Yep, you heard us right – pineapples now come in pink! At least in the U.S.A., anyway.
The pastel-hued fruit has been in development for the last twelve years, but companies like Del Monte have been given the go-ahead to start selling them. Del Monte has actually taken out a patent on their pink fruit, as they are genetically modified.
The genetically modified tag may put some people off buying them, but they’re perfectly safe to eat, according to the FDA. They say the pineapples have just been engineered to produce lower levels of the enzymes already in normal pineapples. These enzymes convert the pink pigment lycopene to the yellow pigment beta carotene in regular pineapples. Lycopene is quite safe and naturally occurring, being what gives tomatoes and watermelons their red and pink hues.
There are some retouched images around on the internet showing the pineapples with bright pink skins, but they are actually a more normal, pineapple color on the outside, and a light blush pink on the inside. The variety has been cutely named the Rose, pronounced as in rose wine, and it is said to be sweeter than its yellow counterpart.
The pink pineapple may prove a big hit in Japan, as the Japanese love fruits that are a wee bit different, such as square watermelons or huge strawberries which they will happily pay thousands of dollars for at luxury fruit shops.
Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Pineapples
Here’s some facts about the plain yellow pineapples that make them just as cool as their pink GM cousins:
- It takes almost three years for one pineapple to reach maturity, and each plant can only fruit three times. That’s probably why they cost quite a lot.
- Pineapples don’t grow on trees. In fact the plants look like giant, buried pineapples in the ground.
- Once pineapples have been picked, they don’t continue to ripen like other fruit.
- Pineapple cores contain high levels of bromelain, which is a protoelytic enzyme. This enzyme apparently has health benefits, such as being an anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant and as an aid to digestion.
- Pineapple is good as a meat tenderizer, because bromelain breaks down proteins.
- Pineapples regenerate a bit like Doctor Who! You can plant the top of a pineapple in soil to grow a whole new plant. How cool is that?
- Hawaii produces about one third of all the pineapples in the world.
- Pineapple plants produce amazingly beautiful flowers, which can vary from lavender color, through purple and red. A plant will usually produce up to 200 flowers, although some large-fruited varieties can make more than this.