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Distant affinity: Pingwing (Aechmea magdalenae), Pinguin (Bromelia pinguin), Pinuela (Karatas plumier).
The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a tropical plant and fruit (multiple), probably native to Brazil or Paraguay. It is a tall (1â€“1.5 m) herbaceous perennial plant with 30 or more trough-shaped and pointed leaves 30â€“100 cm long, surrounding a thick stem. The leaves of the Smooth Cayenne cultivar mostly lack spines except at the leaf tip, but the Spanish and Queen cultivars have large spines along the leaf margins. Pineapples are the only bromeliad fruit in widespread cultivation.
The name pineapple in English (or piÃ±a in Spanish) comes from the similarity of the fruit to a pine cone.
The word “pineapple”, first recorded in 1398, was originally used to describe the reproductive organs of conifer trees (now termed pine cones). When European explorers discovered this tropical fruit, they called them “pineapples” (term first recorded in that sense in 1664) because it resembled what we know as pine cones. The term “pine cone” was first recorded in 1695 to replace the original meaning of “pineapple”.
In the binomial “ananas comosus”, ananas comes the original (Peruvian) Tupi word for pineapple nanas, as recorded by AndrÃ© Thevenet in 1555 and comosus means “tufted” and refers to the stem of the fruit.
Description Of Plant:
The pineapple plant is a terrestrial herb 2 1/2 to 5 ft (.75-1.5 m) high with a spread of 3 to 4 ft (.9-1.2 m); a very short, stout stem and a rosette of waxy, straplike leaves, long-pointed, 20 to 72 in (50-180cm) 1ong; usually needle tipped and generally bearing sharp, upcurved spines on the margins. The leaves may be all green or variously striped with red, yellow or ivory down the middle or near the margins. At blooming time, the stem elongates and enlarges near the apex and puts forth a head of small purple or red flowers, each accompanied by a single red, yellowish or green bract. The stem continues to grow and acquires at its apex a compact tuft of stiff, short leaves called the “crown” or “top”. Occasionally a plant may bear 2 or 3 heads, or as many as 12 fused together, instead of the normal one.
The fruitlets of a pineapple are arranged in two interlocking spirals, eight spirals in one direction, thirteen in the other; each being a Fibonacci number. This is one of many examples of Fibonacci numbers appearing in nature.
The natural (or most common) pollinator of the pineapple is the hummingbird. Pollination is required for seed formation; the presence of seeds negatively affects the quality of the fruit. In Hawaii, where pineapple is cultivated on an agricultural scale, importation of hummingbirds is prohibited for this reason.
At one time, most canned and fresh pineapples were produced on Smooth Cayenne plants. Since about 2000, the most common fresh pineapple fruit found in U.S. and European supermarkets is a low-acid hybrid that was developed in Hawaii in the early 1970s. 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 produced in Hawaii. Pineapples are also used as topping for American and European pizza, most commonly in the “Hawaiian” type pizza (where it is paired with ham or Canadian bacon).
Truly ripe pineapples are not found in the supermarket because almost all pineapple fruits are harvested at the mature-green stage of maturity. Fruit of the low-acid hybrid, usually containing “gold” in the brand name, are of good and consistent quality. Fruit of the best quality will have a fresh crown and little or no obvious shrinkage or wrinkling of the shell.
In Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the Caribbean, Spaniards found the people soaking pineapple slices in salted water before eating, a practice seldom heard of today.
Field ripe fruits are best for eating fresh, and it is only necessary to remove the crown, rind, eyes and core. In Panama, very small pineapples are cut from the plant with a few inches of stem to serve as a handle, the rind is removed except at the base, and the flesh is eaten out-of-hand like corn on the cob. The flesh of larger fruits is cut up in various ways and eaten fresh, as dessert, in salads, compotes and otherwise, or cooked in pies, cakes, puddings, or as a garnish on ham, or made into sauces or preserves. Malayans utilize the pineapple in curries and various meat dishes. In the Philippines, the fermented pulp is made into a popular sweetmeat called nata de pina. The pineapple does not lend itself well to freezing, as it tends to develop off flavors.
