The red pineapple (Ananas bracteatus var. striatus) is a terrestrial bromeliad native to Paraguay and Brazil, but more recent study suggests it may be Colombia, and Venezuela. Although the fruit is not as well developed as the commercial pineapple (A. comosus), it is edible. The striatus variety has a wide white margin running along the edges of the leaf. When grown in bright light the plant has a pink tint. Once the fruit starts to develop, the plant becomes brilliant scarlet.
Ananas bracteatus propagates itself vegetative with four types of growth. The plant may grow ‘suckers’ from between the leaves, send out ‘slips’ from the stalk below the fruit, grow ‘rations’ from the underground stem, and the ‘crown’ at the top of the fruit produces roots between the lower leaves. If the plants are not divided every few years, the red pineapple will become a colony.
Red pineapple is an evergreen erect plant growing up to 1 meter tall, with a spread of 1-1.3 m. It has small, violet-purple flowers that emerge from between spiny, red or pink bracts on egg-shaped inflorescences. The inflorescences are followed by brownish pink to scarlet, leafy-topped, compound pineapple fruits. The leaves are long, linear, arching, solid dark green or variegated with white, pink, red, or yellow, and edged with sharp spines that curve up toward the leaf tips.
The red fruit is edible, although the fruit is not well developed as the pineapple (Ananas comosus). It takes about six months from flower to ripe fruit and they fruit all year. The flowers are pollinated by humming-birds, and these flowers usually develop small, hard seeds. Seeds are generally not found in commercially grown pineapple. Pineapple (Ananas comosus) has much less colorful inflorescences and larger fruit. Plants in the Bromeliaceae family are widely represented in their natural climates across the Americas. They can be found at altitudes from sea level to 4200 meters, from rainforests to deserts. Approximately half the species are epiphytes, some are lithophytes, and some are terrestrial.
Accordingly, these plants can be found in the Andean highlands, from northern Chile to Colombia, in the Peruvian coastal deserts, in the cloud forest regions of South and Central America, and in the tropical climate region of Florida. Certain bat-pollinated wild pineapples, members of the bromeliad family, do the exact opposite of most flowers by opening their flowers at night and closing them during the day to protect them from weevils, which are most active during daylight hours. A cup of fresh-chunked pineapple has only 82 calories, 2 grams of fiber and a gram of protein. Although a serving of pineapple contains 16 grams of sugar, the fiber results in the slow release of the sugar into the blood stream, giving pineapples a low score on the glycemic index. Pineapple is an excellent source of vitamin C. One serving provides 78.9 mg, or 131% of the Daily Values. This tropical fruit is also an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese with one serving providing 1.5mg or 76% of Daily Values.
In order for pineapples to remain seedless, the plants need to be cross-pollinated by hand. In Hawaii, where pineapples are cultivated for agriculture, importation of hummingbirds is prohibited for this reason.
5 (1-inch) slices fresh pineapple (about 4 1/2 pounds)
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons minced crystallized ginger
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1 drained canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
Preheat grill. Place first 3 ingredients on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side. Discard stems and seeds from bell peppers; dice pineapple and bell peppers. Combine pineapple, bell pepper, onion, and remaining ingredients; toss gently.