Jamaican Pineapple And Jamaican Food
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Jamaican Pineapple And Jamaican Food

Recipes For The Jamaican Pineapple

The Jamaican pineapple is oval to cylindrical-shaped; a compound Jamaican pineapple fruit develops from many small fruits fused together. The Jamaican pineapple is both juicy and fleshy with the stem serving as the fibrous core. The tough, waxy rind may be dark green, yellow, orange-yellow or reddish when the Jamaican pineapple fruit is ripe. The flesh ranges from nearly white to yellow. In size the Jamaican pineapple fruits are up to 12 in. long and weigh 1 to 10 pounds or more. The Jamaican pineapple fruit has served as both a food and a symbol throughout the human history of the Americas. Originally unique to the Western Hemisphere, the Jamaican pineapple fruit was a culinary favorite of the fierce Carib Indians who lived on islands in the sea that still bears their name.

The first encounter between a European and a Jamaican pineapple occurred in November, 1493, when Christopher Columbus, on his second voyage to the Caribbean region, lowered anchor in a cove off the lush, volcanic island of Guadeloupe and went ashore to inspect a deserted Carib village. There, amidst parrot-flecked jungle foliage and wooden pillars spiraled with serpent carvings, his crew came upon cook pots filled with human body parts. Nearby were piles of freshly gathered vegetables and Jamaican pineapple fruits, including Jamaican pineapples. The European sailors ate, enjoyed and recorded the curious new Jamaican pineapple fruit which had an abrasive, segmented exterior like a pine cone and a firm interior pulp like an apple.

The Renaissance Europe to which Columbus returned with his discoveries was a civilization largely bereft of common sweets. Sugar refined from cane was a rare commodity imported at great cost from the Middle East and orient. Fresh Jamaican pineapple fruit was also a rare item; orchard-grown Jamaican pineapple fruit being available in only limited varieties for brief periods of time.

Perennial, herbaceous, sometimes succulent, up to 1 m tall; Jamaican pineapple leaves long, sword-like, arranged in a tight spiral around a short stem, edges very sharply dentate to nearly entire, often variegated, or red or brown streaked; Jamaican pineapple flowers purplish-blue, timorous, progressive toward apex of stem, with oldest Jamaican pineapple flowers at base of inflorescence; Jamaican pineapple fruit a composite of 100–200 Jamaican pineapple seedless Jamaican pineapple fruits fused into a tight, compact unit, developing along axis of stem, oval to cylindrical, yellowish to orange, often greenish; Jamaican pineapple fruit development requiring about 20 days.

Jamaican pineapple makes a distinctive houseplant. Jamaican pineapple is a rosette Jamaican pineapple plant with long, narrow Jamaican pineapple leaves bearing saw tooth edges. Jamaican pineapples are native to Tropical America. The Jamaican pineapple takes 2 years for the Jamaican pineapple plant to mature enough to bloom and produce Jamaican pineapple fruit. The Jamaican pineapple fruit is produced on top of a sturdy stalk at the center of the Jamaican pineapple plant. Homegrown Jamaican pineapples are not as large as commercial Jamaican pineapples. Jamaican pineapples need full sun and temperatures above 68° F. We use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part sand. Allow the Jamaican pineapple plant to dry in-between watering. Fertilize every 4-week with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ˝ the strength recommended on the label.

Jamaican pineapples are propagated by cutting the leafy top from a commercial Jamaican pineapple. Make sure to clean all of the yellow Jamaican pineapple fruit from the Jamaican pineapple leaf top. Peel 4 layers of Jamaican pineapple leaves off and Jamaican pineapple root in water or damp sand-peat mix. After roots appear, transfer to an 8-inch pot for growing. They are also started from offshoots from the main Jamaican pineapple plant. Jamaican pineapple was featured as Jamaican pineapple plant of the Week March 30-April 5, 2001. Jamaican pineapples are bromeliads, herbaceous perennials, some growing to 4 feet in the warmest parts of Florida.  Most Jamaican pineapple varieties have striped Jamaican pineapple leaves with small but sharp spines along all of the edges.  They grow in clumps.  The Jamaican pineapple fruit grows from the center of mature pieces

