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Pink pineapples vary in size from small to medium, depending on cultivation techniques, and have an oval to cylindrical shape, topped with a crown of pointed, smooth-edged, green leaves. The skin is firm, waxy, and rough, comprised of hexagonal sections with eyes. The skin is also categorized as having a “tiger” shell color, which is variegated hues of red, yellow, orange, and green. Underneath the surface, the pulp or flesh ranges in color from pale pink to red with yellow spots and is aqueous, semi-fibrous, and firm, encasing an inedible central core. Pink pineapples are aromatic and have a fruity, tropical, and very sweet flavor with some acidity.
Pink pineapples are available year-round, with a peak season in the late spring through summer.
Pink pineapples, botanically classified as Ananas comosus, are a rare, pink-fleshed variety belonging to the Bromeliaceae family. The cultivar was created by Del Monte Fresh Produce in the early 21st century and was granted a patent through the United States Patent Trademark Office in 2015, officially under the name Rosé. Pink pineapples are also known as Extra Sweet Pink Flesh pineapples and are a genetically engineered variety, created specifically to have a distinct flesh color with a red to pink hue. The coloring in the flesh is created from increased levels of carotenoids, specifically lycopene, which is the pigment naturally found in fruits, such as tomatoes, that gives the flesh a pink-red hue. Despite its genetic engineering, Pink pineapples have been labeled as safe for consumption through the FDA and are favored for their sweet taste and coloring.
Pink pineapples are a good source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system. In addition to vitamin C, the fruits contain high amounts of carotenoids, including lycopene, which are phytonutrients that give the flesh its colored hue. Pink pineapples also provide lower amounts of manganese, potassium, and folate.
Pink pineapples are best suited for fresh applications as the sweet flavor and colored flesh are showcased when consumed straight, out-of-hand. The flesh can be sliced and displayed on appetizer platters, skewered with other fruits, or cubed and mixed into fruit salads. Pink pineapples can also be chopped and stirred into salsa, lightly grilled and layered onto roasted meats, pureed into sauces and marinades, or stir-fried in rice-based dishes. Beyond food preparations, Pink pineapples can be blended into smoothies, juiced into fruit punches, or used to decorate and flavor cocktails. Pink pineapples pair well with herbs such as mint, rosemary, cilantro, and basil, bell peppers, meats such as fish, poultry, beef, and pork, and fruits such as strawberries, mangoes, coconut, and bananas. Whole Pink pineapples will keep at room temperature for 1 to 3 days and in the refrigerator for 4 to 7 days. Sliced pieces of fruit will keep 1 to 3 days when stored in a sealed container in the fridge.
In 2017, Pink pineapples went viral across social media platforms in the United States, depicting brightly colored fuchsia fruits. The trending posts paralleled the pineapple’s popularity as a decorative home item and were introduced as another unique fruit to use as a serving bowl, mug, and table centerpiece. Despite its instant fame, Pink pineapples have been surrounded in mystery since their introduction, as much of the press about the variety came when the fruit was still in its testing phase. Del Monte Fresh Produce has not featured the variety on its social media platforms, and many of the photos posted online were from third party sources who had doctored and edited the images to show fruits with bright pink skin instead of flesh. Some sources also posted photos of the ornamental red saigon pineapple and were labeling it as a Pink pineapple. In the present-day, Pink pineapples are appearing through select specialty grocers and are known for their colored flesh, not colored exterior. There are rumors that other varieties of Pink pineapples are being grown in other parts of the world, including Hawaii, but sources have remained unconfirmed.
Pink pineapples were created through Del Monte Fresh Produce, a global producer and distributor of fresh fruits and vegetables. The well-known brand is often recognized for its sweet pineapples, especially for its famous golden extra sweet pineapple, which was created in the 20th century. The pink-fleshed variety was developed from the Del Monte gold pineapple in 2005 at a research facility in Costa Rica. In 2010, cultivation was expanded for further studies, and the variety was tested for an additional four years. Pink pineapples were evaluated in 2013 and 2016 by the United States Food and Drug Administration and were deemed as safe as regular yellow-fleshed pineapples for consumption. Today Pink pineapples are available through select retailers across the United States. The variety is somewhat challenging to find and considered to be a specialty fruit.