The Saga of the Pineapple
The Saga of the Pineapple

All about pineapple > The saga of the pineapple

The native tribes of Central America called this spiky fruit "nana," meaning flavour. In fact, it was so succulent that another syllable was added and it became "the nana of nanas": the flavour of flavours. Ananas became the accepted name in French and numerous other languages. In the 17th century the English gave it the name "pineapple," an old word for pine cone, because of its appearance.

A symbol of welcome, a slice of pineapple was presented to Christopher Columbus when he reached the shores of Guadeloupe in 1493, to quench his thirst after so many days on salt water; pineapples were even hung near the entrances of huts as a sign of hospitality.

"It is shaped like a pine cone, but it is twice as large and its flavour excellent. It can be cut with a knife like a turnip and it seems very healthful."

Christopher Columbus
He noted that in Guadeloupe the islanders even made wine from the juice.

Father Duterte, the author of the "General History of the West Indies Inhabited by the French" in 1667 acknowledged the pineapple's many qualities, calling it "the king of fruits, since God placed a crown upon its head."

Its spiky foliage was used to create protective hedges around villages and huts.

Though they were first appeared on royal tables in the 15th century, it was another 200 years before pineapples would be grown in greenhouses. The first pineapple grown on British soil was presented to King Charles II with great pomp and circumstance in 1672.

France was not to be outdone, and Louis XIV, to satisfy the whims of Madame de Maintenon, began the cultivation of pineapples in the greenhouses of his château of Choisy-le-Roi.

In the meantime, the Portuguese had introduced the pineapple to India and Java, and the fruit, delighted with the climate that so closely mirrored its conditions of origin, spread throughout the Far East.

In 1790 pineapple was introduced to Hawaii, but it was not until the 20th century that this American state would become one of the biggest exporters in the world.

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