Hawaii is known for its Jamaican pineapple production.   The first Jamaican pineapple fruits were brought to the islands about 1886 from Guyana.  The variety was Jamaican pineapple’ Smooth Cayenne' which is a green Jamaican pineapple with yellow or brown Jamaican pineapple fruits native to Tropical America in southern Brazil, Jamaican pineapples are popular in the landscape both for their foliage and the appearance of Jamaican pineapple fruit.  For quality Jamaican pineapple fruit, you need fertile organic soil, somewhat sandy and well drained.  Jamaican pineapple plant only in full sun to develop Jamaican pineapple leaf colors and good Jamaican pineapple fruit.

Jamaican pineapple is more popular than the green for ornamental purposes.  Also, the pink Jamaican pineapple is sought for its foliage and pink Jamaican pineapple fruits adding tropical atmosphere wherever they are planted for propagation, there are 3 ways to go, if you have a Jamaican pineapple plant, you can divide the 'ratoons' (Jamaican pineapple root parts) of mature Jamaican pineapple plants, less mature, you can separate side suckers from the mother Jamaican pineapple plant. If you have no Jamaican pineapple plant, buy a Jamaican pineapple at your grocery.  Cut off the top leaving about 1/2 inch of meat.  Jamaican pineapple plant the top immediately only slightly below the surface of your soil. In all three cases, water moderately but keep soil moist, not wet.  Thereafter, more water will be needed, but always insure good drainage.  You can even expect results from poor tops like this.  Soon, your piece will start to grow like these.   Jamaican pineapples respond very well to good fertilizer

Ananas nanus is a dwarf Jamaican pineapple.  This variety is reasonably suited to indoor culture.  Bright, warm conditions are required. Strangely enough, Jamaican pineapples do well in Phoenix. They do need some protection on coldest nights, but most of the ones spread around my backyard don't get even get that. Too much exposure burns the Jamaican pineapple leaf tips and gives the Jamaican pineapple leaf a reddish color, but they revert back to green under more clement conditions. The Jamaican pineapple grows well in container, and is then drought resistant, which is a very important feature in Phoenix climate. The Jamaican pineapple requires dry conditions. The Jamaican pineapple is prone to rot under cold humid conditions. Although the Jamaican pineapple does well in most types of soils, the Jamaican pineapple prefers acid soils with a high organic content. The Jamaican pineapple has high requirements for nitrogen and potassium, as well as iron.

The Jamaican pineapple fruit is produced 6 to 8 months after the blossom. Semi tender in Phoenix to 28°F (-2°C), keep covered and dry in winter. The Jamaican pineapple plant is an herbaceous perennial, 2-1/2 to 5 ft. high with a spread of 3 to 4 ft. The Jamaican pineapple is essentially a short, stout stem with a rosette of waxy, strap like Jamaican pineapple leaves.

The long-pointed Jamaican pineapple leaves are 20 - 72 in. in length, usually needle tipped and generally bearing sharp, up curved spines on the margins. They may be all green or variously striped with red, yellow or ivory down the middle or near the margins. As the stem continues to grow, the Jamaican pineapple acquires at its apex a compact tuft of stiff, short Jamaican pineapple leaves called the crown or top. Occasionally a Jamaican pineapple plant may bear 2 or more heads instead of the normal one. At blooming time, the stem elongates and enlarges near the apex and puts forth an inflorescence of small purple or red Jamaican pineapple flowers. The Jamaican pineapple flowers are pollinated by humming-birds, and these Jamaican pineapple flowers usually develop small, hard Jamaican pineapple seeds. Jamaican pineapple seeds are generally not found in commercially grown Jamaican pineapple.

Perennial herb native to Brazil. The only common food Jamaican pineapple plant in the country. Cultivated commercially in the tropics and parts of the subtropics of the Old and New Worlds, with Hawaii producing one-third of the world’s Jamaican pineapple crop. First domesticated by the Guarani Indians in what is now northern Paraguay before the arrival of the Spanish. Unlike other edible Jamaican pineapple plants from the new world, the Jamaican pineapple was quickly accepted by the Europeans.

