the preparation of some foods, such as jelly or other gelatin-based desserts. Some have claimed that pineapple has benefits for some intestinal disorders while others claim that it helps to induce childbirth when a baby is overdue
The pineapple spread from its original area through cultivation, and by the time of Christopher Columbus it grew throughout South and Central America and the Caribbean (West Indies). Columbus may have taken a sample back to Europe. The Spanish introduced it into the Philippines, Hawai'i (introduced in the early 19th century, first commercial plantation 1886) and Guam. The fruit was successfully cultivated in European hothouses beginning in 1720.
Common cultivated varieties include Red Spanish, Hilo, Smooth Cayenne, St. Michael, Kona Sugarloaf, Natal Queen, and Pernambuco. The flesh is very tart, except for varieties such as the Del Monte Gold which are bred for sweetness.
Southeast Asia dominates world production: in 2001 Thailand produced 1.979 million tones, the Philippines 1.618 million tones and Brazil 1.43 million tones. Total world production in 2001 was 14.220 million tones. The primary exporters of fresh pineapples in 2001 were Costa Rica, 322 000 tones, Côte d'Ivoire, 188 000 tones and the Philippines, 135 000 tones.
In commercial farming flowering can be artificially induced, and the early harvesting of the main fruit can encourage the development of a second crop of smaller fruits. Every pineapple has the exact same number of hexagonal sections on it, no matter the size or shape.
The diamonds on the surface of a pineapple form two interlocking spirals, eight go in one direction, thirteen in the other - both of which are Fibonacci numbers. This is one of many examples of Fibonacci numbers appearing in nature.
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