Pineapple



Ananas comosus is a fruit whose common name, pineapple, is derived from the Spanish word piña, which means “pine cone”.1 The pineapple’s scaly exterior was said by early travellers to bear a vague resemblance to pine cones.2 Its scientific name came from the Gaurani-Tupi Indians who called it nana.3

Origins
The pineapple is a tropical crop that originated from South America.4 It was first introduced to Europe and Asia by the Spaniards and Portuguese in the 16th and 17th centuries.5 In Europe, the pineapple gained the status of a luxury, premium dessert fruit, and was seen as a symbol of cordiality in high society.6


There are different pineapple varieties including the Singapore Spanish pineapple. By the mid-1800s, the pineapple fruit was so easily available in Singapore that there arose complaints of pineapples obstructing landing places and staircases.7 In 1861, slices of pineapple was reportedly sold for one cent each at Raffles Place (Commercial Square).8

Description
The pineapple is a low, terrestrial bush that grows to about 1 m in height. It is a member of the Bromeliaceae family and has a stout, thick stem from which a crown of strap-like leaves are produced.9 The rosette-like leaves are usually dark green with pale, silvery undersides. They have serrated edges and may bear sharp spines. Each pineapple produces a large flower-head consisting of 100 to 200 florets.10 After fertilisation, the florets form individual fruits and begin to swell. As they are so densely packed, the fruits fuse and eventually form a collective fruit when ripe.11 A ripe pineapple weighs about 2 kg on average, depending on the species.12

In Malaysia, the commercial varieties fall into two groups: the raw, fresh-type (Nanas Sarawak and Nanas Moris) and those ideal for canning (Nanas Merah and Nanas Hijau). The Nanas Merah variety includes the Singapore Spanish, Singapore Queen and Singapore Canning.13 In other texts, the numerous pineapple varieties are classified into four main export varieties: Smooth Cayenne (the Nanas Sarawak type), Red Spanish (possibly the Nanas Moris type), Queen (possibly the Nanas Merah type) and Abacaxi. When peeled, the colour of a ripe pineapple ranges from almost white to yellow.14 The flesh is slightly fibrous and very juicy because of its high water content.15 Its flavour is light, sweet and mildly acidic, making it deliciously refreshing.16 Cultivated pineapple fruits do not bear seeds, but in the wild they may be pollinated by bats, insects or humming birds, resulting in immense seed production. While the seeds may have practical benefit for selective breeding, this is an undesirable trait in dessert fruit. Therefore, the inflorescence of cultivated pineapples must be kept covered to prevent pollination.17 The production of pineapples is possible all year round, although research is still needed to further understand inflorescence, growth regulators and conditions that promote natural induction.18

Usage and potential
Food
Although it is usually served freshly sliced, there are many other ways of eating pineapples. A popular Asian dish is pineapple rice, which is traditionally served in a hollowed-out pineapple shell. The pineapple is also widely used to flavour “sweet and sour” dishes and fruit salads.19

Nanas goreng is a tasty Indonesian dessert made of pineapple slices that have been fried in batter and served with a generous helping of cinnamon sugar.20 The Malays make a pleasant appetiser of pineapple, chilies, ghee and sugar called pacheri, while manisan is pineapple served with only sugar.21

Apart from being canned or made into fruit juice, the pineapple is also processed to produce alcohol, pineapple vinegar and citric acid.22 Other pineapple foods include chutneys, pickles and jams.23 The pineapple tart is a popular gift among both the Chinese and Malays during their respective festive occasions.24

Medicine
Bromelin or bromelain, an enzyme present in ripe pineapples, aids digestion and is known to treat inflammation including joint pain.25 Partially developed pineapple fruits are believed to be poisonous and act as a purgative so violent that it can terminate a pregnancy.26 They are hence generally considered unsafe for consumption.27 Unripe fruit were previously used as a vermifuge, diuretic and treatment for venereal diseases.28

