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While having a rather intimidating physical appearance on the outside and a sweet and zesty taste on the inside, pineapple is by far one of the most popular fruits for people to get their hands on. Whether canned, frozen in chunks or fresh off a tree, the fruit’s yellow color and somewhat acidic taste often leave many people to ask the question, “is pineapple a citrus fruit?”
Despite some similarities, no, pineapples are not from the citrus family. Pineapples are from the Bromeliad family, where citrus comes from the Rutaceae family. In this article, we will explain more about the differences between pineapples and citrus fruits and provide more interesting facts.
Differences between Pineapple and Citrus Fruits
While both pineapples and citrus fruits are tropical in nature, sweet and tangy, and loaded with vitamin C, there are several differences between them. To start, they are in different families, and they grow differently. Citrus fruit grows on trees, which can get quite tall. The trees don’t need to be very old to start producing fruit.
Some of you with green thumbs may have started your own lemon or grapefruit tree at home. The seeds are easily sprouted and will grow in soil. Their leaves are very fragrant, and they make a nice houseplant. With the proper care, citrus trees may actually bloom and bear fruit indoors.
Pineapples grow on smaller bushes with colorful, spiky leaves. They are not very tall, and the fruit grows straight up out of the center of the plant. Pineapple has hard, triangle-shaped skins, where citrus has thick, soft porous peels.
Citrus has seeds and is grown from seeds. Pineapple does not have seeds and is grown from clippings of its own crown. These can easily be started at home, as well, and make a great project for the kids and adults, alike. Start the crown in water and once it sprouts its long, spiny leaves, transfer to soil in a sunny window or patio.
Health Benefits of Pineapple
Besides being delicious in every way, from breakfast to cocktails, pineapples are have many health benefits. They are loaded with vitamin C and magnesium, and they contain plenty of antioxidants. Here is a brief breakdown of their nutritional properties.
- Calories: 82.5
- Sodium: 1.7mg
- Carbohydrates: 22g
- Fiber: 2.3g
- Sugars: 16.3g
- Vitamin C: 79mg
Pineapples are not high in fat or protein. If you are watching your sugar or carb intake, pineapples should be considered sparingly. The longer pineapple ripens, the sweeter they become. However, the antioxidants are very good for fighting inflammation, may help to speed the recovery from strains and injuries, and may even help with some forms of arthritis.
It is also used in aiding digestion and promoting a healthy gut by helping to break down food and moving quickly through the digestive tract. Antioxidant properties also help in the fight against cancer.
Ways to Enjoy Pineapples
One of the bonuses of pineapple over citrus is the many ways you can eat it. Well, eat it, buy it, and store it. It’s very versatile. While citrus may be used in many different ways, it is mostly eaten raw, in juices, or in baking and jams.
Pineapple juice on its own is delicious and so healthy. But you can add all different types of fruit to the pineapple to make any number of combinations. The pineapple has a powerful taste, so let it be the star of the juice and add milder fruits, like banana or strawberries to mix in.
Pies, cakes, cookies, and even in bread are great ways to use your pineapple. They can add a great blast of flavor to all your favorite recipes and desserts. Use a little, use a lot, it’s a great way to cut back on the amount of sugar you would normally use.
As a Main Dish
Pineapple goes great with plenty of savory dishes, as well. It adds a sweet tanginess that just can be beaten. Us it in chicken dishes, in tacos, in salads, in sauces, with pork, in potatoes, and the debate will rage on, but on your pizza.
Pineapple is also excellent baked, grilled in the oven, or on the BBQ. It makes a nice side dish or an option for the vegetarian in the family. Add them to your next BBQ skewers for a tasty blast.
As a Condiment
Pineapple can be made into a chutney, a sauce for ice cream, cakes, and main dishes. They can be used for dips with nachos, other fruits, and on your burgers. You can also make a pineapple jam or marmalade for toast, muffins, and more.
There is no wrong way to enjoy pineapple. They make a refreshing cocktail, dessert, snack, and provide you with healthy benefits besides. Experiment with your favorite dishes, as some people like sweet on sweet, and others prefer sweet with savory. And if you are running on short on pineapple, you can substitute it with a juicy piece of passion fruit.
Peeling Your Pineapple
Chunky or smooth, raw or cooked, pineapple is a versatile and delicious fruit. And don’t be intimidated about peeling them. Remove the crown, stand the pineapple upright, and carefully slice downward along to the bottom. Trim the core to remove the fruit, and then you or the kids can gnaw the core like an ear of corn.
Is Pineapple a Citrus Fruit?
Despite their similarities, pineapples are not citrus. Many people group many tropical fruits under the same category, but they all grow differently and taste different, even though they may all come from the same place. The fact is, aside from being tropical and high in vitamin C, they are quite different. They grow in warm, moist climates, but on different plants and in different ways.
Their skins are different, citrus produces seeds where pineapples do not. Pineapple, when ripe, will be much sweeter than citrus, usually even oranges. When it is less ripe, it has a more tangy flavor to it. If you are not one who usually buys pineapples, try it frozen or in a juice to see if it something you want to explore further. They are an excellent source of vitamins and taste delicious.