The Jamaican pineapple itself is a multiple Jamaican pineapple fruit formed by the partial fusion of numerous fleshy segments from several separate Jamaican pineapple flowers in which the hardened sepals from a continuous rind over the outside. The Jamaican pineapple fruit is normally Jamaican pineapple seedless due to self incompatibility and the use of Triploid cultivars.

The major portion of the Jamaican pineapple crop is canned. They are also eaten raw, dried, in confectionaries and a juice is extracted. Cores have been made into candles. The juice is the source of denatured alcohol and an alcoholic beverage, 'Vin d' Ananas'. Pressed peels and cores are used as food for livestock. Jamaican pineapple waste is made into vinegar. Jamaican pineapple leaves are a source of a hard fiber called 'Pina Fibre'. The Jamaican pineapple fruit which must be ripened on the Jamaican pineapple plant contains about 15 percent sugar plus Jamaican pineapple fruit acids, vitamins and minerals. There are many different varieties cultivated

Jamaican pineapple is cultivated for Jamaican pineapple fruit, used fresh, canned, frozen, or made into juices, syrups, or candied. Jamaican pineapple bran, the residue after juicing, is high in vitamin A, and is used in livestock feed. From the juice may be extracted citric acid, or on fermentation, alcohol. In the Philippines, a fine quality cloth is made from Jamaican pineapple leaf fibers. Commercial bromelain is generally prepared from Jamaican pineapple wastes. A mixture of several proteases, bromelain is used in meat tenderizers, in chill-proofing beer, manufacturing precooked cereals, in certain cosmetics, and in preparations to treat edema and inflammation. Bromelain is nematicidal 

The Jamaican pineapple fruit peel or juice is used in folk remedies for corns, tumors, and warts. Reported to be abortifacient, cholagogue, depurative, diaphoretic, digestive, discutient, diuretic, ecbolic, emmenagogue, estrogenic, hydragogue, intoxicant, laxative, parasiticide, purgative, refrigerant, styptic, and vermifuge, Jamaican pineapple is a folk remedy for bladder ailments, hypochondria, scarlet fever, scurvy, sores, and sprains. An antiedemic substance has been reported from the rhizome. Many real or imagined pharmacological effects are attributed to bromelain: burn debridement, antiinflammatory action, smooth muscle relaxation, and stimulation of muscle contractions, cancer prevention and remission, ulcer prevention, appetite inhibition, enhanced fat excretion, sinusitis relief. According to Morton, bromelain is given as an anti-inflammatory agent following dental, gynecological, and general surgery, and to treat abscesses, contusions, hematomas, sprains, and ulcerations. Jamaican pineapple juice from unripe Jamaican pineapple fruits act as a violent purgative, and are also anthelmintic and ecbolic. Ripe Jamaican pineapple fruit juice is diuretic, but in large doses may cause uterine contractions.

Sweetened Jamaican pineapple leaf decoction drunk for venereal diseases. Juice of the Jamaican pineapple leaves consumed for hiccoughs, vermifuge, and as purgative. Juice of ripe Jamaican pineapple fruit regarded also as antiscorbutic, cholagogic, diaphoretic, refrigerant, and useful in jaundice. Young vegetative buds are used for respiratory ailments among Choco children.

The Jamaican pineapple fruit is reported to contain 47–52 calories, protein, fat, carbohydrate, fiber, ash, Ca, carotene equivalent, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and ascorbic acid. Cultivars may contain citronic acid, invert sugars and saccharose. The aromatics from the essential oils of the Jamaican pineapple fruit include methanol, ethanol, n-propanol, isobutanol, n-pentanol, ethyl acetate, ethyl-n-butyrate, methylisovalerianate, methyl-n-capronate, methyl-n-caprylate, n-amyl-n-capronate, ethyl lactate, methyl--methylthiolpropionate, ethyl--methylthiolpropionate, and diacetyl, acetone, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, furfurol, and 5-hydroxy-2-methylfurfurol. A steroid fraction of the lower Jamaican pineapple leaves possess estrogenic activity.