Others
Pineapple leaf fibres are used in the textile and rope-making industries. The fibres are also used to weave the exquisitely intricate fabric of the barong, the national dress of Filipino men. Pineapples contain a protease, papain, which is used as a meat tenderiser. Pineapple juice was also used by the Malays as a cleaning agent when engraving the blade of a kris.29

The Chinese embrace the pineapple as its Chinese name symbolises luck and wealth.  It is one of the must-have foods during Chinese New Year. A live sample is grown at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay.30

Pineapple trade and the canning industry
The pineapple is one of the most important tropical fruits in world production after bananas and citrus fruits. Due to the short shelf-life of fresh pineapple fruit, its distribution was limited but of high-value. The alternative to selling fresh pineapples was to preserve them in cans.31 The pioneering efforts of canning pineapple in Singapore appears to be shared by three Frenchmen. The first was a Mister Laurent whose business venture in 1875 failed shortly after.32 The second was a war veteran and seaman by the name of Joseph Pierre Bastiani,33 who had significant business success through his exhibition ventures. There was even a legal suit on his trademark brand.34 The third man cited was also a French sailor, M. Bernado, who started canning in a shophouse.35

The pineapple industry grew in Malaya, followed by a complete hiatus during World War II and subsequent increase in the 1970s.36 Two notable Singapore pineapple kings were Lim Nee Soon and Lee Kong Chian. Lim cultivated pineapple plants in between rows of rubber trees in his plantations as a catch crop, and also established a pineapple canning factory. Lee’s businesses ranged from rubber processing to pineapple canning. He set up Lee Pineapple in 1931.37 In 1933, it was reported that the growing pineapple industry was not regarded simply as a catch crop but a main crop.38

The existing main pineapple-producing ASEAN countries are Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia. A 2005 report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations stated that Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia accounted for 80 percent of the canned pineapple supply in the world market. These three countries were also among the top 10 pineapple producing countries in 2003.39 In 2014, the combined production of pineapples from Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia was reported to be 7,208,289 metric tonnes.40

Variant names41
Common name: Pineapple.
Scientific name: Ananas comosus.
Malay name: Nanas.
Other names: Ananas, piña.



