Pinya, Pineapple – Ananas Comosus
Pineapple belongs to the bromeliad family of plants.
It is native to South America and brought to the Philippines by the Spaniards during the colonization.
Pineapples are consumed fresh or cooked. It is also juiced and preserved. It is also available in groceries in cans and frozen section. It is widely used in culinary field mainly for desserts and the main ingredient in pineapple upside down cake. It is also used in main courses like sweet and sour pork, chicken or shrimp. It can also be grilled together with meats you prefer like a Kebab. In the Philippines, it is popular as a main ingredient in fruit salads but it is mostly eaten fresh. It is being sold in the streets already peeled and cut-up and chilled, good to eat especially during the summer months as a refreshment.
Leaves are used in the Philippines as a textile fiber called “pina”. It is commonly used in making the “Barong Tagalog” for men and “Maria Clara ” style for women as a formal attire. It is also used in wall papers and furnishings.
Pineapples are named from the Spanish word pina which means pine cones in which they resembled.
Pineapple is a tropical herbaceous plant which is indigenous to South America originating from Brazil and Paraguay. It spread into the Caribbeans, Central America and Mexico where it was cultivated by the Mayas and the Aztecs. Columbus brought it back to Europe in 1493 and called it “pina de Indes” which means pine of the Indians, thus making the pineapple the first Bromeliad to reach Europe.
The Spanish introduced it into the Philippines, Hawaii, Zimbabwe and Guam. The first fruit had been introduced to Hawaii when a Spanish ship brought it in the 1500’s. The Portuguese took the fruit from Brazil and introduced it into India in 1550. The pineapple was then brought to Northern Europe by the Dutch from their colony in Surinam.
Pineapples can be cultivated from the crown cutting of the fruit. It would flower within 2 years.
Bromelain is the enzyme which makes pineapple more popular today. The enzymes helps to digest protein and has been used by people of Central and South America for treating indigestion and reducing inflammation. Pineapple also have Vitamin C and manganese.
Pineapple juice is also used to marinade meats to tenderize the meats.