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History of the Pineapple

Visit Dambly’s today to grab the perfect housewarming gift: Pineapple Plants!

The pineapple maintains a special place in American culture. It’s one of the most popular fruits around, and the crux of one of the most controversial topics in our culture today: Does pineapple belong on pizza? Regardless of your stance on the great pineapple pizza debate (of course it does), there’s no denying the fruit’s versatility. There’s a very interesting story behind the pineapple’s popularization that not many people know, however. Like most American history lessons, the roots lie in Europe and South America.

Originally, the pineapple was grown in southern Brazil and Paraguay. It began to spread when the Carib Indians, masters of the canoe, brought some back to the Carib Islands. They dubbed the fruit the “anana”, or “excellent fruit” and stored it in jars.

During Christopher Columbus’s second voyage to the new world in 1493, he and his crew came across a deserted Carib Indian village. They found several pots containing fresh fruits and vegetables, including one labeled “anana”. Columbus and his crew ate and enjoyed the fruit, noting that it looked like a pinecone but have the texture of an apple. The fruit was dubbed “pine of the Indians” and loaded onto ships to return to Europe. When the explorers returned to Europe with pineapple, they found it was nearly impossible to grow. The climate was too harsh in some places, and the journey across the sea often caused the fruit to sour.

Still, the flavor of the fruit lingered in people’s minds. It became a fascination of royal cooks, but an effective method to grow them didn’t develop until 200 years later. In the meantime, the pineapple became so coveted that King Charles II of England posed with the fruit in an official portrait. From there, the pineapple became a symbol of royalty and was considered a worthy gift to the king.

When the 13 colonies began to form, memories of the pineapple were still fresh in people’s minds. Ships began to bring preserved pineapples from Caribbean islands as expensive delicacies. Still, most ships were too slow to bring it from the Caribbean to the colonies. Only the wealthiest and most resourceful people could find a fresh pineapple. Eventually, wealthy families began trying to use pineapples at key events to show appreciation to their guests. This led to another connotation for the pineapple: a symbol of friendship.

That’s enough history for now. It’s time for some fun facts. Did you know that the pineapple is actually a berry? People typically think of berries as small fruit, but the official definition is “a fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary”. This also makes oranges and tomatoes part of the berry family!

You can also grow pineapple plants by slicing off the top of the fruit and planting it in soil for an interesting tropical house plant. Place the top in a light soil mix with perlite and sand. Put the soil up to the base of its leaves, water thoroughly and place the plant in bright, indirect sunlight. It will take about 6-8 weeks for the plant’s roots to establish, and once they have they can take full sunlight.

You can buy pineapple plants at our store and use them as your own little house warming gift, just like the ones you’d find at Colonial Williamsburg! These plants look great and are very fun to grow, plus they’re a unique part of history. Carry on the tradition with pineapple plants from Dambly’s!

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