September 2018


Pineapples: Your Everyday Fruit
September 2018




Savour a delicious bite with a dash of seasoning

Adored for its sweet, juicy and enticing taste, pineapples are grown all year around. Stop by a pineapple stall or explore a pineapple field during your travels in the island. Savour the island's annasi-inspired fare. These exotic fruits have a delicious story to tell.


Words: Tatiyana Welikala
Photography: Menaka Aravinda and Anuradha Perera


As we made our way towards Belummahara along the Kandy road, something cone-shaped caught our eye. With a prickled bright orange exterior and crowned with a spiky bush, pineapples of various sizes were neatly arranged in dozens of stalls lining the side of the road. Arranged upside down in triangular racks, strung up by rope or displayed upright on rows like trophies, they will draw you to a stop.


A pleasant fruity fragrance enveloped us, as we approached the stalls. The vendors carefully grade the pineapples according to size, shape and type, and you find yourself overwhelmed by a vast choice. The resemblance of the fruit to a pinecone is what inspired the Spaniards to call it Piña, from which the name ‘pineapple' was eventually derived. In Sinhala and Tamil, the pineapple is called annasi. Although nearly all the pineapples are ready to be consumed, the best pineapples are the ones that have a slight green shade between the groves of the rind. This means the fruit is at its prime ripened stage. If the leafy top comes off easily with a little tugging, it means the fruit is ready to eat. Also remember that pineapples with a smaller leaf-crown are known to taste sweeter.


Pineapple (ananas cosomsus), grows all year round and is a plant that bears one fruit in its entire lifetime. They generally grow in dry landscapes where the sun shines bright, and as such pineapple cultivations can be predominantly found in the Gampaha and Kurunegala districts. Mauritius, Cayenne commonly known as ‘Kew' and the Singapore Spanish are the most commonly grown varieties in Sri Lanka.


Along our travels just beyond Mirigama in Gampaha, we had the opportunity to explore a pineapple field. It was a wonderful sight to witness, as rows and rows of spiky bushes sprung from the ground with a tender pineapple sitting on a stark. A young pineapple stems from the flower as a red bulb and gradually starts turning green in colour as it matures. Four and half months after the flower had blossomed, the pineapple is ready for harvesting. Later on, new shoots sprout from the same plant, completing the lifecycle and ensuring the plant's propagation.

Pineapple (ananas cosomsus), grows all year round and is a plant that bears one fruit in its entire lifetime.


We found one pineapple fruit that was orange in colour, amongst the tender ones. It would soon be harvested from the plant. The farmer carefully observes his plantation as pineapples are a favourite snack of porcupines and wild boar. Although pineapple plantations are not affected by rain, farmers believe they taste best when grown under direct sunlight.


Paring a pineapple is considered an art. The pineapple is decked with brown thorny ‘eyes' therefore it is important to use a sharp knife to remove the tough rind. There is no significant seed in the pineapple because the fruit is actually made up of many individual berries that fuse together around a central core. There is a reason why slices of pineapple are served as an appetiser, after a hearty meal or prepared as a side dish. The golden yellow fruit is filled with impressive amounts of Vitamin C and has traces of the important antioxidant manganese. Pineapple is also abundant in bromelain, the protein-dissolving enzyme that helps with digestion. It is advised not to overindulge on pineapple as its acidity may cause discomfort in the stomach. If you feel that tingly, numbing sensation on your tongue, wait awhile before you drink water.


Although annasi is not native to Sri Lanka, it has earned a beloved place in the island's dishes. Sliced or chopped pineapple seasoned with salt, chilli, pepper and vinegar, makes annasi achcharu, the all-time favourite snack. Annasi curry and chutney are wonderful accompaniments with rice, while pineapple is also added as a tenderiser in fish curries. Fresh pineapple juice will refresh anyone on a hot day. Pineapple pulp has made its way into jams, dessert toppings and a range of pineapple based confectionaries.


The fruit is unique in appearance with a succulent inside that appeals to all the senses. Whether you are having a meal or dessert at home or are snacking on a long drive, pineapples are the perfect tropical delicacy that will enhance your experience.

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    A pineapple field with rows of tender fruits

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    A young pineapple stems as a red bulb

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    A pineapple ready to be harvested

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    The right way to remove the thorny skin

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    A tempting display of the exotic, nutrient packed fruit

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    An array of sweet and juicy pineapples to choose from

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    The arrangements are designed to draw your attention

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