Here in Fiji, we have an abundance of fresh fruit that you can pick up in any of the local markets. It’s quite an experience; the vibrant colours and delicious smells of mouth-watering fruit as you do your weekly shop. Pineapples, Papayas, Bananas, Mangoes, Coconuts... even the more exotic ‘Custard apple’ depending on the season.
When a new company called Maleka Garden opened, pioneering Fiji Dried Fruit, we thought we’d take a look at the humble pineapple which grows year-round in Fiji’s tropical climate and is their first product to hit the shelves.
If you like tropical fruit, you definitely need to taste Fijian-grown! The dried Fiji Pineapple is pretty great, naturally sweet without the tartness found in other varieties.
· The word "pineapple" derived from the Spanish word piña, was first used in 1398 to refer to a pinecone. This changed about 300 years later, with the word "pinecone" being introduced so pineapple could be used exclusively for the fruit.
· Pineapples were discovered by Europeans in 1493 on the Caribbean island of Guadalupe.
· Early attempts by Europeans to cultivate the fruit failed until they realized that the fruit needs a tropical climate to flourish. By the end of the 16th century, Portuguese and Spanish explorers introduced pineapples into their Asian, African and South Pacific colonies.
· Because pineapples are very perishable, fresh pineapples were a rarity for early American colonists. Glazed, sugar-coated pineapples were a luxurious treat, and fresh pineapple itself became a symbol of prestige and social class.
Not only do they have an interesting history, pineapples are an excellent source of vitamin C, Manganese, Copper, Vitamin B1, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, folate and Pantothenic acid. They contain an enzyme called Bromelain that helps break down protein, aiding digestion. Which is why if you eat too much pineapple your mouth can feel a bit sore and ‘tenderised’!
Fiji Dried Pineapple has only been on the market for a few weeks and is already flying off the shelves in Fiji’s top Department stores. People love that it’s 100% natural with no added sugar or chemicals, plus it’s a great snack for children and families. If you want to try it for yourself, you can buy it online here at myfijistore.com with free shipping worldwide.
Each bag contains a whole medium pineapple which has been dried using a specialist Dehydrating machine. The pineapples are hand cut and dried over 24 hours, packed and sealed right away for freshness.
Each slice looks like a little flower and tastes delicious – the dehydration process concentrates the natural sugars and makes for a really sweet and yummy taste. There’s a slightly chewy texture to it which is really nice… I found myself quite addicted and was disappointed when I finished the bag!
We’re looking forward to seeing Maleka Garden expand their range. As far as we know, they’re the only Fiji-based company to make natural Fiji dried fruit and the quality is top notch. Personally, I think Fijian Papaya is the best I’ve ever tasted – full of flavour and delicious! So I’m hoping they bring out dried Fiji Papaya next. A big thumbs-up from myFijiStore :-)