Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Pineapples are the large, pinecone-like fruit of Ananas comosus, a member of the bromeliad family (which includes bromeliad houseplants) and native to tropical but arid South America. (Ananas comes from a Guarani Indian word for the fruit; pineapple from the Spanish piña due to its resemblance to the similarly composite pinecone.) The plant had already spread to the Caribbean before Columbus saw it there in 1493, and modern breeding efforts began shortly thereafter in French and Dutch glasshouses.