The Jamaican Pineapple

I’ve been eating pineapples all my life but it wasn’t until about a year ago that I discovered that there are different varieties. On a recent visit to Croydon Plantation (more on that later), I tasted the Cowboy, Ripley and Sugar Loaf.**

Ripley Pineapple
The Ripley

Some Pineapple Facts

The pineapple was brought to Jamaica from South America by the Tainos, the island’s first inhabitants. The Spanish took it to Spain, then to Hawaii and the Philippines, and other countries.

Five golden pineapple can be seen on the red cross on the Jamaican Coat of Arms, which has been in use since the 1600s.

Jamaica Coat of Arms, pineapples
Jamaica Coat of Arms

Pineapples are cultivated island-wide but the main growing areas are in the parishes of St. Elizabeth, St. James, Westmoreland and Portland, and the main reaping time is from May to July. Most of the pineapples grown here are consumed locally.

Besides being delicious, the pineapple is an excellent source of Vitamins C, B1, B6, copper, manganese and dietary fiber. It can be eaten fresh, baked, juiced, or even grilled.

Fresh pineapple juice can be used as a meat tenderizer.

The pineapple can also help to prevent inflammation.

All of the fruit, except for the top, which can be replanted, is eaten here. We combine the peel with ginger to make a delicious drink (recipe follows).

**Del Monte scientists have developed a new strain of pineapple variety, the MD2, which is sweeter, grows to a uniform size, ripens evenly, and has a longer shelf life.

How to Peel a Pineapple

Using a sharp knife, cut from top to bottom.
Remove the eyes by cutting a long V-shaped channel diagonally down through the centers of the diamond
Remove the crown and the bottom end.
Cut into slices and remove the core from each slice, or leave the core in. (I eat the entire slice, core included.)

Pineapple Ginger Drink

Peel of a fresh pineapple, washed. You can also use the fruit but the peel holds more of the flavor.
2-4 ounces of fresh peeled ginger
4-5 cups water
Reserve a few chunks of pineapple to garnish
Maraschino cherry to garnish

Bring water to boil. Add pineapple and ginger to a metal pot or large pitcher that can withstand heat (you don’t want to use anything that would leach into the drink). Let steep overnight. Strain off the juice and add sugar to taste. Add ice. Garnish with pineapple chunks or a Maraschino cherry.

Did you know that there are different varieties of pineapple?


This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.

This week, I’m also linking up with the Friday Daydreaming series organized by Becca at Rwethereyetmom. Hope to see you there!

62 comments on “The Jamaican Pineapple

  1. Hi Marcia, what an interesting history bit about pineapple! Who knew? No, didn’t know there were several varieties of them. And I like their names – Cowboy, Ripley and Sugar Loaf 🙂 Thanks for the Pineapple Ginger drink recipe. Would love to try it.

  2. I’m a pineapple fan too but didn’t know there are different varieties! Grilled pineapple and vanilla ice cream make an easy, fast and wonderful dessert.

  3. I learned about the different varieties during an extended trip through Central America several years ago – after coming down with a stomach problem when I ate a few too many of a small variety I bought for about a dime apiece in a market somewhere in Honduras. I still love the fruit, but do curb my enthusiasm when eating it. 🙂

    Thanks for the drink recipe, two of my favorite flavors.

  4. Love that you gave instructions for peeling a pineapple because it always seem so intimidating for me! I’m definitely going to remember this post next time. And the drink sounds so refreshing and delicious–will be putting that one aside too!

  5. I had no idea that pineapple peel was edible. Well, steepable (is that a word?). We enjoy pineapple and ginger. I’m sure this beverage would be a hit at our house. Thank you.

  6. Do I ever like the sound of that pineapple drink! I guess I hadn’t really thought about the different types but it makes perfect sense. They are one of my fave fruits – just wish we had them farm fresh the way you do.
    Great photo of the Ripley.

  7. We have three varieties in the markets in Townsville, North Queensland. I don’t know their real names. We call them Rough Skins, Smooth Skins, and the latest one is a hybrid which is large and super sweet. Part of life in the tropics is having fresh pineapple on the table at a BBQ. We do not have one the colour of yours. Ours are all variations of yellow/orange.

  8. I didn’t know there were different pineapple varieties. Is it sad that Hawaii is the first thing that comes to mind when I hear pineapple? Now I’ll know for my next visit to the Dole Plantation about varieties. I didn’t know about its history in Jamaica either. I don’t remember it in the Philippines either 🙂 Thanks for the tips and I’m trying out that drink mix.

