THE PINEAPPLE.—This delicious fruit is a native of South America, where it grows wild in the forests. It is cultivated largely in tropical America, the West Indies, and some portions of Europe. The fruit grows singly from the center of a small plant having fifteen or more long, narrow, serrated, ridged, sharp-pointed leaves, seemingly growing from the root. In general appearance it resembles the century plant, though so much smaller that twelve thousand pineapple plants may be grown on one acre. From the fibers of the leaves is made a costly and valuable fabric called pina muslin.
Nothing can surpass the rich, delicate flavor of the wild pineapple as found in its native habitat. It is in every way quite equal to the best cultivated variety. The most excellent pineapples are imported from the West Indies, but are seldom found in perfection in out Northern markets.
All fruit for serving should be perfectly ripe and sound. Immature fruit is never wholesome, and owing to the large percentage of water in its composition, fruit is very prone to change; hence over-ripe fruit should not be eaten, as it is liable to ferment and decompose in the digestive tract.
Fruit which has begun, however slightly, to decay, should be rejected. Juice circulates through its tissues in much the same manner as the blood circulates through animal tissues, though not so rapidly and freely. The circulation is sufficient, however, to convey to all parts the products of decomposition, when only a small portion has undergone decay, and although serious results do not always follow the use of such fruit, it certainly is not first-class food.
If intended to be eaten raw, fruit should be well ripened before gathering, and should be perfectly fresh. Fruit that has stood day after day in a dish upon the table, in a warm room, is far less wholesome and tempting than that brought fresh from the storeroom or cellar. All fruits should be thoroughly cleansed before serving. Such fruit as cherries, grapes, and currants may be best washed by placing in a colander, and dipping in and out of a pan of water until perfectly clean, draining and drying before serving.
DIRECTIONS FOR SERVING FRUITS.
APPLES.—In serving these, the “queen of all fruits,” much opportunity is afforded for a display of taste in their arrangement. After wiping clean with a damp towel, they may be piled in a fruit basket, with a few sprigs of green leaves here and there between their rosy cheeks. The feathery tops of carrots and celery are pretty for this purpose. Oranges and apples so arranged, make a highly ornamental dish.
Raw mellow sweet apples make a delicious dish when pared, sliced, and served with cream.
BANANAS.—Cut the ends from the fruit and serve whole, piled in a basket with oranges, grapes, or plums. Another way is to peel, slice, and serve with thin cream. Bananas are also very nice sliced, sprinkled lightly with sugar, and before it had quite dissolved, covered with orange juice. Sliced bananas, lightly sprinkled with sugar, alternating in layers with sections of oranges, make a most delicious dessert.