Pineapple Varieties in India, Seasons, and Economic Importance

  • August 3, 2021
  • abceditor
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The pineapple is one of the important commercial fruit crops of India. Pineapple is grown abundantly in the North-East region, Kerala, Karnataka, West Bengal, Bihar, Goa, and Maharashtra. The total annual production of pineapple is projected to be 14.6 million tonnes. With an annual output of 1.2 million tonnes, India is the fifth-largest producer of Pineapple in the world. India shares 8.2% of the world’s total pineapple production. Thailand, the Philippines, Brazil, Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia, Colombia, and the United States are the other significant producers of pineapple. 

Varieties of Pineapple in India

Pineapples are available in different shapes and sizes and are cultivated all over the world. Most commercial varieties of pineapple grown in India are Kew, Giant kew, Queen, Mauritius, Jaldhup, and Lakhat. Among these varieties, queen, giant kew/ kew is extensively grown in the northeastern parts of India and is preferred by fruit juice manufacturers. 

States

Variety of Pineapple

Assam and other Northeast states Kew, queen, Mauritius
West Bengal Giant kew, Queen
Kerala Mauritius, kew, queen
Assam Jaldhup, Lakhat

Queen

This is an old cultivar that grows predominantly in India, Australia and South Africa. This is the most processable variety of pineapples in India and is also used as a table variety. The fruit weighs between 1- 1.5kg When the pineapple is fully mature, the fruit turns golden yellow and internal flesh turns deep golden yellow. The flesh is juicy than the other varieties of Pineapple and is crispy. This variety is sweet and has a pleasant aroma. The TSS is 15-16 brix and the acidity is between 0.6 and 0.8%.

Kew (known as King variety)

Kew is a late-maturing variety and India’s most popular commercial variety of pineapple in India. The fruit is oblong with a slight taper towards the crown and weighs 2-3kg.  It has broad and shallow eyes that make it suitable for canning. The pineapple is yellow when it is fully ripe and the internal flesh is light yellow. The flesh is juicy and fiberless with a TSS content varying from 12-14 brix. The acidity content is between 0.6-1.2%.

Mauritius (Known as Vazhakulam variety)

This variety of pineapple is grown in some parts of Kerala and Meghalaya. The Mauritius variety of pineapple is known as the Vazhakulam variety locally. The fruits are medium in size and available in two colours. One is red-skinned and the other is deep yellow. In comparison to the red variety, the yellow fruit is oblong, fibrous and has a medium sweetness. Mauritius is solely a table variety. It is a late-season variety that ripens in July – August. The Mauritius variety of pineapple is predominantly grown in Kerala and supplied as raw and ripened fruits in domestic markets. 

Lakhat and Jaldhup

These are the local varieties named after the locations where they are produced. These varieties are cultivated for both table and processing purposes Both the varieties belong to the queen variety of pineapple, however, they are smaller in size than a queen. Jaldhup’s sweetness and acidity are perfectly balanced. Jaldhup varieties have a distinct alcoholic flavour that distinguishes them from other queen groups. 

Variety of Pineapple

Characteristics

Queen or common queen The fruit is small, golden yellow, with elevated eyes with a deep golden internal flesh. It has a TSS of 15-16 brix.  
Kew or Giant Kew The fruit is large, yellow, with a light yellow internal flesh. The TSS content varies from 12-14 brix.
Mauritius The fruit is medium in size and available in yellow and red colour. This is a table variety supplied in domestic markets
Jaldhup and Lakhat This belongs to the queen variety and is named after the place where it is produced. 

Pineapple season in India

Pineapple (Ananas Comosus) is a tropical and subtropical fruit of the Bromeliaceae family that is grown in about a third of the world. The main pineapple growing season in India is from July to September, and it takes roughly 18 to 24 months for the crop to develop enough to harvest. Pineapple is a tropical plant that thrives in humid conditions. It thrives both on the plains and elevations less than 900 meters. The pineapple plant is not tolerant to extremely high temperatures or frost. Pineapple flowers between February and April  Off-season fruit can develop and bear fruit between September and December. 