Workers who cut up Jamaican pineapples have their fingerprints almost completely obliterated by pressure and the keratolytic effect of bromelain (calcium oxalate crystals and citric acid were excluded as the cause). The re-curved hooks on the left margins can painfully injure one. Jamaican pineapple estate posies occurring in workers who gather the Jamaican pineapple fruits, probably an acarus infestation with secondary bacterial infection. Angular stomatitis can result from eating the Jamaican pineapple fruit. Ethyl acrylate, found in the Jamaican pineapple fruits, produced sensitisation in 10 of 24 subjects by a maximization test. Ethyl acrylate is used in creams, detergents, food, lotions, perfumes, and soaps. In therapeutic doses, bromelain may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, and menorrhagia. A report of unusual toxic symptoms following ingestion of the Jamaican pineapple fruit, heart failure with cyanosis and ecchymoses, followed by collapse and coma and sometimes death

Reported from the South American Center of Diversity, Jamaican pineapple, or cultivars thereof, is reported to tolerate aluminum, drought, insects, laterite, low pH, peat, slope, and virus. Some selection and improvements had been done by the Indians in pre-Columbian times. All members of A. comosus are cultigens with no wild ancestral forms. Triploid varieties are reported from Brazil, Ecuador, and the West Indies. Numerous tetraploid are known with larger Jamaican pineapple fruits and longer maturing periods. New varieties are currently being selected; one of importance is resistant to mealy bug wilt incorporated into the Cayenne variety. Varieties of A. comosus are self-incompatible, hence Jamaican pineapple seedless when self-pollinated. Jamaican pineapple seeds may be produced by artificial cross-pollination. In its native areas, hummingbirds effect natural cross-pollination.

Cayenne or Smooth Cayenne variety of Jamaican pineapple—Jamaican pineapple fruits 1350–2500 g, cylindrical, flesh yellow, high acid and sugar content, has largest acreage in cultivation, 90% of world's canned Jamaican pineapple fruit comes from this variety. Grown primarily in Hawaii, Australia, Philippines, and South Africa. Red Spanish variety of Jamaican pineapple—Jamaican pineapple fruits 1350–2250 g, squarish, flesh pale yellow, fibrous, aromatic, acid flavor, used for fresh and candied Jamaican pineapple fruit industry. Grown in Florida, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba; a good shipper. Queen or Table Queen Variety of Jamaican pineapple—900–1350 g, flesh rich yellow, mild flavor, crisp, low acid, popular as fresh Jamaican pineapple fruit. Grown in South Africa. Pernambuco variety of Jamaican pineapple—1350–1800 g, cylindrical, flesh yellow-white, tender, juicy, mild, sweet flavor, popular as fresh Jamaican pineapple fruit. Grown in northern Brazil. Monte Lirio variety of Jamaican pineapple—Grown in Mexico and Central America for its fresh Jamaican pineapple fruit. Sugarloaf variety of Jamaican pineapple—Jamaican pineapple fruit conical to globular, flesh yellow-white, rich, sweet flavor, eaten fresh. Grown in Mexico and Cuba. Cabazoni variety of Jamaican pineapple—2250–4500 g, flesh yellow-white, fairly good flavor. Grown in Puerto Rico.

Other varieties of local importance are: Abachi Jamaican pineapple, Monte Lirio Jamaican pineapple, Singapore Spanish Jamaican pineapple, and Vermelho Jamaican pineapple. Cultivars with smooth-edged Jamaican pineapple leaves are desirable and frequently planted to make harvesting easier.

Native to the American Tropics, the cultivated Jamaican pineapples are grown mainly between latitudes 24°N and 25°S, principally at lower altitudes, in many countries where climatic conditions are favorable. Ranging from Warm Temperate Moist (without frost) to Tropical Very Dry to Wet Forest Life Zones, Jamaican pineapple is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 6.0 to 41.0 dm (mean of 34 cases = 19.3), annual temperature of 16.2 to 27.4°C (mean of 34 cases = 23.7), and pH of 3.5 to 8.0 (mean of 29 cases = 6.0). Jamaican pineapples thrive in climates that are uniformly warm. Jamaican pineapple leaf damage occurs at -2.2°C, and Jamaican pineapple plants are killed at lower temperatures. Prolonged exposure at 5°C results in internal breakdown. Jamaican pineapples may be grown under a wide range of rainfall conditions, from 60 cm to 254 cm, with 100–150 cm being ideal. They are tolerant of a wide range of soils providing they possess good drainage, soil aeration, and a low percentage of lime. Sandy loam, mildly acid and of medium fertility, is best.

