Are you like me and confused on why whether pineapple is citrus or not is even a question? Pineapple is totally citrus….wait, is it? Much to my surprise, and maybe yours too, it isn’t! Pineapple is not a citrus fruit! But, chances are that’s not all you want to know.
Now we need to know WHY. What is a citrus fruit and what family of fruits do pineapples actually along?
Read on to find out!
What is Considered to be a Citrus Fruit?
The term “citrus” is classified under a specific scientific class consisting of a group of flowering and fruit bearing plants. They are typically grown in the form of a tree or shrubbery. The leaves are that of an oval shape and have a glossy look to them. Some have thorns, some don’t. The flowers have a sweet frangrant to them and consist of 5 petals.
Citrus fruits belong to the Rutaceae family. They have some common characteristics that they share to include:
- Grown on trees
- Oval shape glossy leaves
- 5 petal flowers with a frangrance
- The fruit itself is a modified berry, called hesperidium
- The term hesperidium refers to a single fruit grown from a seed, in which the flesh can be divided into different segments that are surrounded by a thin layer of skin. The sweet or sour juicy pulp is what fills these segments.
- Citrus fruits need a seed in order to grow.
You’ll start to see the similarilties between the different citrus fruits now. Think about the inside of an orange, like above. You can see the inside of the section with a thin skin separating them. The pulpy flesh is a big characteristic of a citrus fruit.
There are hundreds of citrus fruits, but here are a few of the most common.
- Kaffir Lime
- Lemon Lime
Another similarity between all these fruits is the citric acid, but citrus fruits are not the only ones that contain citric acid.
Does Pineapple Have Citric Acid?
Pineapple does in fact contain citric acid. It is what gives the pineapple it’s sweet and tangy taste! You will get 8% of the daily allowance from one serving! i think this is what confuses a lot to people into thinking it’s a citrus fruit.
Citric Acid can naturally occur in fruits or be manufactured using a black mold, called Aspergillus niger. When the mold feeds on sugar it turns into citric acid which can be used to stabilize and preserve medications.
- Helps enhance nutrient absorption
- Potential to protect against kidney stones
- Metabolizes food into usable energy
There are no known concerns from citric acid found in foods, however the manufactured mold has been know to cause joint pain, swelling and stiffness, muscle pain, and cause a shortness of breath in people.
What is a Bromeliad?
Pineapple is not a Citrus fruit! It actually comes from the Bromeliad family. Unlike citrus fruits, pineapples are not grown on a tree, but rather from a plant in the soil. There is a single, central flower in which multiple fruits emerge and fuse together to form a grown pineapple! So a pineapple is not just one berry, it’s multiple berries in one!
Bromeliads are perennials, meaning they are expected to live two years or longer. Not surprising since it takes about 14 months to harvest one pineapple. You’ll see long point leaves instead of the short oval ones of a citrus tree.
Pineapples are the most commonly eaten Bromelaid. Only one other fruit is edible, called Bromelia, and it’s much less tasty than the pineapple.
These plants require a dry tropical area much like the Caribbean and South America, while citrus trees are more common in Southeast Asia.
Fun Facts About the Pineapple
The pineapple originates in South America and the Caribbean, which is where, the first European, Christopher Columbus, tried it. The natives of the Caribbean referred it to as “the excellent fruit.” At the time it was exotic and new and combined with the sweet taste, it made a wonderful delicacy!
In fact, before the spread of artifical sugar and sweeteners in foods, fruits WERE the sweet treat. Pineapples became the symbol of hospitality at dinner parties, serving as the centerpiece of an elegant scene.
Pineapple contains a digestive enzyme that helps break down protein.It cuts down the stomach’s digestion time and healp increase pancreas performance, which also produce digestive enzymes.
The bromelain has also been linked to reducing inflammation, aiding with joint pain, and help with wounds and burns. This was first seen by the natives of the Caribbean, using pineapple as a treatment for open wounds.
Pineapple was also a treatment used on ships in the 17th century as a preventative measure against scurvy! So..if you ever find yourself time travelling to the 17th century and end up on a ship, find a pineapple.
1 Serving = 1 Cup chopped
- Calories: 82.5 kcal
- Fat: 0.2g
- Carbohydrates: 22g
- Fiber: 2.3g
- Sugar: 16.3g
- Protein: 0.9g
- Vitamin C: 131% of daily recommended value
- Manganese: 76% of daily recommended value
I don’t think you have to worry about scurvy these days so here are some additional health benefits in the modern day world!
- Abundant in antioxidants, which help slow down aging and help protect against chronic diseases like inflammation, heart disease, and diabetes.
- Increased digestion of nutrients
- has cancer fighter properties
- Helps boost your immune system
- Super delicious and decorative
I hope you have enjoyed learning some more things about pineapples, I know I did! As you can see, pineapple is definitely not a citrus fruit. But don’t worry, you aren’t the first and you won’t be the last to think that. I was in that boat too!
Drop a comment below on the best thing you learned!