Pineapple is a favorite tropical fruit. It can be found fresh or canned in nearly every grocery store. I usually have a can of pineapple in my pantry at all times. It can be added to salads and desserts.
Often a can contains more pineapple than required for a recipe, which leaves a surplus that I must use in another way.
I recently had some crushed pineapple left over. I remembered some moist homemade pineapple cookies that a high school friend would occasionally bring in his lunch. My friend’s mother knew to pack extra, because they were always shared with friends.
Pineapples are very common today, but that wasn’t always the case. Pineapples originated in Paraguay and southern Brazil. They were cultivated in South America and were later grown in the Caribbean.
Christopher Columbus discovered pineapples on the island of Guadalupe. He introduced them to Europe. It took two centuries for European gardeners to find a way to grow pineapple plants. Up to the 16th century, pineapples remained uncommon.
The Spanish introduced pineapples to Hawaii. James Dole started a pineapple plantation in Wahiawa in 1899. A few years later, Dole built a pineapple cannery.
Henry Ginaca, invented a machine that could remove the outer shell, inner core and both ends of a pineapple within a minute. This machine revolutionized the pineapple industry and Dole’s business grew exponentially. By 1922, Dole purchased the island of Lanai, where he operated the largest pineapple plantation in the world. In its peak years, the plantation grew 75 percent of the total world supply of pineapples.
By 1950, one-third of the world’s production and 60 percent of the world’s canned pineapple was produced in Hawaii. Dole ceased its cannery operations in 1991.
Today Costa Rica, the Philippines, Brazil and Thailand are the largest pineapple producers.
Pineapple Cookies are light, fruity treats with island flair. They are a perfect dessert for upcoming gatherings with family and friends.
½ cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment.
In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg. Beat well. Stir in vanilla and pineapple.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually stir flour mixture into creamed mixture.
Drop dough by rounded spoonful on prepared cookie sheets.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.