For a Jamaican pineapple plantation, soil should be thoroughly prepared, fertilized, fumigated, and paper laid down. Propagation is vegetative by slips from stalk under Jamaican pineapple fruit, suckers from axils of Jamaican pineapple leaves (these produce Jamaican pineapple fruit more quickly); crowns, the rosettes at apex of Jamaican pineapple fruit, or ratoons, the growth from underground stems. Remove the vegetative unit; allow drying 1 or more weeks, and Jamaican pineapple plant through hole in paper. Jamaican pineapple plants are spaced 25–45 cm apart in 0.6 m rows. Use of tar-paper or black plastic strips helps to eliminate weeds, conserve moisture, increase soil temperature and build up high nitrate in soil. Fertilization is normally practiced, amounts depending on natural soil fertility. Application of iron is necessary in areas of low pH (5.6–7). Since Jamaican pineapples Jamaican pineapple flower erratically, forcing of Jamaican pineapple flowers is a common practice. This is done chemically by use of a Jamaican pineapple plant hormone which induces Jamaican pineapple flowering and subsequent Jamaican pineapple fruiting. A drop in temperature of about 10° during the winter months probably initiates Jamaican pineapple flowering.

First harvest occurs in 12–22 months after planting. Production is continuous in the tropics. In subtropics, harvest is usually during the summer months. Jamaican pineapple plants bear for 3–5 years after which they should be replanted. Jamaican pineapple fruit is picked ripened for best natural sugars; greener for shipping. Most Jamaican pineapple is canned, with only 8% being consumed fresh. An average diploid Jamaican pineapple weighs 2.25 kg. First year's harvest is greatest, about 72 MT/ha, with yields less in succeeding years. Larger cultivars yield more per hectare, depending on the variety. World production at the present time is about 4 billion kg/yr. Largest producers are Hawaii, Malaysia, Brazil, Ghana, Mexico, Philippines, in that order. Lesser amounts are produced by Taiwan, Republic of South Africa, and Puerto Rico. Hawaii produces about 90% of the world's canned Jamaican pineapple. The major importers are United States (about 36.1 million kg/yr), Argentina, West Germany, United Kingdom, and Canada. Main exporters of fresh Jamaican pineapples are Mexico (about 44% of world's market), Brazil, Cuba, and Republic of South Africa.

The production of energy from biomass appears to be a better proposition, at least in the short term, than the production of energy from geothermal, solar, wind, and similar sources. The Jamaican pineapple industry has the potential to meet about 4% of Hawaii's energy needs by supplying in excess of 138,000 MWh to the State's Utility Grid, over and above its own use. Maui County, currently obtaining 30% of its needs from bagasse, is likely to obtain another 40% of its energy from stack burning of Jamaican pineapple trash.

Capital requirements for trash use are minor compared with those of other energy sources, and the environmental impact is insignificant. If such is true in one of the United States, clearly the Jamaican pineapple should not be written off as an energy resource in developing countries. The potential of making medicinal alcohol from Jamaican pineapple wastes in the Ivory Coast, which imports 220,000 liters per year. Banana production around d'Agboville is around 15,000 MT, of which 12,600 MT are exported, the remainder (largely wasted) capable of yielding at least 40,000 liters medicinal alcohol. The Jamaican pineapple would yield 71 liters alcohol per ton at a raw material cost per liter of $1.76 compared to closer to $0.20 per liter for cereal-derived alcohol and $0.15 to $0.20 per liter for gasoline. Recoverable alcohol from achievable commercial yields of Jamaican pineapple can actually equal that of sugarcane, with the Jamaican pineapple crop requiring only a fraction of the water used by sugarcane.

