Here at Flowers to Eat™ we use a lot of pineapple. From our Pineapple Daisy bouquet which features delicious pineapple flowers with melon centers, to our Citrus Burst bouquet where we dip pineapple crescents into key lime coating, to chocolate covered seasonal favorites, the pineapple is a staple in our business.
And, since we are located in Florida, I thought I would try my hand at growing my own pineapple. I remember how fantastically sweet the pineapple in Hawaii is, and was hoping I could produce a pineapple that came close to that level of ripeness and sweetness.
So, instead of throwing out the tops of some of the pineapples that we use in our bouquets, I brought 5 or 6 of them home. One person advised me to ‘just stick the tops into the ground, they’ll grow’. I wasn’t too sure about that method, so I turned to, you guessed it, You Tube. Now a days you can find out how to do anything on You Tube. (When I wanted to remove the hard drive from an old laptop, the professional I took it to told me he would have to take the whole computer apart and it would cost $70 – $100.00. I found a You Tube video that showed me which 3 screws to remove and out popped the hard drive! But that’s another story for another blog entry).
The You Tube video showed me how to cut off all the leftover pineapple fruit, then start peeling back the stubby leaves at the bottom of the plant. Under these little stubby leaves are tiny roots just waiting for a chance to grow. I peeled back about 4 rows of these leaves, then suspended the plant in a glass of water. The water just covered the tiny roots, with the rest of the plant sticking up in the air.
In 2 weeks the little roots were now 2″ to 3″ long and I was ready to transplant it to my garden. I stuck it in a rich potting soil mix in a place that receives lots of sun. And 11 months later, here is the little pineapple that grew out of the top of the plant.
It took about 6 weeks for the edible part of the fruit to grow to about 10 inches long, the size of a smaller pineapple that you might buy at the grocery store. Then it started turning yellow. I had read that once it was mostly yellow, with some green on it, you should pick it. I watched it every day and was almost ready to pick it when disaster struck in the form of a 4 footed animal (squirrel, opossum, raccoon? ) Who knows which little beastie got to it before I did. But that morning when I checked on it, there was a hole about 3 inches across eaten out of one side of my first, prized pineapple.
What was I to do? I had waited a long time to taste that home grown beauty. I picked the mauled pineapple, took it inside and performed surgery. I cut the nibbled on side of the pineapple off, and then tasted the unadulterated side. It was delicious. So sweet! Almost as good as the ones in Hawaii.
The other 5 plants are now starting to produce fruit too, and I will be going back to You Tube to see how to protect the fruit from poachers as it ripens. Each plant will only produce 1 pineapple, but after you remove the ripe fruit, new little plants grow out from the bottom of the old plant.
I’m looking forward to the next one ripening in about 4 more weeks. YUM!