Pineapples are of the Bromeliad family; a large and diversified family with approximately 2000 species. However, it is the only fruit in this family to be cultivated for commercial purposes. The pineapple is a native of dry forests or thorn scrub type forests in South America although its exact origin is debatable. Older sources have this fruit originating from southern Brazil and Paraguay, but a recent study suggests that it may have appeared in northern Brazil, Colombia, or Venezuela. This confusion is partly due to the diversity of types of pineapple cultivated by Indians in the whole of Tropical America before Columbus arrived.
The Indian Caribbean took it to Guadalupe, from where it was brought to Europe by Columbus in 1493. Then, the pineapple was distributed to the Pacific Islands, India, and Africa by the Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the 16th and 17th centuries. Its first commercial plantation was established in Oahu, in 1885, and Hawaii was the world's largest producer up until the 1960s. At the time, urban development and lack of work forced production to move particularly to the Philippines. The Hawaiian industry continued slowly spiralling downwards in the last decade of the 20th century and currently produces only 2% of the world’s pineapple.
In addition to its excellent aroma and flavour, from a nutritional point of view, the pineapple is a source of vitamin C.
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