The Pineapple (Ananas comosus), named for its resemblance to the pine cone, is a tropical plant with edible multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries, and the most economically significant plant in the Bromeliaceae family. Pineapples may be cultivated from a crown cutting of the fruit, possibly flowering in 20–24 months and fruiting in the following six months. Pineapple does not ripen significantly post-harvest.
Pineapples are consumed both fresh and cooked, canned, or juiced, and are found in a wide array of cuisines including dessert, fruit salad, jam, yogurt, ice cream and candy—and as a complement to meat dishes. In addition to consumption, in the Philippines the pineapple’s leaves are used to produce the textile fiber piña- employed as a component of wall paper and furnishings, amongst other uses.
Raw pineapple is an excellent source of manganese (76% Daily Value (DV) in a one US cup serving) and vitamin C (131% DV per cup serving). Mainly from its stem, pineapple contains a proteolytic enzyme, bromelain, which breaks down protein. If having sufficient bromelain content, raw pineapple juice may be used as a meat marinade and tenderizer. Pineapple enzymes can interfere with the preparation of some foods, such as jelly or other gelatin-based desserts, but would be destroyed during cooking and canning. The quantity of bromelain in the fruit is probably not significant, being mostly in the inedible stalk. Furthermore, an ingested enzyme like bromelain is unlikely to survive intact the proteolytic processes of digestion.
Southeast Asia dominates world production: in 2001, Thailand produced 1.979 million tons and the Philippines 1.618 million tons, while in the Americas Brazil produced 1.43 million tons. Total world production in 2001 was 14.220 million tons. The primary exporters of fresh pineapples in 2001 were Costa Rica, 322,000 tons; Côte d’Ivoire, 188,000 tons; and the Philippines, 135,000 tons. 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.
In commercial farming, flowering can be induced artificially, and the early harvesting of the main fruit can encourage the development of a second crop of smaller fruits. Once removed during cleaning, the top of the pineapple can be planted in soil and a new plant will grow. Slips and suckers are planted commercially.