The Prickly Truth About Pineapples
When you hear the word “pineapple”, what sort of imagery comes to mind? Many people will think of a round slice of pineapple sitting atop a holiday ham, garnished with a cherry. Others will picture enjoying a tropical cocktail from a curvy, elaborate glass, adorned with a miniature umbrella and a small chunk of pineapple hanging from the rim. However, it may surprise the majority of the population that pineapples are not native to the Pacific Islands. Even though the pineapple is a fairly young fruit in comparison to other produce you might find at your local grocery store, it has established its place in modern cuisine as one of the most versatile fruits on the market today. Pineapples come in many varieties and are used in many dishes including beverages, appetizers, desserts, and even entrees. Countries world-wide utilize this delicious product in their cuisines. Pineapples can be found in Asian, French, Mexican, British, and Spanish dishes, to name a few. Very little is known about the exact origin of the pineapple. Pineapples are said to originate in South America, somewhere in the vicinity of Brazil. From there, pineapples made their way to the Caribbean by way of Native American trade routes. They were eventually discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 when he landed on the island of Guadeloupe. He and his sailors ventured through an abandoned Caribbean village that was adorned with serpent carvings and pots of cooked human flesh. However, they also stumbled upon piles of freshly gathered fruits and vegetables upon which the sailors feasted and recorded their experience with the curious new segmented pinecone-like fruit they discovered. Columbus brought this foreign fruit with him back to Spain and shared his newfound adoration for the pineapple. However, it took until the 1720’s for Europeans to perfect a method of growing this exotic product in a hothouse. Until then, pineapples were known as a rare delicacy and...
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