Mmmm! Pineapples! These delicious, beautiful yellow fruits are almost too good to be eaten! Paired with coconut, they make a wonderful drink or frozen treat. Combined with oranges and limes, they create a delicious tropical juice!
But, if you’ve been wondering just what kind of fruit a pineapple really is, if it is indeed a citrus fruit, you may want to keep reading. The answer may surprise you!
Is pineapple a citrus fruit ?
Pineapples are not a citrus fruit. They belong to the Bromeliaceae family, while citrus fruits are from the Rutaceae family. Pineapple’s acidic notes come from the vitamin C content (47.8 mg/100 gr), not from citric acid.
You may have wondered this because pineapples are normally seen in combination with oranges, lemons, and even limes, which are all, of course, citrus fruits! Plus, they both share a tropical, acidic flavor!
What is a citrus fruit ?
Since you now know that pineapples are not citrus fruits, you may be wondering what a citrus fruit really is. The common misconception is that all tropical fruits are citrus fruits simply because citrus feels so tropical!
However, citrus fruits – like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits – are not even in the same family as pineapples. They are part of Rutaceae, a family of flowering plants that are native not to South America like the pineapple, but to Asia and Australia!
So, what is it about these fruits’ flavors that make people combine them into the same category?
Well, as far as we can tell, it’s simply because they taste “tropical.” What exactly does that mean? Both pineapples and citrus fruits are quite sweet and fragrant, but they are also acidic, containing both citric and ascorbic acid!
Yet pineapples are not citrus fruits. So then, the question becomes, what are they?
What kind of fruit is pineapple ?
Known also by its Latin name Ananas comosus, the pineapple is from the tropical Bromeliaceae family, most of which do not bear tasty, edible fruits.
Native to South America, it was actually discovered – officially, that is – by the 1493 expedition to the Americas by none other than the infamous Christopher Columbus.
The origin of the name ‘pineapple’
Upon his crew’s sight of this strange yet beautiful fruit, Columbus and his crew recognized how similar the pineapple resembled a pine cone.
This spiny, conical fruit’s likeness to the pine cone is actually responsible for half of its name! And with that, another myth debunked: pineapples are not related to pine trees, either!
The closest thing they have in common with pine trees is that both are evergreen plants.
The crew of Christopher Columbus also discovered that this pointy, tropical fruit’s flavor was sweet, yet tangy, like that of an apple, and so that’s what they called it.
Another confusing misnomer set straight, as pineapples are also not related to apples in any way save their existence as fruits.
Then what are pineapples ?
We know, we know! You’re dying to find out that if the pineapple is not a citrus fruit, nor is it related to pine trees or apples, what kind of fruit is it?
Well, folks, make sure you’re strapped into your seats because this one is going to shock you! Pineapples are actually a bunch of berries all fused into one fruit and connected by its central stalk.
Can you picture a beautiful, ripe, deep magenta raspberry? Or a scrumptious, jet black blackberry?
Can you picture all of their many outside seeds, each of their teeny, tiny little sections? Well, now picture a pineapple. Notice any similarities? You should, because pineapples are the same kind of fruit as raspberries and blackberries.
All three are known as aggregate fruits or one fruit made of many smaller sections derived from a single flower. Pretty darn amazing, huh?
What is a pineapple like ?
Although it is often confused with a citrus fruit, we now know that pineapples are more closely related to berries than oranges! But, now you’re probably wondering what they taste, feel, and look like.
If so, keep on reading to find out!
What does a pineapple look like ?
Well, we’ve established that pineapples look a bit like pine cones, at least according to Columbus’s crew back in the 15th century. But on the outsides, you will not just find brown and green spines.
You will also discover its heavily protected seeds! In fact, you may even have to cut into the bright yellow fruit to pick them out if you’re planning on sprouting them.
When still attached to their mother plant, pineapples are quite dangerous. Those spikes coming out from the top are certainly sharp enough to puncture skin, even when they’ve been sitting on a grocery store counter for a week.
On the inside, pineapples are quite moist! They’re best described as a semi-soft, tender texture, being both hard and soft, similar to a melon. The fruit gets harder the closer you are to the insides.
What does pineapple taste like ?
Though the crew of Christopher Columbus seemed to think that pineapples taste enough like apples to name them after that fruit, today we know that their flavor is completely unique.
In fact, many would say that their sweet and tart flavor is simply unparalleled in the world of fruit, unlike apples or citrus fruits despite their common pairings. It pretty much just screams tropical.
Most can agree that the pineapple tastes almost too sour to handle if it isn’t ripe because it isn’t sweet at all. To avoid this, we’ve included how you can tell if a pineapple is ripe or not!
Read Also:Why Are Pineapples Spiky ?
How to tell if a pineapple is ripe
Similar to some fruits (particularly melons), one simple way to tell if a pineapple is ripe or not is to take a whiff of its base.
If it’s ripe, your nose will grow happy at its fragrant, sweet tropical notes! If it’s underripe, it simply won’t smell. But if it’s overripe, the scent becomes more of an odor: pungent, sour, and very unpleasant.
But, that isn’t the only way to tell if a pineapple is ripe; plus, it certainly isn’t the most fun way!
If you get to a fresh pineapple quickly enough at your local green grocer, try pulling out one of its green leaves at the very center. If it slips right out, it’s ripe.
You won’t need to tug on it, so if it doesn’t come out easily, it isn’t ready for eating quite yet.