Pineapple (Ananas comosus, L. Merr) is a perennial crop that belongs to the family Bromeliaceae. Although its relatives in the bromeliad family are largely epiphytic (plants that live on trees), pineapple grows on the ground and is thus cultivated for its nutritive values. The predominant varieties of pineapple are the Queen and the Smooth Cayenne which are generally herbaceous, spinescent and succulent, flowering only once into a fruit.
- Uses of Pineapple
- Pineapple Juice
- Pineapple Jam
- Manufacture of alcohol
- Citric acid
- Fruit salad
- Soil and Climatic Conditions Required for Pineapple Production
Pineapple is a hardy crop, adaptive to most ecology. This attribute is largely because of its high moisture reserve capacity such that even under severe drought conditions, the crop can still thrive. However, the following soil and environmental conditions are ideal for the establishment of the crop:
- Planting Materials
The Pineapple crop varieties cultivated in Nigeria are mainly:
- Smooth cayenne
- Red Spanish
- Queen or Natal Queen.
Pineapple cultivars are mainly suckers and stem cuttings obtained from old fields after harvest prior to clearing and burning.
These are the young pineapple plants growing out of the mother plant. They can be detached from the mother at early stage to start a nursery or at a fairly grown stage for insitu planting in the field. Several sucker types can be identified depending on where on the pineapple plant they are growing.
Stem Cuttings (or mini-setts)
- To obtain Mini-setts from crown, lower rosette of leaves are removed to expose the roots. The crown is then cut vertically into two or three equal parts depending on its size . It is then soaked and treated in a solution of insecticide/fungicide and wood ash. It is finally shade dried for about 1 -2 hours before planting on prepared beds made of 50% saw dust and 50% river sand. Sprouting is expected in 3 – 4 weeks, after which the baby pineapples are harvested and transplanted at permanent sites.
- To obtain Mini-setts from stem, the leaves are removed in an anticlockwise direction to expose the buds. The stems are then cut to about 30 pieces of 5cm lengths containing 2 or 3 buds. They are then treated as in Mini-setts from Crown
- Pineapple Processing
Pineapple can be processed to obtain juice, concentrate or pulp. Ripe and matured pineapples are washed, graded and peeled. They are then crushed to obtain juice.
- Canned Pineapples
- Filling into jars/cans with syrup
- Vacuum sealing
- Pasteurizing and Sterilization
- Labeling and Storage.
- Pineapple Juice Concentrate
- Juice extraction
- Reverse osmosis
- Filling in can
- Labeling .
- Pineapple Pulp
- Peeling and Sorting
- Pulping and Straining
- De aeration (partially)
- Pasteurizing or Sterilizing
- Labeling and Storage.
After harvesting, the fruits are sorted, because only those that are fresh, ripe and not rotten can be used to make jams. Jams can also be made from previously prepared, frozen fruits and pulp.
The fruit should be washed very carefully as it can easily be damaged.
Peeling and Sorting:
Peeling is often done manually, or with knives, yet sometimes the skin is loosened with steam and then subsequently rubbed away mechanically. Finally, the fruits are sorted again to remove any blackened pieces, bits of peeling, seeds etc.
The peeled fruit can be cut into a variety of shapes, according to type. The peeled fruits are then pulped, and sugar added. They might also be mixed with water or fruit juice.
Filling in Jars or Cans:
The cut pieces are now filled into jars or cans and covered with syrup.
Vacuum Sealing, Pasteurising or Sterilizing:
After the jars or cans have been vacuum sealed, they are either pasteurised (temperatures above 80°C) or sterilised (temperatures above 100°C).
After the heating process, the canned fruits are first cooled to 40°C and then subsequently down to storage temperature.
Labelling, Packaging and Storage:
After they have been cooled, the canned fruits are labelled and stored. In order to be exported the slices/pulp/juices can be packed into single or wholesale packages (bulk) consisting of glass jars, tin cans, polyethylene or polypropylene bags, and also filled antiseptically into ‘bag-in-boxes’.
fc for pineapple canning and juice production