Ananas, pineapple, piña: different names for the same fruit

Ananas, pineapple, piña: different names for the same fruit

Pineapple has been universally considered as one of the exotic fruit par excellence. In fact, it is one of the most consumed tropical fruit in the world, second only to banana. But how is it called around the world?

The fruit of the Ananas comosus is actually an infructescence and owes its name to the Portuguese “ananás”, which in turn is derived from the Guaranì “naná” meaning perfume. The use of such term was attested already in the first half of the 16th century in Portuguese and starting from the second half of the same century also in Spanish as loanwords from Brazilian Portuguese.

The characteristic exotic feature of this juicy fruit is clear if compared to its origin. In fact, the main producing and exporting country of pineapple is the small Costa Rica, located in Central America. In the local language, i.e. Spanish, it is referred to pineapple in different ways: despite the most used term used in European Spanish being “piña” as a derivation from the strong similarity between the fruit of the Ananas comosus and the fruit of the pine, in turn called piña, in the Spanish variation used in Latin America (among which also in Argentina and Uruguay) there appear to be several terms, as, for example, “ananás”, “ananá” and, although less frequently, “matzatli”. The origin of these terms was clearly influenced by the Portuguese language.

Despite the majority of production being located in Costa Rica, to the main producing and exporting countries of pineapple belong also Brazil, the Philippines, India, Thailand, Ghana, Colombia and Mexico. It is mostly the case of countries with a tropical climate, where the conditions are particularly favourable for the cultivation of pineapple.

The main importing regions are the USA and Europe, with the Netherlands excelling in the continent. In the country only a little part corresponding to 30% of the total of the pineapple import is consumed, as the rest is processed and exported again. Other markets experiencing a strong grow from the import point of view are Russia and China.

In Europe there is a strong consistency in the terms used to refer to the infructescence of the Ananas comosus. In fact, excluding only a few exceptions, most European languages tend to speak of “ananas”. This is the case not only in Italian, but also in French, German, Dutch, Portuguese (“ananás”), Danish, Polish and Czech. The only exceptions are represented by the Spanish variation spoken in Europe (“piña”) and English (“pineapple”).

The origin of the name “pineapple” is pretty interesting. In English, since ancient times, people used to rename foreign fruits (nuts and vegetables as well) by using the suffix “apple”; such tendency can be observed for example in cashews (“cashew apple”) and papaya (“thorn apple”). It can be thus deducted that the term “pineapple” derives from such use of “apple” to which the term “pine” was added because of the similarity between the pinecone, i.e. the fruit of the pine, and pineapple. Actually, the similarity is quite clear: both share the ovoid shape and the hard and sharp peel. This was probably the reasoning behind the naming of the pineapple in English by an English explorer in the 17th century, as he probably was not aware of the English name “ananas” that was already in use at the time and only later (in the 18th century) fell into disuse.

The pineapple is a fruit with several nutritional properties and whose bright yellow flesh and juice are also used in the kitchen for preparing many tasty sweet as well as salty recipes. The consumption of dried pineapple, whether as small pieces or as rings, is also pretty developed.

No matter how you prefer to call this delicious exotic fruit, discover it in our online shop Nuturally


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