Hello everybody! Welcome to Alicia’s Nutrition Nuggets. Today we will be talking about the
Pineapple is believed to have originated in the Brazilian rainforests. Most experts believe the
Parana River area of southern Brazil and Paraguay is the specific region of origin. Pineapples
were harvested by the native tribes and spread throughout South and Central America up through
Mexico and the Caribbean islands. In fact, images of pineapples can be found carved in pre-
Incan ruins throughout Central and South America. Additionally, Caribbean Indians placed the
crowns of pineapple outside the entrance of homes to symbolize hospitality and friendship and
young men would run barefoot through pineapple plantings as a rite of manhood.
When Christopher Columbus landed in the new world in 1493, the Spaniards named the fruit
“piña de indies” which translates to “pine of the Indies” due to its resemblance to a pinecone.
The fruit was also called ‘anana’ which is a South American Indian word for ‘excellent fruit’
Columbus brought the fruit with him back to Spain, where it became very popular with Queen
Isabella. They were imported to Europe starting in the 16th century and eventually were grown
in green houses. The Spaniards also introduced pineapple to the Philippines in the 16th century
and the Portuguese took pineapple seeds to India and the African coasts. The English added the
word “apple” to the end of piña, to associate the new food with other delicious fruits in the late
Many people associate pineapples with Hawaii. However, pineapples are not native to the state.
They were either brought to Hawaii by Captain Cook or washed ashore from Spanish
shipwrecks. The Spaniards typically carried pineapple on their journeys to prevent vitamin C
deficiency. The Hawaiians named the fruit “halakahiki” which means foreign fruit. It was first
grown in the early 1800’s. In fact, a journal entry of Hawaii’s King Kamehameha the Great in
January 1823 reads “this day I planted pineapples.” Pineapples were being grown commercially
in Hawaii in 1851 when the Dole Company was founded. Pineapples continue to be a major
Pineapple fields are planted by cutting off the tops (or crowns) of the pineapple fruit and
replanting them in the ground. After a year or more of growth, the new plant will start to flower.
Once flowering, the plant takes over 18 months to produce a ripe fruit. When ripe, the pineapple
is picked and ready to be eaten. The fruit has a yellow flesh that is sweet and juicy with a
distinct, tropical aroma. This sweet, delicious fruit is also a great source of vitamin C and
contains vitamin A, iron, and calcium.
I hope you enjoy today’s snack and don’t forget – it’s alright to try just one bite!