Author
Annalisa Dass



References
1. B. M. (1967). Malayan fruits. Singapore: Donald Moore Press, p. 210. (Call no.: RCLOS 634.09595 ALL); Hutton, W. (2000). Tropical fruits of Malaysia & Singapore. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions, p. 16. (Call no.: RSING 634.6 HUT) 
2. Burkill, I. H. (2002). A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Malaysia: Ministry of Agriculture and Co-Operatives, p. 149. (Call no.: RSEA 634.909595 BUR); Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
3. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
4. Collins, J. L. (1949, October–December). History, taxonomy and culture of the pineapple. Economic Botany, 3(4), 335–359. Retrieved from JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Hutton, W. (2000). Tropical fruits of Malaysia & Singapore. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions, p. 16. (Call no.: RSING 634.6 HUT)
5. Bartholomew, D. P., Paull, R. E. & Rohrbach, K. G. (Eds). (2003). The pineapple: Botany, production and uses. Oxon, UK: CABI Publishing, p. 2. (Call no.: R 634.774 PIN); Burkill, I. H. (2002). A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Malaysia: Ministry of Agriculture and Co-Operatives, p. 149. (Call no.: RSEA 634.909595 BUR)
6. Burkill, I. H. (2002). A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Malaysia: Ministry of Agriculture and Co-Operatives, p. 149. (Call no.: RSEA 634.909595 BUR); Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
7. Correspondence, An Observer. (1844, December 5). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, p. 2, Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 12. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP); Purvis, J. (1848, May 13). Presentment to the Hon’ble Her Majesty’s Court of Judicature of Prince of Wales Island, Singapore and Malacca. In Newspaper extracts and clippings from the Straits Times and Singapore Journal of Commerce, 1845–1849. (Vol. 1, p. 2). (Call no.: RDLKL 959.573 NEW)
8. Untitled: Singapore by day and night. (1861, January 19). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Hutton, W. (2000). Tropical fruits of Malaysia & Singapore. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions, p. 16. (Call no.: RSING 634.6 HUT); Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
10. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
11. Allen, B. M. (1967). Malayan fruits. Singapore: Donald Moore Press, p. 208. (Call no.: RCLOS 634.09595 ALL)
12. Morton, J. (1987). Pineapple. In J. F. Morton, Fruits of warm climates. Retrieved 2016, December 29 from Purdue University website: https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/pineapple.html; Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
13. Allen, B. M. (1967). Malayan fruits. Singapore: Donald Moore Press, p. 209. (Call no.: RCLOS 634.09595 ALL); Chin, H. F. & Yong, H. S. (1982). Malaysian fruits in colour. Kuala Lumpur: Tropical Press, p. 22. (Call no.: RSEA 634.609595 CHI)
14. Bartholomew, D. P., Paull, R. E. & Rohrbach, K. G. (Eds.) (2003). The pineapple: Botany, production and uses. Wallingford: CABI Publishing, Plates 7 to 10. (Call no.: R634.774 PIN); Morton, J. (1987). Pineapple. In J. F. Morton, Fruits of warm climates. Retrieved 2016, December 29 from Purdue University website: https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/pineapple.html; Ray, P.K. (2002). Breeding tropical and subtropical fruits. New Delhi: Narosa Pub House, pp. 203, 210. (Call no.: 634.6 RAY)
15. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 11. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
16. Hutton, W. (2000). Tropical fruits of Malaysia & Singapore. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions, p. 16. (Call no.: RSING 634.6 HUT) 
17. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 13. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
18. Bartholomew, D. P., Paull, R. E. & Rohrbach, K. G. (Eds.). (2003). The pineapple: Botany, production and uses. Wallingford: CABI Publishing, pp. 69–72, 167–202. (Call no.: R634.774 PIN)
19. Hutton, W. (2000). Tropical fruits of Malaysia & Singapore. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions, p. 16. (Call no.: RSING 634.6 HUT); Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press, pp. 11–12. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
20. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 12. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
21. Allen, B. M. (1967). Malayan fruits. Singapore: Donald Moore Press, p. 211. (Call no.: RCLOS 634.09595 ALL); Burkill, I. H. (2002). A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Malaysia: Ministry of Agriculture and Co-Operatives, p. 151. (Call no.: RSEA 634.909595 BUR)
22. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p.12. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
23. Hutton, W. (2000). Tropical fruits of Malaysia & Singapore. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions, p. 16. (Call no.: RSING 634.6 HUT) 
24. Faridah plays host to a VIP. (1986, June 10). The Straits Times, p. 11; Quek, E. (2014, January 26). Pineapple blooms. The Straits Times, p. 28, Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Burkill, I. H. (2002). A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Malaysia: Ministry of Agriculture and Co-Operatives, p. 152. (Call no.: RSEA 634.909595 BUR); Leung, A. L. & Foster, S. (1996). Encyclopedia of common natural ingredients: Used in food, drugs and cosmetics. New York: Wiley, pp. 100–104. (Call no.: R 660.63 LEU); Conrozier, T. et al. (2014). A complex of three natural anti-inflammatory agents provides relief of osteoarthritis pain. Alternative therapies in health & medicine, 20(1), 32–37. Retrieved from EbscoHost.
26. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p.12. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
27. Burkill, I. H. (2002). A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Malaysia: Ministry of Agriculture and Co-Operatives, p. 152. (Call no.: RSEA 634.909595 BUR)
28. Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p.12. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)
29. Burkill, I. H. (2002). A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Malaysia: Ministry of Agriculture and Co-Operatives, pp. 151–152. (Call no.: RSEA 634.909595 BUR)
30. Zappi. D. C. (2013). Guides to Gardens by the Bay: Heritage garden plants and recipes. Singapore: Gardens by the Bay. p. 34. (Call no.: RSING 581.63209595 ZAP)
31. Bartholomew, D. P., Paull, R. E. & Rohrbach, K. G. (Eds.) (2003). The pineapple: Botany, production and uses. Wallingford: CABI Publishing, pp. 2–3. (Call no.: R 634.774 PIN)
32. Purvis, J. (1848, May 13). Presentment to the Hon’ble Her Majesty’s Court of Judicature of Prince of Wales Island, Singapore and Malacca. In Newspaper extracts and clippings from the Straits Times and Singapore Journal of Commerce, 1845–1849. (Vol. 1, p. 2). (Call no.: RDLKL 959.573 NEW); Local. (1850, April 12). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1835–1869), p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
33. On the Heritage trail. (2002, March 28). Today, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
34. The Colonial and Indian Exhibition. (1886, August 7). The Singapore Free Press, p. 88; Alleged forged trademark. (1898, July 15). The Singapore Free Press, p. 2; Death of Mr J. Bastiani. (1925, January 5). The Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
35. Sailor started our ginned pines trade. (1950, August 24). Singapore Standard, p. 8; The Malayan pineapple in world markets. (1950, August 25). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
36. The Colonial Fruit Trade. (1887, March 28). Straits Times Weekly Issue, p. 6; Fresh Malaysian pines a sell-out in Britain. (1971, March 23). Singapore Herald, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Allen, B. M. (1967). Malayan fruits. Singapore: Donald Moore Press, p. 210. (Call no.: RCLOS 634.09595 ALL); Othman Yaacob. (Ed.). Fruit production in Malaysia, :. Faculty of Agriculture, Universiti Pertanian Malaysia, p. 6. (Call no.: RSEA 634.09595 FRU)
37. Tan, B. H. (1987, November 24). Man behind old Nee Soon village. The Straits Times, p. 6; Pioneers of Singapore. (1986, April 20). The Straits Times, p. 8; From rags to ‘rubber king’. (1967, June 3). The Straits Times, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
38. Potentialities of pineapple industry: Dr Tempany’s confidence in the future. (1933, September 7). The Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
39. Medina, J de la C., & Garcia, H. S. (2005, November 13). Pineapple: Post-harvest operations Retrieved from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations website: http://www.fao.org/3/a-ax438e.pdf, p.15.
40. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. (n.d.). Combined production of pineapples. Retrieved on 2007, July 12 from FAOSTAT, Crops website: http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QC
41. Hutton, W. (2000). Tropical fruits of Malaysia & Singapore. Hong Kong: Periplus Editions, p. 16. (Call no.: RSING 634.6 HUT); Piper, J. M. (1989). Fruits of South-East Asia. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 10. (Call no.: RSING 634.60959 PIP)



