Can you eat pineapple seeds?

In this essay, I will answer the question “Can you eat pineapple seeds?” and I will list the characteristics and health benefits of this juicy and tasty fruit.

Can you eat pineapple seeds?

Yes, you can eat pineapple seeds. Eating the seeds of the fruit, whether ripe or not, is regarded as non-toxic and safe. Domestication of pineapple by American Indians 6,000 to 10,000 years ago was responsible for selecting species that are seedless. Wild pineapples are smaller and contain seeds, while cultivated pineapple does not contain seeds (1).

Wild pineapples on the other hand, should be handled with caution. When eating wild pineapples, the seeds should not be a problem because there is another factor to consider: the acidity of the fruit. Because of their high acidic content, eating them raw and undiluted can induce a burning sensation on the lips, tongue, and throat.

Does a pineapple have seeds?

Wild pineapples have seeds (approximately 50 tiny black or brown seeds are dispersed throughout the fruit), however commercially grown pineapples have been bred to be seedless. Small seeds, on the other hand, can sprout just beneath the skin on rare occasions.

The lack of seeds in store-bought pineapples is due to the genetic changes the fruits have undergone. Pineapples have been hybridized in order to meet the needs of modern customers and to be able to grow them in huge quantities. Commercial propagation of pineapple is not through seeds but by vegetative propagation. Seeds are desired only in breeding programs and are usually the result of hand pollination (2).

But, contrary to popular belief, these genetic processes had no deleterious impact on pineapples.

As pineapples are not self-compatible, they can’t be fertilized by their own pollen, which implies they can’t reproduce. Pineapples would not develop seeds even if they had undergone mutations since seeds are not required for the creation of pineapples.

Originally, cross-pollinators were necessary to pollinate these tropical fruits. You wouldn’t be able to eat juicy, sweet pineapples if it weren’t for hybridization.

Pineapples may also be cultivated in a variety of climatic conditions and have a longer shelf life as a result of these improvements. The plant is biennial, the fruit is mature in six to seven months after differentiation. During the first year the plant stores up starch in the thick central axis for production of the inflorescence. Differentiation usually occurs in the early part of the winter, but the bud is not visible until about three months later (1).

What Should You Know About Pineapples?

The pineapple is a tropical fruit that is widely grown in South America and can be eaten raw or processed into a variety of foods. After bananas and citrus, it ranks third in tropical fruit production.

The pineapple fruit is a syncarp or composite of many berry-like fruitlets. Fruit size is therefore determined by fruitlet size and fruitlet number both with a relatively high heritability. Fruit size in pineapple can vary from less than 100 g to over 7 kg. However, despite this genetic potential, market preference is usually for a moderate size fruit of approximately 1400-1600 g (3).

Because of the appealing aromatic components and nutritional advantages, as well as the high demand and low retail costs, the pineapple market has been rapidly expanding. 

The top five pineapple producers in the world in 2017 were as follows: Costa Rica (3056.45 metric tons), Philippines (2671.71 metric tons), Brazil (2253.90 metric tons), Thailand (2153.18 metric tons), and India (1891.00 metric tons). 

Because of the temperate climate and distribution of rainfall, pineapple is primarily grown in tropical and subtropical areas.

After flowering, the crop can bear fruit at an early stage, allowing for year-round yield production. 

Pineapple’s shelf life can be extended by storing it under specified conditions and temperatures, as well as applying specific treatments to prevent microbe infection. Green fruit should be stored at a temperature of 10ºC and a relative humidity of 85- 95%. Under these conditions, the fruit should have a storage life of two to three weeks. This will be dependent on the sugar content and the agronomic conditions during production, in addition to the handling and storage procedures. Sensitivity to chilling injury is, however, related to the level of ripeness of the fruit. Storage of green fruit below 8°C will result in chilling injury symptoms such as incomplete color development, wilting and darkening of the flesh, crown and peel (2).

Several factors influence the chemical and biological qualities of pineapple, including maturity level, cultivar type, climate conditions, and postharvest management. Fruit affected by pests and disease will yield a product with off-flavors, while fruit grown with good agricultural practices will produce fruit with outstanding taste and aroma. 

The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a well-known tropical fruit that is named from its resemblance to a huge, green pinecone. When ripe, the oval to cylindrical fruit has a tough, waxy peel that can be dark green, yellow, orange-yellow, or reddish. The flesh is white to yellow in color. Pineapples can grow to be 12 inches long and weigh from 1 to 10 pounds. The pineapple’s edible flesh has a distinct flavor that is generally described as a combination of apple, strawberry, and peach (3).

Flesh and skin volatile compounds give fruit its characteristic aroma and flavor. Although 280 volatile compounds have been identified in pineapple flesh, only a few of these are usually found in a concentration above their aroma detection threshold (3).

