Today we’re here to talk about pineapple. Not the pineapple of the pine tree nor of a very united group of people, nor of the one that I am getting by being funny, no, but of the tropical pineapple. Ananas comosus, wow. The one, the one that’s so good. The one that can be found in El Hierro just like at home.
First we will provide a general review of what we know about pineapple, before talking a little about the characteristics of pineapple cultivation in El Hierro and commenting on some of the ways we can use this succulent fruit in the kitchen.
Pineapple, the queen of fruits.
When the Europeans arrived in America they were enthusiastic about the pineapple. The Portuguese called it “the queen of fruits”; at first because of its leaves, which look like a crown, but later its taste and qualities consecrated it in the position.
For lovers of curiosities: the word “ananás”, by which this fruit is also known, comes from the Guaraní word “naná naná”, and means something like “perfume of perfumes”. What do you think!
Where do pineapples come from? Yes, from a plant, but the truth is that (at least I) didn’t know much about that pineapple plant until I saw it for the first time in Cuba. It’s short, with long, clear green fruit-like leaves.
Each plant can produce between one to three fruits per harvest, but generally only one is harvested and the others are used for replanting. In the next photo you can see what a pineapple plantation looks like. 😉
It’s almost unnecessary to talk about the health benefits of pineapple (to the person eating it, of course; looking at it is worth something), but well, here’s a short list:
- Its high concentration in bromelain makes it an excellent digestive with important diuretic capacities.
- It is believed that this same enzyme can help fight breast cancer.
- It can be used in an auxiliary way, in decoction or in other formulations, to alleviate arthritis and infections of the respiratory system, among other things.
In addition, the calories of pineapple per 100 grams are about 50 (kilocalories). In other words, very little. Less than artichoke, for example. It is very rich in fibre, especially the central trunk, which makes it very appreciated by people who want to follow a slimming diet.
The tropical pineapple in El Hierro.
We said at the beginning that the tropical pineapple has adapted marvelously to the island of El Hierro. Today about 130 hectares are cultivated on the island (with an average annual production of 900 tons), a good part of which is part of the Frontera Cooperative.
The climate is, of course, the key to success, as this production company explains to us. The mild temperatures and regular rainfall of El Hierro, along with the fertile soil and altitude are ideal. In addition, the region is constantly innovating to facilitate its commercialisation.
The plantations (the most common type is Spanish Red, although there is also the Andean and MDZ types) which are concentrated in the northern part of the island. They form a unique landscape when the fruit is sprouting or when it is harvested. The truth is that it is a real spectacle.
On your next visit to the island you will already have something to add to What to do on your weekend getaway to El Hierro: visit one of the pineapple plantations that populate the Gulf of Frontera.
REMEMBER THAT: If you want to see the plantations in all their splendour, the pineapple harvest season is the summer; the plant only bears fruit once every two years! But it’ s all right, because the farmers alternate production…
What can we do with a pineapple in the kitchen?
Well, everything. In other words, pineapple can be eaten and prepared in many different ways. Personally, as I like it best, when it is raw, although we have to admit that putting it in syrup was a great invention. But there are many more possibilities!
Apart from eating it in mouthfuls, the juice is the most obvious way to savour pineapple. Well, there are also cocktails… Who doesn’t like a piña colada once in a while? There are many other combinations that include pineapple in their preparation: Singapore Sling, Barracuda, Mary Pickford, French Martini, Dejavu… And more!
TIP TRAVELLER: In Brazil they usually drink pineapple juice with mint, in Cuba they eat it with a little salt, and in Mexico they put chili powder in it (of course…). Impossible combinations? Try it, try it!
Because it’s such a great digestive, pineapple is a perfect ingredient to include in dishes where meat is the main ingredient, especially in roasts. The most common is to see it with pork, although in Southeast Asia (which is where they do this best) they know that it also combines very well with veal.
But surely it is in the desserts where the tropical pineapple exhibits all its charms. Here the list is endless. Pineapple mousse, pineapple tatin, carrot and pineapple tart, piña colada cheesecake… I’m going to stop, it makes me salivate…
You know, next time you stop by El Hierro you can’t help but taste the island’s tropical pineapple.
From Tubillete we can help you prepare everything for your trip: flights, hotels, excursions… just contact us. Another more direct way for us to talk is to call us on 922 15 12 51 or write us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Redactor. Especialista en Viajes.
Uno de esos que piensa que nunca se puede viajar demasiado, y que no hay que irse a la otra esquina del planeta para descubrir un nuevo mundo. Veinte años con la mochila a cuestas y sin ganas de posarla, todavía… En familia, con amigos o con las ganas de escribir como única compañía, y la afición a la historia como bastón.
Editor. Travel specialist
One of those who thinks that you can never travel too much, and that you do not have to go to the other corner of the planet to discover a new world. Twenty years with the backpack on his back and unwilling to pose, still … In family, with friends or with the desire to write as a sole company, and the love of history as a cane.