- A pine-cone shaped fruit • 20-30cm in height
- 10-15cm in diameter
- Pale/golden yellow fibrous flesh
- A central tough core
- Very thick rough skin covered with a hexagonal pattern of nodules
- Sweet juicy flesh
The pineapple plant has a dense, shallow root system. It grows about 90cm high and bears long, stiff, sword-shaped, brittle leaves that create an elongated rosette. The fruit arises from the centre of this rosette. If the fruit is removed, another fruiting stem arises. This fruiting process is repeated, for almost fifty years - the lifetime of a typical plant.
Despite the fact that the plant can continue to produce fruit for many years, commercial pineapple plants are replaced after 5-10 years. This guarantees that the fruit raised for marketing will be flavourful and of the highest quality.
Choose pineapples that have fresh-looking base leaves and that have no soft spots. A sweet aroma indicates ripeness. Fragrance is a sign of quality, however most times pineapples are kept at too cold a temperature to be fragrant.
In the summer months, select pineapples with one-third golden skin colour, whilst in winter months, select pineapples with a little more colour, to ensure ripeness. Once picked, pineapples will not ripen further, that is, they do not get any sweeter therefore, if picked too early they will lack flavour. Crown leaves should also be fresh looking and a deep green colour.
Consumer Tip: Pineapples should be large, plump and heavy for their size and should emit a fragrant aroma. The eyes should be flat and almost hollow. Pineapples will not ripen further after harvest so eat soon after purchase. There are many myths around concerning testing a pineapple for freshness. The ease with which crown leaves pull out is not a sign; nor is the thumb test an accurate predictor; likewise the shell colour is not the sole indication of maturity.
The pineapple plant is grown from slips, crowns or suckers, not seeds, and the plant starts the flowering process about 12-14 months after planting. It is ready for harvesting usually about 20 months after it is planted. Each parent plant produces only one fruit.
Pineapples are native to the tropics but also grow in subtropical areas. They can be grown in a variety of soils provided they possess the characteristics of good drainage and aeration, and a low percentage of lime. The pineapple has a remarkable ability to grow under a wide range of rainfall conditions.
Long before Columbus found the pineapple in 1493 on the island of Guadeloupe in the West Indies, it had been cultivated by the Indians of northern South America, Mexico and the West Indies. It is believed to have originated in Brazil and in Paraguay. The name “anana” used in most European countries is derived from the language of the Guarani Indians of Paraguay. “A” signified any fruit and “nana” meant excellent. The Spaniards called it “pine de Indies” because of its resemblance to a pinecone. The English were responsible for the name pineapple, where it was introduced at the end of the 17th century.
QLD - Bundaberg, Maryborough, Nambour District, Rockhampton, Townsville District, Yeppoon
NSW - North Coast
NT – Darwin
Pineapples are a very good source of vitamin C, with a 1009 slice providing 75% of the Australian recommended daily allowance for this vitamin. Pineapples are also a useful source of potassium. 170kJ/100g.