What are the health benefits of pineapple?

Pineapple is a good source of manganese and vitamin C. It also contains a significant amount of vitamin B1. Furthermore, it is high in vitamin B6, copper, magnesium, and dietary fiber. In addition to vitamin C, other compounds including phenolics and carotenoids also contribute to antioxidant capacity. New methods of assessing the total antioxidant efficiency have indicated a single serve of pineapple equivalent to a glass of red wine (3). In folk medicine, iIt is used to arouse appetite, is effective as a diuretic, contraceptive and in the expulsion of intestinal worms. It has been used to prevent ulcers, enhance fat excretion, among many other uses (2).

A 100 gram serving provides 45 calories, 0.6 grams of protein. 0.1 grams of fat, 11.8 grams of carbohydrate, and 8.3 grams of natural sugars (sucrose, fructose, and glucose).

Pineapples have many health benefits (3):

  • Bromelain is a group of sulfur-containing proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzymes found in fresh pineapple that can help with digestion as well as reduce inflammation and swelling in conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, break down mucus in respiratory conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis, and have even been used experimentally as an anticancer agent.

Bromelain’s activity inhibits a wide range of inflammatory agents. Bromelain has shown strong anti-inflammatory effects in clinical human trials, lowering swelling in inflammatory disorders such acute sinusitis, sore throat, arthritis, and gout, as well as accelerating recovery following injuries and surgery. Its medicinal uses include also as a digestive aid, for vaccine formation and skin debridement of burns. It also demonstrated antitumour, fibrinolytic and antimetastatic activity. Pineapple should be consumed alone between meals to maximize bromelain’s anti-inflammatory properties; otherwise, its enzymes will be used up digesting food.

  • Pineapple is also high in manganese, a trace mineral that functions as a cofactor in a variety of enzymes involved in energy production and antioxidant defenses. Manganese is required for the essential antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase, for example. One cup of fresh pineapple contains 73.1 percent of the daily manganese requirement.

How to prepare pineapple?

Here are the tips to prepare a pineapple and to enjoy its savory taste:

  • Before chopping pineapples, they must be well washed. 
  • Spray them with a diluted additive-free soap then clean them with a brush under cold running water.
  • After washing the pineapple, the first step in preparing it is to cut off the crown and base of the fruit using a knife. 
  • To peel the pineapple, turn it over and carefully slice off the skin, cutting out any remaining eyes with the tip of your knife. Alternatively, quarter the pineapple, remove the core if desired, cut slices into the quarters, cutting from the flesh toward the rind, and then separate the fruit from the rind with your knife. 
  • Cut the pineapple into the proper shape and size once the rind has been removed.

How to eat pineapple?

Pineapples are a versatile fruit and can be easily included in your diet. Here are some amazing ideas of pineapple-based dishes:

  • Pineapple (peeled and sliced up) can be eaten on its own or in fruit salads, or it can be juiced. Pineapple is a low-calorie fruit that works well as a base for low-calorie fruit cocktails, especially when combined with berries.
  • Pineapple is a great addition to fruit salads, particularly ones with other tropical fruits like papaya, kiwi, and mango.
  • Combine diced pineapple, chopped shrimp, grated ginger, and a small amount of olive oil in a mixing bowl. Serve on a bed of romaine lettuce with salt and pepper.
  • To make an easy-to-prepare sauce, combine sliced pineapple, tomatoes, and chili peppers. Serve with fish like halibut, tuna, or salmon.
  • Grill pineapple slices with maple syrup drizzled on top till golden brown. Serve plain or with yogurt.
  • Chopped pineapple, shredded fennel, and cashew nuts combine well together and make a great side dish for chicken.
  • Pineapple pairs well with almost any vegetable or meat cooked on the barbecue. 
  • Make your next homemade pizza with pineapple. This combo is popular among both youngsters and adults.

Other FAQs about Pineapples that you may be interested in.

How to trim a pineapple plant?

How long can pineapple sit out?

How can I tell if a pineapple is ripe?

Can you freeze a whole pineapple?

Conclusion

In this article, I answered the question: “Can you eat pineapple seeds?” and I listed the several health benefits that this fruit offers and I gave precious tips to prepare it and include it in your diet.

Please feel free to contact me for any questions related to this subject.

References

  1.  Reid, Michael, and Cai-Zhong Jiang. Genetic diversity in pineapple. Chronica, 2011, 51, 9.
  2. Hossain, M. F. World pineapple production: an overview. Afr J Food Agri Nutr Develop, 2016, 16, 11443-11456.
  3. Collins, J.L. History, taxonomy and culture of the pineapple. Econ Bot, 1949, 3, 335–359 

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.