It’s a bit exciting that after several years of saving pineapple tops and whacking them in the ground our first pineapple was ready to harvest at 99! Changing through a beautiful range of colours, like below, it then morphed into a yellowy colour, showing it was ready to pick and exuded a slightly sweet pineapple-y smell. We then put it inside for its last couple of days away from creatures.
Pineapples usually take a couple of years to grow from top cuttings and are ready to harvest in the wet season. These guys took 3 years to grow, with some neglect, a sunny spot and a bit of chicken poo compost. They take up quite a lot of space with their spiky leaves- but the space and wait is worth it! After you harvest the pineapple, the same plant will not fruit again, so pull up the plant and start again with the top. If you are lucky your pineapple will make little pups on its sides too, that you can break off as they grow and plant.
So above is the ripe and ready same pineapple and below is our guide to pineapple propagation and enjoyment…..
Firstly get really excited that at last, you have grown your very own pineapple, with the help of sunshine and your very own chicken poo compost and really not that much attention, but after marvelling at it for some time and its’ changing colour and wonderful form you can cut into it and it eats juicy flesh.
Cut the pineapple, trying to save as much juicy flesh as possible and cut out those husky dots; people in Asian countries are amazing at the craft of pineapple cutting, but if you don’t do it too often then it may be tricky. Cut it into slices and maybe even remove the harder central core too; enjoy by a poolside on a hot Sunday afternoon with friends. If you don’t have a poolside- find a friend’s- sharing pools, rather than everyone having their own, is much more sustainable and you can return the favour in eggs, love and by sharing your first and later pineapples.
There are many lovely pineapple recipes, using fresh and cooked pineapple, but with your first harvest you may just want to cut it into chunky pieces and enjoy. That’s what we did and we even froze a quarter for later to make iced pina-coladas, but wanted to wait so we could use our own coconut milk and water so it was a very home grown cocktail! This pineapple was amazingly juicy and if you are growing from tops or pups (the side shoot babies some pineapples make) the fruit will be genetically the same as the mother, so chances are a good juicy pineapple will make a juicy baby.
Next step- prepare your pineapple top, cut it clean off from the fruit part and start peeling back the lower leaves, so there is room for some rooting. Get a bit excited about this part too! After this pop it in a glass or cup of water, like the picture below (note this picture is a different pineapple top- maybe this pineapple’s mother, but is illustrating decorative bonus)- they can make great table decorations (who needs cut flowers when you have pineapple tops?)
After a few days you will see the roots starting to grow. This below pineapple top is from the exact pineapple we enjoyed by the poolside. We gave this to our friends over in Wagaman, to spread the love over the (main) road, so they can have our pineapple babies. If you are in the throws of the wet season you don’t need to do this, you can pop the pineapple top straight in the moist ground. It is fun for kids and adults to watch the roots grow, and when they are established put the the top in the ground, placing it in the soil up to where the dark leaves start (about 2cm) and there you have it the start of another generation of juicy pineapples…