All you need to know about … pineapple
Pineapples are the perfect balance of sweet and tart and have a deliciously tropical flavour. Pineapple, Ananas comosus, belongs to the Bromeliaceae family and its name reflects the Spanish pina and the visual similarity to a pinecone. An extremely popular fruit worldwide, in Australia pineapples are predominantly grown in Queensland, although a small number are grown in the Northern Territory. Each year more than 35 million pineapples are produced in Australia and each one takes up to two years to be ready for harvesting.
Grown from a cluster of individual fruitlets that join together around a central core, pineapples have a wide cylindrical shape with a rough, green, brown or yellow skin and a crown of spiky leaves. The leaves are capable of retaining moisture which means that pineapples can survive in very hot, dry conditions. The area closest to the base of the fruit is the sweetest part of a pineapple as it has a higher sugar content.
Nutritionally pineapple is an excellent source of vitamin C (great for immunity and antioxidant protection) and manganese (energy production) and a good source of vitamins B1, B6, copper, fibre and folate. Choose pineapples that feel heavy for their size and that are free from soft spots or bruises. Choose pineapples with a fragrant sweet smell at the stem end. Pineapple stops ripening when it is picked so you can keep it at room temperature for a few days before serving. This will not make the fruit any sweeter, but it will help it to become softer and juicier. Once cut, store pineapple in the fridge in an airtight container with some of its juices.