1 December 2010

Respectful. Economical. Productive.

We say a lot about respect when we use the full measure of what we grow or buy. In the old days it was common practice to use every part of a slain animal; and many people who slaughter their own livestock still do it today. From the horns being broken down and used as a fertiliser, or filled with cow dung and buried to produce the magical biodynamic Formula 500, to using bones for stocks and gelatine, and the meat, including the offal, for nutrition and the hide for warmth. Crafters do a similar thing with patchwork. They don't waste any scraps and by taking the time to piece the fabrics together, either randomly or in time honoured patterns, they produce beautiful quilts, bags and clothing that are sometimes featured on the walls of galleries, but always yield their true qualities of warmth and comfort.

Respect is expressed in those actions of honouring the life of the animal or the work involved to grow the cotton and produce the fabric, by using every part for a worthwhile purpose and by making sure there is no waste to pollute or be part of a landfill dump.

We can carry those principles on very easily when we use our fruit and vegetables too. Again, they can be either grown at home or purchased, the respect for the work and resources involved in producing what you have before you is clear and unambiguous if you use every part of what you have. Take our pineapple, for instance. That pineapple was grown from the top of a local pineapple we bought a few years ago and it will continue on because I will plant this top to grow two more pineapples.

Growing pineapples is simple, it takes a long time, but you will be rewarded for you patience when you taste that sweet juicy organic fruit. I sliced ours down the middle and cut it into chunks. We've feasted on it twice now after our tea and we will finish it off tonight. It is so sweet! When I tasted it I forgot about those years of growing and thought only that we grew it, it was organic and we used every part of it - no waste, everything was used. So how do we get to that point?

Take the top from your pineapple - if you have a choice, use the best pineapple - the juiciest and the sweetest. You will be passing on those genes to your next fruit. Remove all flesh from the base of the top, then peel off several layers of leaves. You want a cutting that is clean and undamaged at the base. Allow it to dry out for a few days, then plant it in the garden in a sunny spot where it can grow for at least two years. Don't put it where you plan on planting tomatoes next season. If you live in a colder climate, I believe you can plant pineapple tops in large pots, at least the size of a bucket, filled with good quality potting mix. Keep the top in the sun for as long as possible, then move inside to a sunny window during the cold weather. Pineapples don't need a lot of water but you'll need to water it in well and water every couple of days for about two or three weeks until the roots start reaching out into the soil.

We didn't fertilise our pineapple much. It got some liquid fertiliser occasionally and natural rainfall, otherwise it was sat quietly doing its own thing. They do take up a fair bit of space when the top has fully developed so if you're planting a number of tops, make sure you give them a metre / three feet space in which to develop. When it's been in a year or so, you'll notice a tiny pineapple emerge from the centre. That slowly develops for about six to nine months and ripens to a perfect fruit. It is ready to pick when, instead of standing upright, it falls over while still attached to the centre. Cut the pineapple stalk off the main plant and leave the plant in the ground. Fertilise with liquid fertiliser and continue as before - this same plant will produce a second pineapple and will take the same amount of time doing it.

When you harvest your pineapple, cut the top off and replant. Eat the fruit and make the skin and the off cuts into pineapple vinegar. I've written about that here. Wonderful! No waste at all. You've used the entire fruit and that one top will continue producing pineapples for as long as you continue to plant the tops.

Respectful. Economical. Productive.



  1. I share your beliefs about using every bit. Out of my pear harvest I canned pears, made pear honey, pear wine. Anything left went to the compost.

    Our Thanksgiving turkey carcass was boiled in water to make a wonderful rich broth. Then drained. Any pieces of meat that hadn't been removed from the bone was removed and saved for soup. Then fresh water is poured over the bones and skin and it is boiled a second time. This provides a marrow broth. After the second draining, both batches of broth are mixed together. The fat is removed and stored away to be used in soapmaking. The broth is frozen for use later. The skin and cartilage is given to the dog. The bones, some of which are so soft you can mash by now, are buried in the garden. Waste not, want not.

  2. i am not sure if a pineapple would grow here in the mountains. a little too cool..
    and have you noticed that many pineapples now have their tops cut off when you purchase them?
    I recently paid $10 for an organic pineapple.. no top either.. but pineapple is so good for you - especially the digestion so I thought the $10 was a good investment [even if a little indulgent] for me :)

  3. So after the plant produces the second fruit, do you pull it up? Or will it produce indefinitely? I always thought they only produced one fruit, so I'm interested to learn that about the second fruit, at least.

  4. I love pineapples....! I love pineapple chicken, pineapple fish, pineapple prawns, pineapple curries, pineapple salad, pineapple tarts, pineapple jam, pineapple juice, pineapple rice ... yeap just name it, I love any dish with pineapples in it....and I love your articles, Ronda....!

  5. Hi Rhonda, You have such a beautiful writing style... your words seem to flow so beautifully like reading beautiful poetry... what a gift you give to others with your words...wish I could write like you do...Thank you:)

  6. How interesting! I would love trying to grow my own pineapple.

    Where we live it gets really cold during the winter. Do you think it would work to plant it in an old bath tub and then move it indoors before the first frost?

    Also could I use a pineapple top from a regular grocery store to grow my own or would it have to be organic?

  7. Thank you Sherrie.

    Joyful Chaos, Yes, I think that will work. Make sure the tub has drainage holes and when you bring it inside, keep it close to a bright window. It doesn't have to be an organic pineapple, any healthy top should take root. Good luck.

  8. oh I remember when you planted it. What A joy to get harvest. We appreciate the things we tend so very much more.

  9. Thank you for your tips on growing pineapple. I'm still looking for a nice fresh healthy pineapple with the top still attached so that I can cut off the top and plant in my garden. I'm sure the freshly harvested own grown pineapple tastes so good. Thank you also for the vinegar recipe. It will be my project this summer.

  10. I love this idea! I'm moving to Queensland in about a month, and trying to learn as much as I can about starting a fruit/veggie garden in such a new climate... I'm from Canada. Your blog is providing some great tips - I'll be sure to keep following. Thanks!
    - Catherine at The Spring (www.thespringblog.com)


I welcome readers' comments. However, this blog never publishes business links or advertisements. If you're operating a business and want to leave your link here, I will delete your comment .

Blogger Template by pipdig