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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

History of the Pineapple in Colonial America

If you were to show your hospitality to guests at your home today, what would you do? Well, in the 18th century having a pineapple in the center of your table, or in a lovely arrangement over your door would be just the thing to impress your guests and show your prowess as a hostess extraordinaire!

The lowly pineapple was popular in colonial America, you say? Absolutely! You mean, the fruit we associate with Hawaii and tropical islands was the king of fruits in the colonies? Sounds crazy, but it's true.

In Colonial America, if you wanted to show your guests just how much they meant to you, or perhaps how much money you spent in preparing a feast, you would make sure you put a pineapple in the center of your table and "wow" your guests upon arrival. But as you can imagine, obtaining said fruit was nothing short of miraculous, which is another reason for its popularity. Bringing shipments to the colonies from the Caribbean often meant that the conditions were hot and perfect for rotting the cargo. So, if you were able to obtain a fresh, juicy pineapple, you might have been the talk of the town. This was especially true for the more northern colonies where shipments of pineapples were typically only brought to Boston.

The fruit didn't arrive in cardboard boxes like it does today,
but I imagine however it came, it was quite a delight to consumers.

But, let's say you are of the middling class and wish to impress your guests but cannot afford to buy a pineapple. No problem. You can rent one! . . . But only for the day. And let's just hope your guests don't find out you are only renting it because that might not do well for your reputation.

In the 18th century, the pineapple became such a widespread symbol of hospitality that it transferred from the table to patters on wallpapers and even as sculptures adorning wooden entryways, among many other things.

So, next time you want to thrill your guests, try putting a pineapple in the middle of the table. I'm sure they will be impressed. *wink*


  1. Awesome ! Did you know you can grown one from the top part cut off and placed in water and then planted ? You can !!!
    A sign of prosperity ! No wonder women crocheted doillies with pineapples in them and many things were stenciled with them.
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books

    1. Hey Linda! Holy cow, you can grow one?! OK, I'm seriously gonna try that for sure!! Thanks for stopping by and sharing that tip! :)

  2. Oh my Linda. I did not know this. I love Pineapples. Will have to tell my daughters. I live in a crowded Mobil Home Park so don't think would be a good place. My Mother used to crochet table runners and doilies and dresser covers. She had many with the Pineapple design but doubt if she knew this. Very interesting article Amber.
    Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  3. Have always loved the pineapple. I have a small, metal DAR bookmark with a pineapple design.

  4. We moved to South Carolina five years ago, after living here a few months I discovered the pineapple tradition and its meaning. So now I tell my friends in South Dakota the meaning of the pineapple in SC.

  5. here are the directions for doing this... The children and I have grown even celery from the bottom cut off and placed in water. Many veggies can be grown this way, onions, leaks, carrots can grow plants., Did you know you can grow carrots in a 2 liter bottle ? You can....neat things you learn on pinterest !!!
    Linda Finn


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