Canned pineapple is consumed throughout the world. The highest grade is the skinned, cored fruit sliced crosswise and packed in sirup. Undersize or overripe fruits are cut into “spears”, chunks or cubes. Surplus pineapple juice used to be discarded after extraction of bromelain (q.v.). Today there is a growing demand for it as a beverage. Crushed pineapple, juice, nectar, concentrate, marmalade and other preserves are commercially prepared from the flesh remaining attached to the skin after the cutting and trimming of the central cylinder. All residual parts cores, skin and fruit ends are crushed and given a first pressing for juice to be canned as such or prepared as sirup used to fill the cans of fruit, or is utilized in confectionery and beverages, or converted into powdered pineapple extract which has various roles in the food industry. Chlorophyll from the skin and ends imparts a greenish hue that must be eliminated and the juice must be used within 20 hours as it deteriorates quickly. A second pressing yields “skin juice” which can be made into vinegar or mixed with molasses for fermentation and distillation of alcohol.
In Africa, young, tender shoots are eaten in salads. The terminal bud or “cabbage” and the inflorescences are eaten raw or cooked. Young shoots, called “hijos de pina” are sold on vegetable markets in Guatemala.
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. There is significant evidence pointing to the anti-inflammatory benefits of bromelain. 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. These enzymes can be hazardous to someone suffering from certain protein deficiencies or disorders, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
It can also be used to enhance digestion. Despite these benefits, fresh pineapple may cause irritation of the tip of the tongue in some cases. Some may describe this sensation as a raw tingling of Vitamin C or a charge from a nine volt battery. This condition is only temporary and will most likely resolve itself within an hour.
Pineapple is a good source of manganese, as well as containing significant amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin B1.
Fiber: Pineapple leaves yield a strong, white, silky fiber which was extracted by Filipinos before 1591. Certain cultivars are grown especially for fiber production and their young fruits are removed to give the plant maximum vitality. The ‘Perolera’ is an ideal cultivar for fiber extraction because its leaves are long, wide and rigid. Chinese people in Kwantgung Province and on the island of Hainan weave the fiber into coarse textiles resembling grass cloth. It was long ago used for thread in Malacca and Borneo. In India the thread is prized by shoemakers and it was formerly used in the Celebes. In West Africa it has been used for stringing jewels and also made into capes and caps worn by tribal chiefs. The people of Guam hand-twist the fiber for making fine casting nets. They also employ the fiber for wrapping or sewing cigars. Pina cloth made on the island of Panay in the Philippines and in Taiwan is highly esteemed. In Taiwan they also make a coarse cloth for farmers’ underwear.
The outer, long leaves are preferred. In the manual process, they are first decorticated by beating and rasping and stripping, and then left to ret in water to which chemicals may be added to accelerate the activity of the microorganisms which digest the unwanted tissue and separate the fibers. Retting time has been reduced from 5 days to 26 hours. The rested material is washed clean, dried in the sun and combed. In mechanical processing, the same machine can be used that extracts the fiber from sisal. Estimating 10 leaves to the lb (22 per kg), 22,000 leaves would constitute one ton and would yield 50-60 lbs (22-27 kg) of fiber.
Juice: Pineapple juice has been employed for cleaning machete and knife blades and, with sand, for scrubbing boat decks.
Animal Feed: Pineapple crowns are sometimes fed to horses if not needed for planting. Final pineapple waste from the processing factories may be dehydrated as “bran” and fed to cattle, pigs and chickens. “Bran” is also made from the stumps after bromelain extraction. Expendable plants from old fields can be processed as silage for maintaining cattle when other feed is scarce. The silage is low in protein and high in fiber and is best mixed with urea, molasses and water to improve its nutritional value.