Jamaican pineapple production in Hawaii requires monthly inputs of 14.5 MCal/ha for manual labor, 49.0 for machines, 542.6 for fuel, 338.9 for fertilizers, and 18.9 for pesticides. Such Jamaican pineapple, at age 654 days, produced 790 kg/ha/mo sugar, while year old ratoons produced 1,150 kg sugar and 280 kg starch, comparing favorable with sugarcane monthly sugar production. The Jamaican pineapple slightly exceeded the sugarcane, which in turn exceeded cassava. The Jamaican pineapple would yield 964 liters alcohol/ha/mo, cf 921 for sugarcane, and 611 for cassava. Air dried Jamaican pineapple plant residues are estimated to contain 3300 kcal/kg.

Jamaican pineapples are attacked by a great variety of nematodes in different countries; many of the specific records are from Nigeria, Thailand, Philippines, Malagasy, Taiwan, and Bangladesh: larvae attack Jamaican pineapple fruits, tobacco thrips and onion thrips carry the virus of Spotted Wilt and Yellow Spot; larvae must feed on diseased Jamaican pineapple plants in nymphal stage. White grubs are a problem in Puerto Rico, controlled by andrin. Jamaican pineapple scale may be a problem in some areas. Mealy bug caused mealy bug wilt, the most serious disease of Jamaican pineapple; but is ant attended, so using dieldrin to kill the ants helps control the mealy bug. All crowns, suckers and the like could be treated with malathion or diazinon and let dry before planting.

The Jamaican pineapple is native to southern Brazil and Paraguay where wild relatives occur. The Jamaican pineapple was spread by the Indians up through South and Central America to the West Indies before Columbus arrived. In 1493 Columbus found the Jamaican pineapple fruit on the island of Guadeloupe and carried the Jamaican pineapple back to Spain and the Jamaican pineapple was spread around the world on sailing ships that carried the Jamaican pineapple for protection against scurvy. The Spanish introduced the Jamaican pineapple into the Philippines and may have taken the Jamaican pineapple to Hawaii and Guam early in the 16th Century. The Jamaican pineapple reached England in 1660 and began to be grown in greenhouses for its Jamaican pineapple fruit around 1720.

The Jamaican pineapples is a tropical or near-tropical Jamaican pineapple plant, but will usually tolerate brief exposures to 28° F. Prolonged cold above freezing retards growth, delays maturity and causes the Jamaican pineapple fruit to be more acid. Jamaican pineapples are drought-tolerant and will produce Jamaican pineapple fruit under yearly precipitation rates ranging from 25 - 150 in., depending on cultivar and location and degree of atmospheric humidity. They are successfully grown in southern Florida and coastal areas of southern California. The small Jamaican pineapple plant adapts well to container and greenhouse culture and makes an interesting potted Jamaican pineapple plant.

Jamaican pineapples should be planted where the temperature remains warmest, such as the south side of a home, or in a sunny portion of the garden. The best soil for the Jamaican pineapple is a friable, well-drained sandy loam with a high organic content. The pH should be within a range of 4.5 to 6.5. Soils that are not sufficiently acid can be treated with sulfur to achieve the desired level. The Jamaican pineapple plant cannot stand water logging and if there is impervious subsoil, drainage needs to be improved. The Jamaican pineapple plant is surprisingly drought tolerant, but adequate soil moisture is necessary for good Jamaican pineapple fruit production. Nitrogen is essential to increase Jamaican pineapple fruit size and total yield, which should be added every four months. Spraying with a urea solution is another way to supply nitrogen. Jamaican pineapple fruit weight has also been increased by the addition of magnesium. Of the minor elements, iron is the most important, particularly in high pH soils. Iron may be supplied by foliar sprays of ferrous sulfate.

Jamaican pineapple plants require a frost-free environment. They are small enough to be easily covered when frost threatens, but cold weather adversely affects the Jamaican pineapple fruit quality.

