The scientific name for pineapple,Ananas comosus, derives from nanas,meaning “excellent fruit” in the South American Tupi language. The excellent pineapple came to be termed thus by European explorers in 1664 because of its resemblance to pine cones.
Although now synonymous with South-East Asia, which is its largest producer, the pineapple originated in South America and travelled to Europe in 1493, thanks to Christopher Columbus. It was the Spaniards who introduced it to the Philippines in the early 19th century.
Bursting with tang, the pineapple is popularly consumed fresh, especially in tropical countries where it is also used in salads and desserts. The pineapple is also a great tenderizing agent and works wonderfully in marinades.
Pineapple contains a proteolytic enzyme, bromelain, which breaks down protein. Bromelain also has anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting and anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown that regular consumption of pineapple helps fight arthritis, indigestion and worm infestation.
Raw pineapple is an excellent source of manganese, which is required in trace amounts to manufacture enzymes necessary for the metabolism of proteins and fat. It also supports the immune system and blood sugar balance and is involved in the production of cellular energy, reproduction and bone growth.
Pineapple contains beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A, known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is also required for healthy mucous membranes, skin and eyesight.
Every 100g of the fruit contains 80% of your daily required vitamin C (250mg), making it an excellent combatant against cold and flu, as well as diseases like scurvy. It also boosts the body’s immunity.
Eat it this way
Pineapple with pepper and Tia Maria
Golden delight: Pineapple with pepper and Tia Maria.
•600g pineapple, thinly sliced
•15g black pepper
•80ml Tia Maria liqueur
•200g brown sugar
•2g vanilla beans
•2-3 mint sprigs
•80g powdered sugar
Place the pineapple slices on a plate and sprinkle freshly cracked black pepper over them. Place the brown sugar in a skillet and melt. Add the Tia Maria, flambé and add the vanilla beans and butter. Let it stand for 2 minutes and pour over the pineapple slices. Decorate with sprigs of mint and dust with powdered sugar.
—Willi Haueter, executive chef, The Imperial, New Delhi.