Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Comments on Taiwan Pineapple Varieties

According to a 1998 report by Min-Tze Wul and Shui-Ho Cheng of the Taiwan Council of Agriculture (COA), the special pineapple varieties described in a prior post began to be developed in 1970. The new varieties were the result of a breeding program intended to produce pineapples specifically for fresh consumption. The breeding program was a response to a decline in the canned pineapple market.

In addition to alluring names (Tainung No. 13, the "Winter Honey Pineapple") and unique characteristics (Tainung No. 4, the pineapple you can peel with your bare hands!), the Taiwan varieties are remarkable for their translucency. The Fu-Mu Cayenne and, based on COA photos, Tainung Nos. 13, 17, 18 and 19 all have fairly translucent flesh. In contrast, pineapples that are widely available in the U.S. generally are much less translucent. Translucency appears to be regarded as a defect in the U.S. pineapple industry (and in Australia, as well). Translucent fruit, among other things, is reportedly more susceptible to impact injuries.

Click here for a COA page (in English) on Taiwan's pineapple industry.