  9. Hi Marcia 🙂 I found your blog through your comment on Jan’s interview of me this week. I loved reading about pineapple today. 🙂 I didn’t realize there were so many different varieties. I too have been studying the benefits of pineapple, and tried a delicious new drink this week. Mmm. 🙂

  10. Hello Krista,
    Thanks for stopping by. Great to read about your adventures.
    Pineapples are very nutritious and delicious. Do you have many varieties in Australia?
    Would love to hear about your pineapple drink.

  11. You’re welcome, Mary. I think Hawaii is the largest or is among the largest exporters of pineapples so it’s not surprising that you think Hawaii first. Like Del Monte, Dole’s probably come up with their own variety that’s sweeter and has a longer shelf life than the ones we grow here.

  12. It’s one of the best part of life in the tropics — all the fresh fruits we have. The photo I have of the Ripley is an unripe one. If I’m not mistaken, it turns another yellow-ish when it’s ripe so it could be one of yours. Would be great to compare notes, eh?

  13. Thanks, Leigh. Hope you get a chance to try the drink – it is really refreshing and delicious.
    Oh, maybe you’ll get some fresh ones when you go to CR later.

  14. I do know what you mean, Kate. Peeling a pineapple can be intimidating but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be doing it in no time.
    Hope you enjoy the drink.

  15. You’re welcome, Bob. Hope you get to try it one of these days.
    Sorry to hear about your stomach problems. I guess it’s not good to eat too much of anything, eh?
    Hope it wasn’t too serious.

  16. The things you learn on the internet. LOL! I only thought there was one kind.

    Now to wait for them to be in season here….

  17. That’s a good questions, Marcia. I honestly didn’t know there were varieties until I read your post. 🙂 But I will look from now on. 🙂 My favorite drink right now is one pineapple, 2 pears, 1 can coconut milk whizzed up in the blender. SO good. 🙂

  18. I love the red colour of your pineapple. Ours are all a yellow/orange colour. The pineapple ginger drink sounds refreshing.

  19. There’s a wealth of information in this post about pineapples that I never would have dreamed of, Marcia! And, no, I didn’t know that there were different varieties.

  20. You’re probably like most of us, Laurel, only interested in whether it’s sweet or not.
    Hope you get to try the drink. Do you get pineapples in Germany?

  21. I become crazy when the topic of discussion is pineapples. I love this amazing fruit since childhood, my whole family has nicknamed me as pine, because of my love for this great fruit. I was not at all aware with the jamaican pineapple, it looks serene and adorable. Reading the facts about pineapple was a treat. Thanks for the share.

  22. You’re welcome, Aayna. Great to meet someone who’s crazy for pineapples. I love them too!
    Glad to share those pineapple facts with you.

  23. That recipe sounds delicious. I must try it soon. There are different varieties of pineapple available at my local wet market. The stand usually has them cut-up and can tell me the flavor characteristics of each one like sweet vs. tart. Great picture!

  24. I cannot resist this fruit now. Thanks for sharing the useful information about this yummy fruit. I do not eat raw pineapple but love it in the form of ice cream, shake or smoothie.

  25. Nope, I had no idea about all the varieties of pineapple. In fact, I didn’t know any of the interesting facts, including how the pineapple came to Jamaica and even Hawaii. Thanks for the tips, too.

  26. Love pineapple, and that is a gorgeous shot. When I’m in Thailand I buy it from the fruit vendors ready to eat. It’s not only delicious, but very cheap!

  27. It is quite beautiful, isn’t it? I’d never seen one that color before — it’s not quite ready yet.
    It changes color when it is. Like you, I could eat them everyday too!

  28. You’re welcome, Cathy. I was also surprised by the number of different varieties but as long as they’re sweet, it’s all that counts.
    Hope the tips are helpful.

  29. Thanks, Michele. Glad you like the photo.
    I like that they tell you which is sweet or tart. I wonder if you have any of the varieties that we have here.

  30. That could be another variety of pineapple or it could be yellow/orange because it’s already ripe. The one in the photo is not quite ready yet.

  31. Oh, that sounds delicious, Krista. I’d love to try it but without the pears as we don’t have those here. I think it’d be a great drink, even without the pears. Thanks for sharing!

  32. The name alone sounds delicious – white Kona Sugarloaf, especially the sugarloaf part — no wonder you still think about it, Amy.
    Wonder if it’s available in Florida.

  33. Hahaha, Cheryl, it’s probably better than the library and more convenient too!
    Yes, I thought the same thing too. You know, there are probably different varieties of all kinds of fruits.

  34. Hope you get to try the drink, Marisol. Ginger makes everything taste more delicious.
    Yes, the names are pretty cool, especially the Cowboy. I can’t imagine why they’d call it that.

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