Who Discovered Pineapple?
Pineapples are thought to have originated in Brazil and Paraguay in South America. They were first discovered by Europeans in 1493 on the Caribbean Island now known as Guadeloupe. Pineapples arrived in the Caribbean after centuries of Indian migration and commerce.
When Christopher Columbus and other discoverers brought pineapples back to Europe, attempts were made to cultivate the sweet, prized fruit until it was realized that the fruit’s need for a tropical climate inhibited its ability to flourish outside of the tropics.
By the end of the 16th century, Portuguese and Spanish explorers introduced pineapples into many of their Asian, African and South Pacific colonies – countries in which pineapples are still grown today.
Lutheran missionaries introduced the pineapple to Australia in the 1830’s and it now grows predominantly along the coast of Queensland. Pineapples are traditionally a welcome gift in the tropics. Centuries ago however, modes of transportation were relatively slow and fresh pineapples (being perishable) were a rare luxury and coveted delicacy.
The fresh pineapple was highly sought after, becoming a true symbol of prestige and social class. In fact, the pineapple, because of its rarity and expense, was such a status item that all a party hostess had to do was to display the fruit as part of a decorative centerpiece, and she would be awarded much social awe and recognition. Colonial confectioners sometimes rented pineapples to households by the day. Later, the same fruit was sold to other, more affluent clients who actually ate it.
In the 1600s, the pineapple remained so uncommon, and such a coveted commodity, that King Charles II of England posed for an official portrait in an act then symbolic of royal privilege – receiving a pineapple as a gift.
During the 20th century, the pineapple primarily symbolized hospitality. American Sea Captains placed the fruit outside their homes to signal to friends that they had returned after a voyage. It was this act that began the trend of stone pineapples being placed at the entrance of fine properties. Pineapples appeared frequently in the decorative arts on gates, bedposts, crockery, napkins, tablecloths and door knockers.
Pineapples spread around the world because they were kept on ships to ward off sailors’ scurvy. Sailors would wash their pineapples down with a pony’ (measure) of rum. Although originally from South America, most of the world’s pineapples now come from Southeast Asia. Thailand is said to be the biggest producer of pineapples in the region.
Did you know pineapple is good for colds and coughs? Pineapples are packed with Vitamin C and all the flu fighting goodness you’d expect to get from oranges except pineapples have something EXTRA special! Bromelain, an enzyme which is found in pineapples, is excellent for digestion and has been found to help suppress coughs and loosen mucus.