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The Maui Gold Pineapple

Grown on the slopes of the Haleakalā volcano in Makawao, Hawaii, the taste of the Maui Gold Pineapple can add a burst of sunshine to your day.

A pineapple sitting on a rock along the coast in Hawaii.

Read on to learn more about its fascinating history, taste, nutrition, where it can be purchased, and even how to grow your own.


History

While Christopher Columbus is credited with the earliest written reference to pineapples, the Maui Gold pineapple wasn’t developed until 1973.

The big three pineapple companies – Maui, Dole, and Del Monte – came together in 1930 to form the Pineapple Research Institute. They sent researchers to Africa and South America searching for varieties of wild pineapples that they could use to develop a pineapple that would be perfect for canning.

A Maui Gold pineapple plant.
A Maui Gold pineapple plant.

In 1973, Dr. David Williams developed PRI 73-50. This variety had a low acid content, was super sweet, and had three times the USDA daily requirement of Vitamin C. While this pineapple was not good for canning, it was perfect for eating fresh.

When the three companies parted ways, Dr. Williams joined Maui Gold Pineapple Company and in 1988 PRI 73-50 was released as the Maui Gold Pineapple.


Interesting Facts

The hummingbird is the natural pollinator for pineapples. But, if a pineapple is pollinated by a hummingbird it will produce seeds that negatively affect the taste.

Hawaiian pineapples, like the Maui Gold, are grown by planting the crown, and the hummingbird is banned.

Closeup of a hummingbird.

Have you ever noticed that pineapples are common as decorations in architecture, furniture, wallpapers, and other items from the 18th and 19th centuries? That’s because the pineapple was associated with friendliness and hospitality.

One more interesting fact, while writing in his diary about his favorite foods, George Washington wrote that “none pleases my tastes” like the pineapple.


Enjoying the Maui Gold Pineapple

A pineapple on the sand at a Hawaiian beach.

Taste

Your first taste of a Maui Gold pineapple will have you dreaming of the sand, surf, and beautiful sunsets of Hawaii with its super sweet taste and bright yellow fruit.

The Maui Gold is sweeter than the average pineapple and has lower acidity, making it a perfect option for those who love pineapple but it doesn’t love them.

Whole pineapples and a pineapple cut into sections.

Cutting

If you’re not used to eating pineapple, it may be a little intimidating trying to figure out how to even get to the fruit.

One way to cut your Maui Gold is to begin by cutting off the top. Place your pineapple cut side down, and begin carefully slicing down the outer skin to remove it. Once the skin is removed, use a sharp knife to remove the remaining brown nubs, or eyes, and your pineapple is ready to slice and enjoy.

An easier way to enjoy the Maui Gold is to cut off the top and then use a Pineapple Corer and Slicer Tool to bore down into the fruit and come out with perfect slices and no core.

Recipes

Other than eating your Maui Gold pineapple fresh, the easiest way to serve it is grilled. Simply cut the pineapple into strips and throw it on the grill, or in chunks and add to a skewer with your favorite vegetables.

For a recipe that looks as good as it sounds, try making Chicken Teriyaki Pineapple Bowls. Another advantage to this recipe is that your pineapple is the bowl, so no extra dirty dishes to clean up!

For a unique and tasty dessert, or breakfast, try making these Pineapple Fritters.

Closeup of Hawaiian pizza with ham and pineapple.

Nutrition

The Maui Gold pineapple is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium; and high in Vitamins B6 and C, fiber, manganese, and bromelain. Bromelain is an enzyme that helps with digestion, and with fighting pain and swelling.

Where to Buy the Fruit

The Maui Gold pineapple can only be purchased directly from Maui Gold Pineapple Farm in Makawao, Hawaii. However, you can generally find gold pineapples in your local grocery store. For the sweetest pineapple, check the tag and make sure it says “gold”.

A display of Maui Gol pineapples.

Can I Grow This at Home?

Technically, yes. While you can’t buy a Maui Gold pineapple plant to grow, you can grow one yourself from the crown of a pineapple you buy. It might sound intimidating, but we’ll walk you through the process.

Heads up — it takes about 18 months before you’ll be harvesting your pineapple!

Planting

Closeup of a pineapple crown.

With the right conditions, you can plant your own pineapple at home. Keep in mind that pineapples prefer lots of sunshine, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Cut the top, or crown, off your pineapple and remove any fruit. Find 6-8 large leaves near the center of the crown and pull all the other leaves off. Now place the crown aside for a few days to dry out.

Next, you’ll want to grab a dish that is deep enough so the crown can sit in about 1/2″ inch of water without the water touching the leaves. Place this dish out of direct sunlight and watch for roots to develop. This may take a few weeks.

Pineapple crowns rooting in water.

Once you see the roots developing, transplant your crown into a medium-sized pot with well-drained soil. Move your plant to a sunny spot and water it daily.

After the plant is established, you’ll want to add a good water-soluble liquid fertilizer about once a month. It will take about 12 months for your plant to develop a bud, and then your pineapple will develop over the next 3-6 months.

Harvesting

You’ll know your long-awaited fruit is finally ready to harvest when it changes from green to a classic yellow-orange color. You can then tap on the side of your pineapple, much like you test a watermelon. If it sounds hollow, it is ready to harvest and enjoy!

Wearing gloves, grab the crown and, using a knife or shears, cut the stem just below the pineapple.

Storing

Fresh pineapple will last about 2-3 days sitting on your counter, and 5-6 days in the refrigerator.

Once you cut your pineapple, you can store it in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for a couple of days. To help it last longer, try pouring a little orange juice over the top.

Cut or sliced pineapple will still be good for up to a year in the freezer; when placed in a freezer-safe container.


Where to Buy a Pineapple Plant

Closeup of a young pineapple plant.

If you aren’t willing to invest 18 months in growing a pineapple from a crown, you can buy other pineapple plant varieties. We recommend the selections sold through one of our favorite online retailers, Fast Growing Trees.


The Gold Standard

Closeup of display of Maui pineapples.

No matter how you slice it, or serve it, with its super sweet taste and low acidity, the Maui Gold sets the standard for pineapples.

For even more yummy ideas on how to enjoy your fresh-from-Hawaii Maui Gold pineapple, check out our Pineapple Page.