The Pineapple of my eye
By: Leanne Ely
Pineapples were first discovered on a Caribbean island (which we know now as Guadalupe). Imagine the surprise and delight of Columbus and his friends when they first opened up one of those prickly brown fruits and tasted the sweet juicy goodness inside.
As we all know, pineapples are rather perishable so it wasn’t easy to get fresh pineapples from the Caribbean Islands to Europe. Fresh pineapple became a symbol of prestige, and they were very expensive and rare in most parts of the world. In the 18th century, we started seeing pineapples cultivated in Hawaii, and Hawaii remains the only state in America that commercially grows these gorgeous fruits. Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, the Philippines and China are other places that produce pineapples.
A pineapple stops ripening when it’s been picked. To tell if your pineapple is ripe, try to take a leaf from the top center of the fruit. If it comes out without any give at all, it’s ripe.
Enjoy pineapple diced and eaten just like that, or cook it with shrimp or beef in a stir-fry. Pineapple is delicious grilled or served on yogurt. You really can’t do pineapple wrong.
But pineapple is not just delicious. Pineapple is full of health benefits including the following:
Vitamins and minerals. Pineapples are low in cholesterol and loaded with fiber, potassium, phosphorus, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calcium.
Mucus buster. Nobody likes talking about mucus, but pineapple contains bromelain which can help break up mucus within the body. If you have a nasty cough, pineapple can help rid your body of gunky yucky stuff. This, combined with the high Vitamin C content of pineapples, makes pineapple the perfect thing to crack open when you have a cold.
Gum and bone health. Pineapple can strengthen your gums and bones.
Eye health. Pineapple can prevent macular degeneration, a cause of vision loss in adults.
Aids in digestion. That bromelain which helps break up mucus can also help the pancreas in the digestive process. It has protein digesting properties that do a lot of good in the body.
Now that we’re all craving pineapple, did you know you can grow your own?
If you live someplace cold, you’ll need to do this indoors, but it can be done. Get yourself a large pot, some soil, water and the top of a pineapple. Put the top of the pineapple in soil, add water and be patient.
The pineapple will flower before it turns to fruit. These flowers are gorgeous and red and will grow for six months or so before producing fruit.
A pineapple needs 18 months to grow before turning ripe. If you plant your pineapple outdoors, it needs full sunlight.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy pineapple? Let us know on our Facebook page!