Converting exactly how much a whole pineapple cost back in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries to modern day dollars is almost impossible to do with any real accuracy. That said, the general ballpark estimates tend to ring in at around five to ten thousand dollars per pineapple, depending on such things as the quality of the fruit and season. After the pineapple was first encountered by Europeans on the island of Guadeloupe during Christopher Columbus’ second trip to the Caribbean in November of 1493, efforts were quickly set in motion to find a way of reliably producing the fruit back in Europe. (The fruit itself is indigenous to South America and had been cultivated there for centuries prior to its “discovery” by Columbus.)
Despite sinking vast sums of money into the problem, European royalty, who positively adored the fruit for its natural sweetness (sugar and sugary items being in short supply), for centuries after its “discovery” the only real way to obtain a pineapple was to pay to have one directly imported, which was no cheap affair. Many transport ships of the age were too slow and conditions too hot aboard the vessels to keep whole pineapples from rotting during the journey. So to get a whole pineapple fruit safely from the plant to one’s table in Europe took the fastest ships and most favorable weather conditions. As a result, virtually the only people who could afford to purchase a whole pineapple, let alone eat one while it was perfectly ripe, were royalty or the ridiculously wealthy.
The first step to allowing the rich, instead of just the super rich, a chance to own or even look at a pineapple wouldn’t come for another two centuries after its “discovery”, when the Dutch were able to begin successfully cultivating the fruit in the very late 1600s. Exactly who first managed to grow a pineapple in a non-tropical climate isn’t known for sure, though a woman named Agnes Block is generally credited as being the earliest to do so around 1687. While earlier accounts of fruit producing pineapple plants in Europe do exist, whether or not these plants were cultivated in Europe or simply transferred to the continent as juveniles isn’t clear.
More important than Block in the pineapple saga, however, was Dutch cloth merchant, Pieter de la Court, who is often cited as the individual who devised the most efficient (at the time) method of growing pineapples in a non-tropical climate. His method was mostly comprised of utilising hotrooms that were kept consistently warm and humid. These had to be carefully designed in order to vent the smoke and hot fumes out of the structure, while keeping the weather inside, as well as the soil temperature, within very specific ranges. Accidentally burning down one’s pineapple hotroom or killing the plants with smoke was a very common thing in the early going. After news of Court’s ability to grow pineapples and other exotic plants and fruits year round reached England, many nobles sent their gardeners to the Netherlands to learn his techniques first hand at considerable expense.
If you’re curious about why the Dutch had such a stranglehold on Pineapple production, it’s largely because the Dutch West India Company enjoyed an almost total monopoly on trade in the Caribbean at the time, allowing wealthy Dutch citizens to import numerous pineapple plants to experiment with, despite the expense. As you can probably imagine from the many stereotypes that exist about British weather, growing pineapples in England proved to be rather difficult and it’s noted that only exceptionally skilled or vastly wealthy gardeners were capable of such a feat. A man called John Rose is often mistakenly attributed with growing the first pineapple in England because of the existence of a painting commissioned by Charles II in 1675 in which he’s clearly shown presenting the king with a ripe pineapple. As it turns out, the pineapple seen in that painting, which was based on a real encounter the King had, was imported from the Bahamas and ripened in England by Rose. As for the real first pineapple grown on English soil, that didn’t exist until around 1714-1716 when a Dutchman called Henry Telende was able to grow one for his employer, Matthew Decker, who subsequently had a painting commissioned in 1720 to celebrate the not unimpressive achievement.
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. II
Now Available $54.00
The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700 – 1700 a.d.
666 pages 197 pages
- ISBN-10: 1943820058
- ISBN-13: 978-1943820054
ONLY 2 COPIES LEFT!
Kicked Out Of Heaven Vol. II: The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700-1700 a.d. is a 3 volume series that will be released one by one. This book details everything about European society and mentality. In this edition you will find these facts: Alcoholism & The Blue Devils, Insanity & Lead Poisoning, Ergot (LSD) Hallucinations, The Sweating Sickness & Leprosy, The Tobacco Enema & Leeches, The Defloration Mania, The Dancing Mania, The Black Death, The Gravediggers & Body Snatchers, Jews Poisoning the Wells, Millions of Deaths, Folklore & Superstition, Magic Mirrors & Crystal Balls, Witches Dancing in Baby Blood, Pants Made of Human Skin, Necromancy & Ghost Armies, Attacks from The Undead, Lycanthropy & Were-Wolves, Multiple Cases of Vampires, Who is Satan, Lucifer & The Devil!
Fox News: Twitter loses it after video showing how to ‘peel and eat’ pineapple goes viral: ‘My whole life was a lie’.