The Amazing Pineapple…..When was the last time you left one in your fruit bowl ?
The Cost of a fresh Pineapple………….
Up until quite recently, if you had wanted a fresh pineapple for dessert, it would have been a luxury, the price for a single fruit being enough for you to limit consuming them more than a few times a year. Now, however, most supermarkets and greengrocers sell them ‘cheap as chips’, – buy one get one free; 2 for £2.50 and so on. Surely this is good for everyone?
Well, the humble pineapple grows on a plant about 1.5 metres tall, which takes 2 years to produce fruit, and when it does, invariably only produces one fruit. It may go on to produce suckers which in turn will produce another fruit, but we are not talking shaking the tree and dozens of pineapple bouncing across the field to fill your basket! Having said this – Costa Rica which supplies ¾ of Europe’s pineapple imports are now producing over 300% more pineapples than even 5 years ago!
Fantastic! I hear you say….. a win/win situation!
In order to satisfy the European consumers voracious appetite for fresh pineapples, Costa Rican farmers are having to employ local and migrant workers to work 12 hour shifts and minimal wages; they are spraying crops with up to 20kg of pesticides per 100M2 (hectare) which in turn is contaminating the water supplies and making people ill; the pineapple will not ripen any more after picking so it is sprayed with chemicals to create ‘ethylene’ the ripening hormone, so that it can be picked green and ripen in the week it is being transported, this often creates an overripe fruit which is both unpleasant to eat and unsightly. Our local greengrocer says he throws away a dozen pineapple for every 2 dozen he imports.
So what to do?………
Juicy, fresh vibrant golden pineapple is a joy to eat on a summer’s afternoon, sprinkled with crushed mint and crushed sugar and eaten as it is, simply peeled and cored. If you want to make a difference, support organisations such as Fairtrade and the Rainforest Alliance who campaign for better conditions for workers; fair pay for an honest days’ work; a fair price paid to the farmers, as well as educating all concerned on biodiversity etc.
Look at the figures below…..
If a pineapple costs £1 in the shop
41p goes to the retailer
38p to the trader/importer
17p to the farmer/plantation owner
And the princely sum of 4p to the poor guy who sows the seed/ sprays the plants/ harvests and sorts the fruit!
I invite you to BE AWARE of where your food comes from, and honour it once you decide that you want it, and savour and enjoy every mouthful, – you will appreciate all the more the interesting life of that fruit and everyone who has helped in getting it from the plantation to you table!
And we have some lovely recipes just waiting for you to try and for a little teaser, for dessert we baked a whole pineapple filled with fresh lychees, cardamon and a little juice in a tagine pot, cooked slow and low in the centre of the oven, see the picture to whet your taste buds….
The Rambler, AKA Celia Dulieu
Celia has been sharing food, wine, recipes and friendship with Simon and Sue Gale for more than 15 years.
In a former life she was a mass caterer, working for large companies such as Selfridges, London; but after moving to the countryside with husband, 2 kids and dog, she resurrected her love of food, - particularly by entertaining her large extended family to lunches ,sharing informal get togethers with friends, and developing her small but productive kitchen garden. She is passionate about all things to do with food and wine; from where it is produced to how it arrived on her doorstep.
Celia’s love of meeting people, visiting places and trying different things has culminated in being invited to get involve with writing up the experiences of the Heart Kitchen and sharing her love of food with you through her ramblings.