My experiences with pineapple have been somewhat limited. Back in the early 80’s my mother once wowed us a pineapple upside down cake studded with glace cherries, I say once as the spectacular steaming pineapple presentation was never to be repeated, owing to her adamant disregard of following recipe instructions. Later versions never quite made the mark and so the love of tinned rings ceased.
It is too hot for syrupy upside down sponge, but something pineapply was calling to me. Faced with a couple of pineapple purchase options, the cheap as chips version, stacked loud and spiky proud or the small, slightly more expensive selection to the right. I check out the labels on these flamboyant beauties and opt for the Fairtrade version from Equador. That’s a lot of food miles, so this one’s an absolute treat and probably my only one for the year!
The bittersweet truth
If you can spend the extra, I mostly opt for the Fairtrade variety of exotic fruit and vegetables. Fairtrade is an alternative to the conventional marketplace, characterised by maintaining social and environmental standards, it also requires minimum prices are paid to producers. Products with a Fairtrade label originate from long-term, transparent trade relationships; originally only with smallholder farming cooperatives and also with plantations which comply with social and environmental standards.
The bittersweet truth about our imported pineapples (and bananas) is that they are usually cultivated in pesticide-intensive monocultures. Plantation workers and people living close by are frequently exposed to the pesticides, some of which are highly poisonous. Substances such as Paraquat, which is not licensed for use in the EU, or the cancer-causing products Mancozeb and Glyphosate. Spraying pesticides from aeroplanes is standard, a report publicised by Oxfam details not only the harmful environmental effects of such aggressive farming but it also outlines the devastating health impacts. Many of the plantation workers surveyed in this report, testify to high rates of disabilities, miscarriage and cancer.
Supermarket chains should absolutely do justice to their ecological and social responsibility. This includes ensuring humane working conditions, sustainable farming methods and paying fair prices to their suppliers. As a consumer, we also have the option to make conscious choices and by spending that extra 50 pence on your pineapple it could make all the difference! Look out for the Fairtrade logo!
For a flavour explosion dessert, try these fairtrade pineapple rings. Dunked in rich dark chocolate and sprinkled with coconut and toasted almond flakes.
- 1 Whole Fairtrade pineapple, cut into rings
- 150g 70% dark chocolate
- 30g desiccated coconut
- 50g flaked almonds
- Slice and prepare your pineapple into rings.
- Using a Bain-Marie, melt the chocolate.
- Once melted, dip the pineapple rings half way.
- Sprinkle with coconut and toasted almonds.
- Chill in a refrigerator until the chocolate has gone solid.
- Eat immediately!