Author: The Festive Store Date Posted:23 March 2015
The pineapple has been popping up in home and party design lately and to many it seems a little weird, but strangely it is based on a old tradition.
Since colonial times, the warm and welcoming pineapple has, quite literally, been put on a pedestal in America. It has been used again and again as a motif in architecture, in furniture, in textiles, in illumination, and, of course, in food!
A fateful interaction with Christopher Columbus propelled the pineapple into the European (and eventually the American) consciousness. Columbus and his crew “discovered” the pineapple in Guadeloupe in 1493 on their second (less famous) voyage to the New World. They called it the piña, due to its resemblance to a pinecone, and brought the “exotic” fruit back to Spain.
It took some time for Europeans to learn to grow the prized pineapple, which thrives in tropical climates, but by the mid-1600s it was being produced in “hot-houses” in Holland and England. Soon thereafter, the pineapple was introduced to Africa, Asia, and other parts of the world.
American colonists began importing the pineapple from the Caribbean in the 17th century. Due to its seemingly exotic qualities and rareness, the pineapple soon became a symbol of hospitality in early America. Because trade routes between America and Caribbean islands were often slow and perilous, it was considered a significant achievement for a host to procure a ripe pineapple for guests. Similarly, some accounts tell of New England sea captains who, upon returning from trade routes in the Caribbean or Pacific, would place a pineapple outside their homes as a symbol of a safe return.
Due to its association with warmth and friendliness, pineapples in America were often used as the “crowning” piece in large displays of food. Similarly, the pineapple symbol was used frequently in the 18th and 19th centuries to decorate bed posts, tablecloths, napkins—anything associated with welcoming guests. Today, the pineapple remains a fitting symbol for the hospitality industry, and pineapple-themed products still abound. From lamps to candle holders to salt and pepper shakers and beyond, the pineapple motif says "Welcome!"
In America, commercial production of pineapples began in earnest in Florida in the late 19th century. In fact, for a short time, Florida was among the world's most prolific producer's of pineapple. However, by the 1930s, pineapple production in Florida began to fall off, largely due to changes in climate and increased competition from central America and Hawaii.
Gradually, much of the world's pineapple production has shifted to central America and Asia, where the fruit can be produced more cheaply.
Although pineapples are no longer a uniquely American product, the symbol of hospitality still looms large in both Florida and Hawaii, for the most important industry in both states today is... the hospitality and tourism business!
Although originally from South America, most of the world's pineapples now come from Southeast Asia. Thailand is said to be the biggest producer of pineapples in the region.
Did you know one pineapple plant produces only one pineapple every 2 years?
Pineapple is not, strictly speaking, a fruit. Rather it is 100-200 fruitlets all fused together!
And we could not leave this discussion of pineapples without a recipe to bring the pineapple to the party. And of course the most famous recipe is the Pina Colada.
And what do you do?
Step 1 Place pineapple juice, rum, coconut cream, palm sugar and ice in the jug of a blender and blend until smooth.
Step 2 Transfer to a serving jug and serve immediately over crushed ice.