The Pineapple season in India in key pineapple-producing states such as Meghalaya, Kerala, Assam, Tripura, Manipur, and others is from July to December. Kew, Mauritius and queen are also the most cultivated varieties of pineapple in Tamilnadu

Pineapple cultivation is limited to heavy rainfall and humid coastal regions in peninsular India and magnesium hilly places in northeastern regions. With medium rainfall and supplemental irrigations, it may also be cultivated economically in the interior plans

Pineapple growing areas in India

States 

Pineapple growing areas 

Kerala Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur, Kasargod
West Bengal Jalpaiguri, Siliguri sub-division of Darjeeling district, North Dinajpur, Cooch Behar
Assam Karbi-Anglong, Nagaon, Cachar, N.C.Hills
Karnataka Shimoga, Kodagu, Uttar Kannada, Dakshin Kannada, Udupi.
Manipur Senapati, Thoubal, Churachandpur, Bishnupur, East Imphal
Tripura West Tripura, North Tripura, Dhalai tripura

Pineapple growing season in India – State wise

Harvesting season of pineapple

Pineapple harvesting season in India

The Pineapple starts flowering 12-15 months after planting. The fruits start ripening in 15-18 months depending on the variety, planting time, size of the plant material utilized, and the temperature at the time of fruit growth. Under natural conditions, The pineapple harvest time starts from May till August. The fruit ripens after 5 months from the flowering stage. The irregular flowering extends the length of the pineapple harvesting period

When there is a tiny shift at the base of developing fruits, the fruits are harvested for canning and processing purposes The table fruits are retained until they turn into a golden yellow colour. Depending on the plant conditions, the plant can be kept as a ratoon crop for the period of three to four years after the pineapple harvesting period

Harvesting season of Pineapple

Scope and usage for Pineapple juice 

Pineapple is one of the top five flavours in many European countries, including Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Germany. The fruit juices that contain 100% fruit, have grown in popularity among customers all over the world. 

The product is separated into five segments based on the application types. Bakery, beverages, dairy, confectionery, and baby foods are among them. During the forecast period of 2020-2026, the beverage is predicted to be the greatest contributor to market growth. 

Processed variety of Pineapple  – Queen

The basic quality requirements for pineapple juice are defined by the following parameters:

  • Colour: characteristic of the variety, most commonly golden yellow to olive-yellow.
  • Flavour and odour: distinct pineapple flavour and odour, free from foreign particles. 
  • Brix level: The quality of concentrated pineapple juices is mainly defined by the Brix level (sugar content of an aqueous solution) and Brix level directly influences the price of the product. 
  • Appearance: Uniform, homogeneous smooth, free from fibres and any speck particles. 

Economic Importance of Pineapple 

Pineapple growing has more economic advantages. The economy also depends on fruit production and per capita consumption of fruits. Pineapple is a good source of Vitamin A, B, C, magnesium, potassium, and iron. The pineapple is consumed fresh or in the form of processed products such as juice, jams, syrup and squash. Among all the processed foods, Pineapple juice contributes to 50% of the consumption.

The bulk production of pineapple in the world is utilized by the canning industry and the consumption of fresh fruits is limited. 97% of the world production is utilized by the pineapple processing industry. However, India doesn’t follow the world pattern. Though pineapple can be used in the processing industry, India doesn’t follow the world pattern. Only 10% of fruits are being processed in India. This is in contrast to the other pineapple cultivating countries, where 95% of the pineapple is being processed. However, due to its health benefits, pineapple juice is becoming popular in India due to which pineapple processing industries are steadily growing. 

Nutritional Importance of Pineapple

Pineapple is a well-known source of important nutrients. Nevertheless, its curative capabilities have been used for generations. The recent research has confirmed many of the health benefits of pineapple, including:

  • Pineapple is rich in Vitamin C. One cup of pineapple contains 78.9 gm of Vitamin C. Vitamin C encourages growth and healing around the body, playing a role in everything from wound repair to iron absorption.
  • Pineapple juice enhances your weight loss. Pineapple is low in calories and high in important vitamins and minerals and doesn’t include saturated fats.
  • Pineapple juice aids indigestion. Pineapple contains bromelain, which is a mix of enzymes that have been used to treat digestive disorders.
  • The manganese in pineapple promotes healthy bones. Pineapple is one of the top food sources of manganese, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones.
  • Pineapple is a rich source of antioxidants, which are compounds that help fight inflammation and free radicals in the body. It also has cancer-fighting properties.
  • Pineapple fits in an anti-inflammatory diet. Inflammation can lead to diseases, including coronary artery disease, and diabetes.
  • Pineapple nutrient profile can help to boost immunity. A study founds, people who ate pineapples had fewer viral and bacterial infections.