Gotta love those bromeliads! One of my favorites is the pineapple (Ananas comosus).
Pineapples are grown commercially for more than just topping an upside-down cake. The value-added aspects are quite lucrative when you think of all of the prospects! Dried pineapples for a snack food or additive to trail mix can bring as much as $15 per pound! Pineapple juice makes a tasty wine, too!
Grow your own pineapples! Lately I have found fresh pineapples for about three bucks each at the local grocery stores. I usually buy about four at a time, as long as I have time to process them. With every whole pineapple I buy I always plant the pineapple crown. It makes a good-looking tropical plant for the warm season and looks pretty cool as an indoor plant as well!
To grow your own pineapple plants:
· Select a pineapple plant with a healthy-looking crown or top.
· Remove the top by gripping it in one hand while gripping the fruit’s base in the other…twist the fruit.
· Remove several layers of bottom leaves from the top.
· Allow the top to callus for a day or two.
· Dip the basal end of the pineapple top into rooting hormone talc and tap off any excess.
· Place in a pot of good potting medium until rooted.
After the pineapple has rooted, move to a more suitable growing situation like a 15-gallon nursery pot for greenhouse production or plant it in a nice decorative container if you are going to use it as a houseplant.
Pineapples are native to Brazil and Paraguay and are thought to have been introduced into the islands of North America by the Carib Indians. (Part of the original Caribbean settlers.) Columbus came across them on Isla Guadeloupe in 1493. Introduced to Europe shortly after, the pineapple (piña del Indian) was an immediate hit and was introduced into the Philippines and Hawaii in the early 1800s.
Pineapples are commercially grown in Hawaii, Costa Rica, Philippines and Brazil. The one I had for lunch today was from South Africa. Commercial varieties like Hilo, Smooth Cayenne, St. Michael and Giant Kew are some of the most popular among ranchers today.
Enjoy a pineapple for the Winter Solstice. Offer them as gifts. The pineapple is a universal symbol of hospitality and a nice way to remember the tropical weather during these cold December days.
I hope you’ll all tune in each Saturday from 1-3 p.m. CDT for Home Grown Tomatoes on our new flagship station, WAPZ Montgomery. If you aren’t in the local coverage area, tune in on the Internet by going to http://hgtradio.net and follow the links to listen live!