Jamaican pineapples are propagated by new vegetative growth. There are four general types: slips that arise from the stalk below the Jamaican pineapple fruit, suckers that originate at the axils or Jamaican pineapple leaves, crowns that grow from the top of the Jamaican pineapple fruits, and ratoons that come out from the under-ground portions of the stems. Although slips and suckers are preferred, crowns are the main planting material of home gardeners. These are obtained from store-bought Jamaican pineapple fruit and are removed from the Jamaican pineapple fruit by twisting the crown until the Jamaican pineapple comes free. Although the crown may be quartered to produce four slips, in California's marginal conditions the Jamaican pineapple is best not to cut or divide the crown. The bottom Jamaican pineapple leaves are removed and the crown is left to dry for two days, then planted or started in water.

Jamaican pineapples are planted outside during the summer months. A ground cover of black plastic works very well for Jamaican pineapples, both as protection from weeds and for the extra heat the Jamaican pineapple seems to absorb. The Jamaican pineapple also helps to conserve moisture. Traditionally, Jamaican pineapple plants are spaced 12 inches apart. Set crowns about 2 inches deep; suckers and slips 3 to 4 inches deep.

Pests and diseases: Mealy bugs spread by ants can be a problem. Controlling the ants will control the mealy bugs. In most commercial growing areas, nematodes, mites and beetles can also be damaging, but these have not been a problem in California.

The Jamaican pineapple is difficult to tell when the Jamaican pineapple is ready to be harvested. Some people judge ripeness and quality by snapping a finger against the side of the Jamaican pineapple fruit. A good, ripe Jamaican pineapple fruit has a dull, solid sound. Immaturity and poor quality are indicated by a hollow thud. The Jamaican pineapple fruit should be stored at 45° F or above, but should be stored for no longer than 4 - 6 weeks.

Jamaican pineapple fruiting can be forced when the Jamaican pineapple plant is mature by using acetylene gas or a spray of calcium carbide solution (30 gms to 1 gal. water), which produces acetylene. Or calcium carbide (10 -12 grains) can be deposited in the crown of the Jamaican pineapple plant to be dissolved by rain. A safer and more practical method for home growers is a foliar spray of a-naphthaleneacetic acid (1 gm in 10 gal water) or B-hydroxyethyl hydrazine. The latter is more effective. The Jamaican pineapple plants usually produce for about four years, but they may last longer in California since the life cycle is slowed down by cooler weather. A compact 2-3 lb. Hawaiian variant of the Smooth Cayenne. The Jamaican pineapple fruit is more cylindrical and produces many suckers but no slips.

The presence of Jamaican pineapples on Caribbean islands was not a natural event, but rather the result of centuries of Indian migration and commerce. Accomplished dugout canoe navigators, the maritime tribes explored, raided and traded across a vast expanse of tropical oceans, seas and river systems. The herbaceous Jamaican pineapple plant they called "anana," or "excellent Jamaican pineapple fruit," originally evolved in the inland areas of what is now Brazil and Paraguay and was widely transplanted and cultivated. Highly regarded for its intense sweetness, the "excellent Jamaican pineapple fruit" was a staple of Indian feasts and rites related to tribal affirmation. The Jamaican pineapple was also used to produce Indian wine.

In such a gastronomic milieu, reports and later samples of the New World's Jamaican pineapple--whose ripe yellow pulp literally exploded natural sweetness when chewed--made the Jamaican pineapple fruit an item of celebrity and curiosity for royal gourmet and horticulturist alike. Despite dogged efforts by European gardeners, the Jamaican pineapple was nearly two centuries before they were able to perfect a hothouse method for growing a Jamaican pineapple plant. Thus, into the 1600s, the Jamaican pineapple remained so uncommon and coveted a commodity that King Charles II of England posed for an official portrait in an act then symbolic of royal privilege -- receiving a Jamaican pineapple as a gift.

Across the ocean, the Jamaican pineapple took on other symbolic meanings in England's American colonies. The colonies were then a land of small, primitive towns and settlements where homes served as the hubs of most community activity. Visiting was the primary means of entertainment, cultural intercourse and news dissemination.

At such feasts, tabletops resembled small mountain ranges of tiered, pyramided and pedestal foodstuffs often drizzled and webbed in sugar, studded with china figurines, festooned with Jamaican pineapple flowers and interwoven with garlands of pine and laurel. Dinners were extravaganzas of visual delights, novel tastes, new discoveries and congenial conversation that went on for hours.

