Pineapple – What you need to know

Pineapples are by far the most juiced fruits in Ghana’s fresh juice industry. Did you know there are different varieties or types of pineapple?  Well, in this post, we are getting close and personal with this chap!

The pineapple has its botanical name as Ananas Comosus (now, that’s a mouth full) is a tropical plant.  The pineapple has multiple edible fruits consisting of coalesced berries. Now let me explain that.  The pineapple fruit is not one whole fruit like the orange or mango, but a lot of berries fused together. Essentially every “checked box” you see on the fruit is an individual berry. The varieties of pineapples we consume and have significant economic value belong to the plant family of Bromeliaceae.  Pineapples take 13 to 14 months to mature.

Pineapples can do well in the majority of the regions of Ghana provided there is sufficient moisture during the production period. At the moment cultivation of pineapple is concentrated in the southern sector of the country, mainly in the Eastern, Central, Greater Accra and Volta region. Until recently the common varieties cultivated are the smooth Cayenne and the Sugarloaf. The MD2 variety was introduced and has gained some popularity. The MD2 has been found not suitable for our ecology. Read all about it here.

The most important environmental factors for a pineapple to thrive are rainfall and temperature. Pineapple thrives in areas with temperatures of 20 to 36 degrees Celsius and rainfall of 600 to 4000 millimetres per year. It can make use of dew for growth and development.

There are five main cultivars of pineapple. These are:

  1. Cayenne ( Found in all major production centres in the world)
  2. Spanish ( Found in the Caribbean, Cuba and Malaysia)
  3. Queen ( Found in South Africa, Australia and Sri Lanka)
  4. Sugarloaf (Found in Brazil)
  5. Perolera ( Found in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru)

However the main varieties cultivated in Ghana are:

  1. Sugarloaf
  2. Smooth Cayenne
  3. MD2
  4. Queen

Sugarloaf

This is a sugarloaf pineapple

The sugar loaf is affectionately called Fante Fante in Ghana and mostly found in the Central Region of Ghana. The Sugarloaf pineapple is cylindrical in shape and smaller than the MD2, but I have seen some sugarloaf pineapples with sizes out of this universe! The Sugarloaf can take up 12 to 18 months to mature. The green lance-shaped leaves are edged with spikes. Always wear protective gloves when handling the Sugarloaf, a spike in your skin is a very serious matter.  The outer rind is thin and remains green even when mature with golden yellow colouration when fully ripe. Sugarloaf pineapples can be very sweet and extremely juicy. They can weigh up to2 kg. Sugarloaf when not fully ripe be very acidic and cause a lot of irritation in the mouth when eaten. Make it a point to stay away from unripe pineapple.

Smooth Cayenne

This is a smooth cayenne pineapple

This pineapple has been nicked named by farmers as “local”. The Smooth Cayenne is rounded and grow into very large fruits. Smooth Cayennes are very juicy. They yield more juice than the Sugarloaf variety. They are not sweet and tend to have a slightly watering taste, even when fully ripe. A fully matured Smooth Cayenne can weigh up to 3 Kg.  Juice producers favour the Smooth Cayenne because of its high juice yield. A mix of Sugarloaf and Smooth Cayenne will you sweetness and quantity.

MD2

This is the MD2

The MD2 pineapple is a variety of pineapple developed by the scientists of Del Monte that is sweeter than regular varieties. The MD2 always grow to a uniform size if properly tended and ripens evenly. The MD2 has a characteristic yellow juice and I have found the juice to sweeter than when the flesh is consumed. It is a good variety to incorporate into your juice if you want your juice to attain that rich golden yellow colouration.

Queen

This is the queen

The queen, also known as Queen Victorian pineapple or Baby South African pineapple is South African. They are smaller than the other varieties. Queen is very aromatic and sweet. The queen is not common in Ghana. To the best of my knowledge, the queen is mostly cultivated by Jei River Farms.

Are you new to the fresh juice business and would like to know how to start juicing pineapples? Lets chat here.

Resources

http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Sugar_Loaf_Pineapple_786.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineapple

http://jeiriverfarms.com/our-fruits/

http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Baby_Queen_Victoria_Pineapples_151.php