Further resources
Blancke, R. (2016). Tropical fruits and other edible plants of the world: an illustrated guide. Ithaca, NY: Comstock Publishing Associates. p. 15.

(Call no.: RSING 634.6 BLA)

Fernandez, D. G. (1997). Fruits of the Philippines. Makati, Philippines: Bookmark, pp. 98–101.
(Call no.: RSEA 634.09599 FER)

Holttun, R. E., & Enoch, I. C. (2010). Gardening in the tropics: A definitive guide for gardeners. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish, pp. 62, 222, 223, 349.
(Call no.: RSING 635.9523 HOL)

Othman, Yacoob & Suranant Subhadrabandhu. (1995). The production of economic fruits in South-East Asia. Kuala Lumpur, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 197–204.
(Call no.: RSING 634.0959 OTH)

Pwee, T. (2015, July–September). The French can: Pineapples, sardines and the Gallic Connection. BiblioAsia, 11(2), 34–41.



List of Images
Bukit Panjang Government High School. (1952). Bukit Panjang Government School: Cub - Scouts harvesting pineapples at Boswell Estate. [Media Image no.: 1998000563 - 0042]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/

National Archives of Singapore. (1900-1905). Pineapples ready for the market, Singapore. [Media Image no.: 19980005754 – 0010]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/



The information in this article is valid as at 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Pineapple--Singapore
Fruits--Singapore
Science and technology>>Agriculture>>Fruit crops
Plants
Cookery>>Types of meals>>Desserts
Nature>>Plants