Even with its famously tough and spiky exterior, pineapple is one of the most popular and beloved fruits in the world. It is estimated that the world produces nearly 28 million metric tons of pineapple each year. Once found only in South America, it is now produced by over 80 countries and is widely available in many other places as well. Beyond being a versatile tropical fruit with a tasty flavor, however, the pineapple is also an excellent source of nutrients and a healthy part of any diet.
The pineapple is a tropical plant (Ananas comosus) in the Bromeliaceae family that originated in what is now Paraguay and southern Brazil. Little is known about how long the plant has been domesticated, but archaeological evidence indicates that the edible pineapple fruit was cultivated by Mayan and Aztec cultures as early as 1200 BCE. It was then introduced to the rest of the world by Christopher Columbus and others in the late 15th century. It has now become an important ingredient in various types of cuisine around the world.
Pineapple plants are herbaceous perennials that typically grow to be about 3-4 feet in height, and they have around 30-40 long, succulent leaves that spiral around a central stem. Each plant has only one flower stalk with a cluster of flowers that produce a multi-fruit, which is what gives the pineapple its unique look. On pineapple farms, it typically takes two to three years for the plant to complete its growth cycle. Much of the harvest is sold as fresh produce, but it can also be processed into a juice concentrate and used in commercial settings for products like cocktail mixes, beverages, and hard seltzers.
The pineapple may be known and beloved for its unique tangy flavor, but it also happens to be a low calorie way to get a lot of nutritional value. One cup of pineapple chunks has about 80 calories, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0.2 grams of fat, and 0.9 grams of protein; it also contains 2.3 grams of dietary fiber, which is 9% of the daily recommended value. Pineapple also contains numerous vitamins and minerals that bring many health benefits:
The pineapple is a unique fruit in many ways—indeed, it is the only plant in the Bromeliaceae that produces an edible fruit. But this uniqueness can make it hard to identify a good pineapple at the grocery store. Also, unlike most other fruits, a pineapple will not continue to ripen once it has been harvested; in other words, leaving it out for a few days won’t make a difference. Here are some tips for picking the right one:
Fresh pineapple can be a great addition to fruit salads, baked goods, and even tacos, but it isn’t the only way to enjoy the flavor. When processed into a concentrate or a not-from-concentrate (NFC) juice, pineapple can be a delicious and nutritious element in countless beverages, mixes, and nutraceutical applications. Juice concentrates are also generally stable and easy to store and transport.
At FruitSmart, we know that health is an important consideration for both you and your customers. That is why we offer juices, concentrates, and essences that are healthy and nutritious without artificial colors or added sugar. To learn more about products like pineapple juice concentrate, please contact us today! We are passionate about providing high quality ingredients so you can deliver the best products for your customers.