Queen Tahiti Pineapples
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|Food Buzz: History of Pineapples|
|Food Fable: Pineapples|
Queen Tahiti pineapples are long and cylindrical with many sharply pointed and serrated, waxy, green leaves. The rind is golden yellow with green patches and has a rough, hexagonal texture, and the flesh is succulent and bright yellow. Queen Tahiti pineapples are sweet and juicy with a highly fragrant, perfume flavor.
Queen Tahiti pineapples are available year-round, with peak season in the late spring through summer.
Queen Tahiti pineapples, botanically classified as Ananas comosus, are the fruits of an herbaceous perennial and are members of the Bromeliaceae family along with Spanish moss. Also known as Painapo, Moorea pineapple, and Tahitian pineapple, Queen Tahiti pineapples are one of the most cultivated plants on Tahiti and its sister island Moorea and are sold fresh, juiced, or distilled to make wine.
Queen Tahiti pineapples are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin B1, manganese, and fiber.
Queen Tahiti pineapples are best served raw but can also be used in cooked preparations such as grilling. They are commonly sliced and used in a fruit salad or cubed and served as a topping for sorbets and ice cream. Queen Tahiti pineapples can also be distilled and used in wine or as a sweetener in cocktails. In addition to raw preparations, they can be grilled and served in meat or rice dishes. Queen Tahiti pineapples pair well with fish, meats such as poultry and pork, aromatics such as garlic and ginger, sauces such as sriracha, teriyaki, and soy sauce, sesame seeds, fresh coconut, and bell pepper. Queen Tahiti pineapples will keep up to two days when stored at room temperature and will keep up to seven days when stored in the refrigerator.
Moorea is northwest of Tahiti and is known as the pineapple center of French Polynesia. With over six-hundred acres of farmland with rich volcanic soil, Moorea produces the majority of Queen Tahiti pineapples and also has a juice factory that mixes pineapple juice with other local fruit juices for retail. The Queen Tahiti pineapple is one the major sources of income for the people of Moorea and to celebrate, they hold a yearly pineapple festival that includes fresh fruit tastings, pineapple wine, and traditional dishes cooked in a Ahimaa, or underground oven.
Pineapples are believed to be native to South America and were then spread across the world via British and Spanish explorers. The first record of pineapples in Tahiti dates back to 1777 in British explorer’s Captain Cook’s voyage log. Today, Queen Tahiti pineapples are available in local markets in French Polynesia, especially in Tahiti and Moorea.