The Minnesota Pineapple Tree

When we think of Pineapples, the tropical warmth of the South Pacific Islands come to mind. Palms swaying back and forth, and the winds from the equator warming our body and soul all day. Don Ho singing Tiny Bubbles, grass skirted beauties dancing to and fro.

Ok, back to reality, there ain’t no Palm Trees here in Minnesota. It doesn’t makes sense, the name Pineapple. Palm trees look nothing like pine trees and don’t ya know those are the funniest looking apples I’ve ever seen. Sure they’re tasty and all, but really, couldn’t they have come up with a more realistic name than the Pineapple?

The University of Minnesota Extension http://www.extension.umn.edu/ Together with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture http://www.mda.state.mn.us/ decided a few years back that it was time to address this ridiculous misuse of labels and develop a special hybrid tree that indeed was a pine/apple “Pineapple” tree. Numerous attempts at grafting were tried. http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/dg0532.html Taking a variety of young pine saplings and small branches from mature apple trees, they joined them together with hopes of creating a tree that would be coniferous and maintain it’s needles all year long while bearing fruit capable of withstanding the long cold winters of Northern Minnesota.

There were many failures, but at last making use of the long needled Norway Pine, a particularly sturdy and prevalent species, and the McIntosh apple, a variety that is known for it’s crisp but spicy flavor, they succeeded. 

This newly created species is the first, and truest Pineapple tree to be developed. The fruit of this union picking up characteristics of both donor trees. The fruit is sweet and spicy like the McIntosh apples, yet there is a hint of pine cone in the taste. Similar to Gin, the fresh juice of these apples comes close to Tanqueray Rangpur Gin http://www.slashfood.com/2007/03/31/gin-notes-tanqueray-rangpur-gin/ in flavor without even the slightest bit of alcohol.

Another interesting result of marrying these two trees is the apples contain pine nuts rather than the usual apple seeds. Roast them up and you have a tasty replacement for peanuts and popcorn when you pass out the drinks at your next gathering. Remember the kids can drink too. No alcohol, which means no contending with Uncle Joe after he’s had a few too many. Just be sure to leave some for the local wildlife, deer love these new Pineapples too.  Be sure to look at all 3 pictures.

Ok, time to fess up:

Though we at Tangent Lodge http://tangentlodge.blogspot.com/ are highly advanced in our growing techniques, this unusual sight was provided by one of natures own little creatures. Some very industrious squirrels, who enjoyed the left over apples just as much as the deer, carefully toted about a dozen apples up the tree. They skewered them on short stubs of broken branches where they can enjoy a nibble or two at their leisure.


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