Friday, 10 July 2015

Cuba: Fresh Cuban Pineapples

One of my greatest pleasures in Cuba was fresh pineapple for breakfast every morning.

Supermarkets here in the UK are piled up with pineapples, they are not a novelty, but what a difference in flavour!  The Cuban pineapples were delicately perfumed, less acidic: gorgeous.

This beautiful example was growing on an organic farm in Vinales.  There was a whole field of them, each plant bearing one fruit.  The pineapple itself is composed of up to several hundred flowers that have joined together to create it.  I had no idea!

Why was the pineapple in Cuba so much nicer?  One reason has to be the freshness.  Another must be that the fruit is sun-ripened and harvested at its natural peak.  In intensive production elsewhere, the pineapples are sprayed with a chemical that accelerates ripening so that the whole crop is ready together (and in time for shipping, one assumes.)  That said, I think some are also harvested 'green' and can take days, even a week, in a fruit bowl at home before they seem edible, despite the label that proclaims them 'ripe and ready to eat.'

Then there's the variety.  I'm pretty sure the Cuban pineapples are a variety called 'pernambuco'. They have creamy white flesh and a sweet perfumed flavour, just like the ones I ate for breakfast. They are sublime.  Pernambuco is a variety which doesn't ship well.  That's why it's not a regular here in the UK.

If I had a pineapple pit, like the Victorian gardeners, pernambuco is the variety I would grow.  It may not be the reason people visit Cuba, but it's not to be missed while you're there.      


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