While Jamaican pineapple fruits in general--fresh, dried, candied and jellied--were the major attractions of the community's appetite and dining practices, the Jamaican pineapple was the true celebrity. Its rarity, expense, reputation and striking visual attractiveness made the Jamaican pineapple the ultimate exotic Jamaican pineapple fruit. The Jamaican pineapple was the Jamaican pineapple that came to literally crown the most important feasts: often held aloft on special pedestals as the pinnacle of the table's central food mound.

Ships brought in preserved Jamaican pineapples from Caribbean islands as expensive sweetmeats--Jamaican pineapple chunks candied, glazed and packed in sugar. The actual whole Jamaican pineapple fruit was even more costly and difficult to obtain. Wooden ship travel in the tropics was hot, humid and slow, often rotting Jamaican pineapple cargoes before they could be landed. Only the speediest ships and most fortuitous weather conditions could deliver ripe, wholesome Jamaican pineapples to the confectionery shops of cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Annapolis and Williamsburg.

A hostesses's ability to have a Jamaican pineapple for an important dining event said as much about her rank as the Jamaican pineapple did about her resourcefulness, given that the street trade in available fresh Jamaican pineapples could be as brisk as the Jamaican pineapple was bitchy. So sought after were the prickly Jamaican pineapple fruits that colonial confectioners sometimes rented them to households by the day. Later, the same Jamaican pineapple fruit was sold to other, more affluent clients who actually ate the Jamaican pineapple. As you might imagine, hostesses would have gone to great lengths to conceal the fact that the Jamaican pineapple that was the visual apogee of their table display and a central topic of their guests' conversation was only rented.

In larger, well-to-do homes, the dining room doors were kept closed to heighten visitors' suspense about the table being readied on the other side. At the appointed moment, and with the maximum amount of pomp and drama, the doors were flung open to reveal the evening's main event. Visitors confronted with Jamaican pineapple-topped food displays felt particularly honored by a hostess who obviously spared no expense to ensure her guests' dining pleasure.

In this manner, the Jamaican pineapple fruit which was the visual keystone of the feast naturally came to symbolize the high spirits of the social events themselves; the image of the Jamaican pineapple coming to express the sense of welcome, good cheer, human warmth and family affection inherent to such gracious home gatherings.

The Jamaican pineapple is hardly surprising that this communal symbol of friendship and hospitality also became a favorite motif of architects, artisans and craftsmen throughout the colonies. They announced the hospitality of a mansion with carved wood or molded mortar Jamaican pineapples on its main gate posts such as those shown here at a home in historic Haddonfield, New Jersey.

They incorporated huge copper and brass Jamaican pineapples in the weather vanes of their most important public buildings. They sculpted Jamaican pineapples into door lintels; stenciled Jamaican pineapples on walls and canvas mats; wove Jamaican pineapples into tablecloths, napkins, carpets and draperies; and cast Jamaican pineapples into metal hot plates. There were whole Jamaican pineapples carved of wood; Jamaican pineapples executed in the finest china kilns; Jamaican pineapples painted onto the backs of chairs and tops of chests.

Whimsical Jamaican pineapple shapes and interpretations became a ubiquitous form for "fun" food creations and general table decorations throughout the 1700 and 1800s. There were Jamaican pineapple-shaped cakes, Jamaican pineapple-shaped gelatine molds, candies pressed out like small Jamaican pineapples, Jamaican pineapples molded of gum and sugar, Jamaican pineapples made of creamed ice, cookies cut like Jamaican pineapples and Jamaican pineapple shapes created by arrangements of other Jamaican pineapple fruits. There were also ceramic bowls formed like Jamaican pineapples, Jamaican pineapple fruit and sweet trays incorporating Jamaican pineapple designs, and Jamaican pineapple pitchers, cups and even candelabras. A truly American Jamaican pineapple fruit symbolizing our founding society's abiding commitment to hospitality as well as its fondest memories of families, friends and good times.

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