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Pineapples are a very important commodity that grows mostly in tropical climates. They are altered into many different things, from canned pineapple to pineapple juice, and it is a very profitable market. Even the enzyme found in pineapples, bromelain, is extracted and used for many different purposes.
Pineapples are terrestrial plants that on average grow to be 2.5ft high to 5 feet high. The spread of the plant is about 4 feet, and they usually have leaves branching off of the stem that are pointed and range from 20-72 inches high, bearing spikes or some type of sharp piece at the end. During the blooming period of the plant, the stem elongates and produces a head of small red or purple flowers. These flowers are usually accompanied by a red, yellow, or green bract (bract: a leaf from the axil of which a flower or floral axis arises [Webster]). The pineapple plant then keeps on growing and forms the pineapple fruits, which join together and form the "traditional" pineapple shape. (Morton, 18) Pineapple cannot tolerate frost or prolonged cold exposure; hence it must be cultivated in the near costal areas around warmer climate and lower elevation. (Vaughan & Geissler)
The pineapple plant's fruit that it produces is a very juicy and fibrous fruit. It takes about a year and a half for the fruit to be produced by the pineapple plant. (Abernathy) The outer rind of the pineapple is very tough and waxy, in order to protect the nutrient plentiful and caloric insides of the fruit. The bombproof coating on the pineapple is usually hexagonally shaped, and often dark in color. The color ranges from a dark green/brownish color to a yellow or reddish color in certain types when fully ripened. The inner flesh is most often yellow or white. When ripe the pineapple will sound hollow when knocked upon, and also when freshly picked it is advised to let the fruit sit out for about a week, so it dries out properly. (Abernathy) If the flowers on the pineapple plant are fertilized, seeds become present in the fruit. But commercially they are not very common. (Morton, 18)
Food Values of 100g of Edible Pineapple
Serving Size 1/2 cup diced, raw (78 g)
Pineapples also contain a protein-digesting enzyme, which has been used in the pharmaceutical industry for a long time. This enzyme is called "bromelain," and it is used to moderate tumor growth and blood coagulation also. Because of this, pineapple cannot be used in jello because it will not allow the jello to set because the enzymes will break up the protein. (Vaughan & Geissler, 102.)
There are four main classes of pineapples that are then broken down into certain subspecies. The four classes are smooth cayenne, red Spanish, queen, and abacaxi. The smooth cayenne was cultivated first by Indians in Venezuela. The size usually varies from 4-10 lbs, and it has the typical cylindrical form. This fruit has a semi-acidic flavor to it, an orange rind, a yellow meaty inside, and it isn't very fibrous. The disadvantage to this fruit is because it is so tender and sweet, it rots very easily in shipment and does not last. It is often canned. The second class, the red Spanish pineapple is the most dependable pineapple. Although the pineapple is very spiny, it is still the most popular among agriculturalists in the West Indies. This pineapple isn't very often used for canning. It is a round fruit, with an orangish red exterior, and ranges from 3 to 6 lbs. The inner consumable part of the fruit is a fibrous flavorful pale yellow substance. It breaks off easily when harvesting, which provides higher yields because the branch won't split and then split the fruit also; which ruins it. This fruit is highly resistant to rot. The third class, the queen, is mainly cultivated in South Africa, the Philippines, and Queensland. This plant is actually a dwarf, and only produces 1-2.5 lb fruits, which isn't very significant in comparison to the other classes. But the edge that this type has on the others is that it is significantly more resistant to cold and to disease. The fruit itself is deep yellow, with the traditional conical form. It is less fibrous than others; but it is more fragrant and has better flavor also. It is usually sold fresh, and isn't canned because it doesn't hold up well. The last class of pineapple is abacaxi, which is mainly grown in Brazil, the Bahamas and Florida. This fruit is also very fragrant, and grows to be between on average 2.2-11 lbs. This plant is also very disease resistant in contrast with the three other types of
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