Are Pineapples A Vegetable?
This is where it gets truly confusing sometimes because the terms “fruits” and “vegetables” can change depending on the conversation context. For instance, tomatoes are technically or botanically fruits. Still, the whole world considers it a vegetable – a culinary vegetable, because it doesn’t satisfy the basic ‘requirement’ of being tart and sweet. But yes, the tomato is not a vegetable, but a true fruit. The pineapple is’ easier – it is a fruit through and through despite its huge appearance and unconventional structure.
Is Pineapple Technically a Fruit?
Yes, the pineapple is technically a fruit, and it’s a type of berry, no matter how much your mind resists the idea. Before you lose your mind to the information, there’s a very good explanation of why the pineapple is a berry and not something like watermelon or melon, despite its size. The pineapple is from the bromeliad family of plants, and it has a very special method of growing fruits. The process normally starts, like other fruit-bearing plants. The plant forms flowers, which eventually mature and form fruits. The fruits are essentially the ova or sexual reproduction organs of the plant.
The pineapple flowers mature and begin to form harder masses called the berries. This is where things become more interesting. Instead of the pineapple berries forming independently like other kinds of berries, they begin to move toward each other. The berries enter a fusion process that eventually forms a big mass with a crown of leaves on top.
There are other facts about the pineapple that you may not be aware of:
- The pineapple is not related to the apple tree or the pine tree. The pineapple plant is a shrub and not a tree anyway.
- Despite being nutritionally aligned with citrus fruits in terms of citric acid and ascorbic acid content, the pineapple is not a good citrus fruit. It belongs to its family of plants, the bromeliad family. Additionally, pineapples contain a group of enzymes that do not occur naturally in other fruits – bromelain. Surprisingly, Bromelain is a digestive enzyme that can denature proteins and break them down more quickly to their building blocks.
The bromelain found in pineapples acts upon the collage layer of proteins, the foundational protein layer. That’s why you feel a twinge of itch or discomfort when you eat unripe pineapple or when your lips touch the sap produced by the pineapple plant. Pineapple is just filled to the brim with the enzyme, which is why you should never try to eat unripe pineapple. Doing so might result in a very uncomfortable mouth and digestive trouble.
- Fresh bromelain is known for improving the digestive process. Naturally-occurring bromelain is known for easing the symptoms of constipation, too. So if you have trouble with your stools, drinking a fresh batch of freshly-squeezed pineapple juice (or even canned juice) can help.