When we think of Hawaii, images of sandy beaches, blue water, palm trees, and pineapples come to mind. But did you know that pineapples aren’t native to Hawaii? Yet, pineapples – along with sugarcane farmsteads – became so prominent in Hawaii that many simply assume they are a native Hawaiian fruit.
So, how did they get there? What impact did they have on the culinary development of the islands? We’re glad you asked.
Though pineapples are of South American origin, Hawaii offered the tropical climate and proper soil makeup that pineapples need to grow and was a prime location for shipping pineapples to California. With such a high demand for the sweet fruit, Hawaii supplied over 80 percent of the world’s canned pineapple. Instead of being a native fruit to Hawaii, pineapple is more like a visitor that made its way from the island to different ports.
The Big Island was famous for its sugarcane farmsteads. Initially, Hawaiians cultivated sugarcane, or kō, and used it for both medicinal purposes (such as maintaining clean teeth and gums) and food purposes (the juices from sugarcane sweetened puddings, sweet potatoes, breadfruit, and bananas). No wonder sugarcane was The Big Island’s top crop for years.
A Taste of History
The beauty of history is that it can open our eyes to a world we never knew. So, as you serve some delicious Aloha Pork or Hawaiian Tofu Kebabs seasoned to perfection with our savory-sweet RawSpiceBar Hawaiian Blend this summer, you can tell guests the true origin of the pineapple and the history of The Big Island.
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