A Digestive Aid and A Natural Anti-Inflammatory
Fresh pineapple is rich in bromelain, a group of sulfur-containing proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzymes that not only aid digestion, but can effectively reduce inflammation and swelling, and has even been used experimentally as an anti-cancer agent. A variety of inflammatory agents are inhibited by the action of bromelain. In clinical human trials, bromelain has demonstrated signifcant anti-inflammatory effects, reducing swelling in inflammatory conditions such as acute sinusitis, sore throat, arthritis and gout, and speeding recovery from injuries and surgery. To maximize bromelain’s anti-inflammatory effects, pineapple should be eaten alone between meals or its enzymes will be used up digesting food. Bromelain is found in both the flesh and stem of pineapple. Since it is deactivated by heat, pineapple juice and canned pineapple are not good sources of this health-promoting enzyme. In terms of getting bromelain from pineapple, fresh is definitely the way to go.
Fresh pine apple 60 g daily is useful for the cure of Kidney stone.
Anti-Tumor Compounds Found in Pineapple Stems
Two molecules found in pineapple stems have shown anti-tumor activity in research done at Australia’s Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR). One of the molecules, called CCS, blocks the Ras protein, which is defective in approximately 30% of all cancers, while the other molecule, CCZ, stimulates the immune system to target and eliminate cancer cells.
Manganese and Thiamin (Vitamin B1) for Energy Production and Antioxidant Defenses
Pineapple is an excellent source the trace mineral manganese, which is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. For example, the key oxidative enzyme superoxide dismutase, which disarms free radicals produced within the mitochondria (the energy production factories within our cells), requires manganese. Just one cup of fresh pineapple supplies 128.0% of the DV for this very important trace mineral. In addition to manganese, pineapple is a good source of thiamin, a B vitamin that acts as a cofactor in enzymatic reactions central to energy production.
Protection against Macular Degeneration
In this study, which involved over 110,000 women and men, researchers evaluated the effect of study participants’ consumption of fruits; vegetables; the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; and carotenoids on the development of early ARMD or neovascular ARMD, a more severe form of the illness associated with vision loss. While, surprisingly, intakes of vegetables, antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids were not strongly related to incidence of either form of ARMD, fruit intake was definitely protective against the severe form of this vision-destroying disease. Three servings of fruit may sound like a lot to eat each day, but pineapple can help you reach this goal. Add fresh pineapple to your morning smoothie, lunch time yogurt, any fruit and most vegetable salads. For example, try adding chunks of pineapple to your next coleslaw or carrot salad.
Bromelain: The proteolytic enzyme, bromelain, or bromelin, was formerly derived from pineapple juice; now it is gained from the mature plant stems salvaged when fields are being cleared. The yield from 368 lbs (167 kg) of stern juice is 8 lbs (3.6 kg) of bromelain. The enzyme is used like papain from papaya for tenderizing meat and chill proofing beer; is added to gelatin to increase its solubility for drinking; has been used for stabilizing latex paints and in the leather-tanning process. In modern therapy, it is employed as a digestive and for its anti-inflammatory action after surgery, and to reduce swellings in cases of physical injuries; also in the treatment of various other complaints.
The root and fruit are either eaten or applied topically as an anti-inflammatory and as a proteolytic agent. It is traditionally used as an antihelminthic agent in the Philippines.
A root decoction is used to treat diarrhea.
Folk Medicine: Pineapple juice is taken as a diuretic and to expedite labor, also as a gargle in cases of sore throat and as an antidote for seasickness. The flesh of very young (toxic) fruits is deliberately ingested to achieve abortion (a little with honey on 3 successive mornings); also to expel intestinal worms; and as a drastic treatment for venereal diseases. In Africa the dried, powdered root is a remedy for edema. The crushed rind is applied on fractures and the rind decoction with rosemary is applied on hemorrhoids. Indians in Panama use the leaf juice as a purgative, emmenagogue and vermifuge.
You may click to see:->The Health Benefits of Pineapple
The pineapple fruit with crown intact is often used as a decoration and there are variegated forms of the plant universally grown for their showiness indoors or out. Since 1963, thousands of potted, ethylene treated pineapple plants with fruits have been shipped annually from southern Florida to northern cities as indoor ornamentals.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
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