A Filipino folklore narrates that there was once a lazy, spoiled little girl named Pina who did not help in doing the household chores even when her mother told her to. One day, when the mother was sick, she asked her daughter to cook some food; but the girl refused because she could not find the ladle. Exasperated, the mother wished that Pina would grow a thousand eyes so she would be able to find the ladle. Soon after she made the wish, her child disappeared. The mother searched for the little girl but could not find her anywhere. After some time, she discovered a new plant growing in her backyard that bore a spiny yellow fruit with many eyes. The woman named the fruit “Pina” to honor the memory of her daughter. This, according to the Filipino legend, is how the pineapple came to be.
Although the story might be fictional, there are details about the pineapple that are no less fascinating, but are true. Here are some of them.
- Despite its name, the pineapple is not an apple but a large compound fruit made up of tiny individual “fruitlets” that are fused together around a central core.
- Only one pineapple can grow from a pineapple plant in a single growing season. In the wild, pineapple plants can stay productive for up to 50 years.
- Pineapples love the sun and they thrive in the tropics. Although the fruit originated in South America, the largest pineapple-producing countries today are located in Southeast Asia
- Pineapples are picked ripe since they do not continue to ripen once they are harvested.
- Pineapples can be utilized as natural meat tenderizers because they contain bromelain, an enzyme that can break down protein. Bromelain is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, which can provide relief to people suffering inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
- Pineapples should always be eaten ripe since their unripe versions can be toxic, causing an upset stomach and throat irritation.
- Back in the days when airline travel was still non-existent, pineapples were very valuable during long boat trips. The fruit, with its high levels of Vitamin C, prevented travelers from getting scurvy; and, a pineapple juice and sand mixture was used to clean the boats.
- If you are feeling bloated, pineapples might just be what you need. The juice of the pineapple is an effective diuretic that can help eliminate excess amounts of sodium and water in the body.
- The Hawaiian pizza, a popular pizza flavor using pineapple and ham as toppings, was invented by a Canadian restaurant in 1962.
- Canned pineapples became widely available after 1911, when an engineer named Henry Ginaca invented a machine that could peel and core 100 pineapples in less than 60 seconds. The Ginaca machine, aptly named after its inventor, is still being used by canneries today.