Tuesday, 23 June 2015


Did you know that I have a thing for pineapples.  Not the eating kind of pineapples, although I do love to eat them!  Have you ever tried barbequing slices of pineapple.  No, me either, but I really want to have a go at it this summer as I imagine it is incredibly tasty.

My thing for pineapples is mostly for stone pineapples, but also for brass pineapples.  There is a link with them to my beloved Basildon Park too, as you will see below.  After yesterdays trip into vintage and my blogging archives and as I am still occupied with other things, I thought that we might have another revisit today to one of my earlier posts that many of you will not have seen.

I originally posted a version of this post in 2012, but I have updated it a bit for today.

I hope that you enjoy!

Do you remember I suggested looking out for pineapples? 

Did you find any?  Well, I said that I would explain all, and today is the day!

Remember this dish?

Regular readers will know all about my love affair with "my" house, Basildon Park and the guided tours that I am lucky enough to be able to give whilst working there.  One of the things that I love to point out and talk about is pineapples.

You are probably thinking that I am crazy right now, but I'm not!  I promise.

In "ye olden days of yore" pineapples were a very rare and expensive thing.  If you could afford a pineapple you were really something.  Uber wealthy.  Either you had enough money to buy one, or you had enough money to build a pineapple pit in your gardens and have your gardeners grow one for you.  Either way you needed plenty of cash.

So, if you had a pineapple, you would show it off for all you (and the pineapple!) were worth.  You wanted as many people as possible to see your pineapple.  It wasn't just a case of picking one from the garden and eating it. 

Oh no.  You would display it, you would invite guests for dinner and place it in the middle of the table, and show it off and make sure that everyone knew it was there.  There is no way you would just eat it, you would keep it for as long as possible to make sure that lots of people saw it first.

You might have had a special dish to show it off.  This is a pineapple dish which is on display at Basildon Park.

You would cut the pineapple into pieces, insert a wooden dowel (rod) into the hole and then put the pineapple back together using the dowel for support and put the whole thing out on display.  Then after dinner you could disassemble the whole thing and actually eat the pineapple.

If you were not quite as rich, you could rent a pineapple for the evening.  There is no way that you would actually eat this pineapple, but you could display one as though you were rich enough to have purchased it.  Can you imagine renting fruit now!

Pineapples also have another purpose in architectural symbolism.  They are considered to be a symbol of welcome.  I think this comes from the whole idea of displaying the pineapple.

So you often see them in architectural details in buildings.  Here you can see some that are on top of some curtain pelmets.

The place you see them quite often is on gateposts.

In America you sometimes see them used as actual fruit in part of welcome displays, but not really here in England.  They are more likely to be stone.

They were also very fashionable in the 1950's and 60's and were often made into ice buckets and other pineapply ornaments!

So, starting looking out for pineapples, you will see them all over the place.  Please don't curse me though when you find yourself looking out for them, and don't expect to be able to rent one for the day from your supermarket - they won't take it back you know!

Happy pineapple hunting and eating.

Don't forget to share with me where you have seen pineapples!

Since I first wrote this post I have finally got a brass pineapple of my own - two in fact! - and another pineapple that looks like a brass one.  Although I love pineapples a great deal, these are the only ones that I actually own.

The Pineapple Dish at Basildon Park that I showed you above isn't there right now as it has gone off to be loaned for an exhibition as it is an unusual piece!  How great is that.

You can see more of my love of pineapples on my Brass Pineapple Pinterest board!  See, I really am crazy!



  1. Fascinating reading. Thanks for this.

  2. Hi Amy! This has really amused me. Renting a pineapple?! I've never hears of this before, but I could imagine how exotic and precious such a fruit must have been back in those days. We grow pineapples in the town where I grew up. There are truck loads of them in the summer and you can buy as many as you want from the local markets and they don't cost much :-)

  3. Wonderful history Amy, I always wondered what the significance of pineapples on stately homes was. Now I know! We live near the Big Pineapple in Queensland, thats about as big as you can get! https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Pineapple

  4. Imagine renting a pineapple and having to hand it back, how times have changed.

  5. Have you seen the pineapple pit at Heligan, heated to the required tropical temperature by lashings of horse manure. The pineapples they produce (less than 10 a year I think) are so delicious that they gave one to the Queen as a present. What would I give for a taste of a Hekigan pineapple, it's making my mouth water just thinking about it.

  6. I love the brass candle holder and the plastic pineapple !!!

  7. What a fabulous selection of pineapples. The pineapple dish is gorgeous. And yes, grilled pineapple is rather good!

  8. Ηow interesting to know about all those stories concerning pineapple! It's true that once upon a time they costed a fortune but now they are as common as apples or oranges.
    Have fun Amy and take care!

  9. I knew about the pineapple being a sign of welcome as I've done some cross-stitchings in the past. But didn't know the rest of the story of the humble pineapple. So interesting that all through time, folks are always trying to prove themselves worthy. I'd rather eat pineapple. :) Love your brass and silver ones.

  10. Loved seeing all the pineapple, love the idea of renting one. Not much of a fan of eating them though. The only time I use them is when I make Chinese food, sweet and sour pork, you use the juice and the fruit, it's delicious.

  11. An interesting post about pineapples. I've never seen or heard of a pineapple dish before or of 'renting' one to appear wealthy. Thanks for sharing this. Have a good day!

  12. That would be a hard thing to have to return the pineapple! I wonder how many people couldn't bear it and ate the whole thing anyway ... probably lost the whole deposit on top of a fine! Great post, but I really think you need to get yourself some more pineapples ;) I love the one under the glass dome.

  13. I'm not a fan of pineapple, but enjoyed hearing about the symbolism and seeing the stone ones... maybe it's just the taste I don't like xx

  14. I love pinapples and what lovely stories always you have Amy.
    I have a recipe called Tropical dessert I will see if I posted and tell you!
    I think I posted years ago but I have to find.

  15. This a lovely post Amy.
    if you want look in my searching "pineapple desserts" I have someones!

  16. Lovely post, I am going to nip to Tesco's to see if I can rent a pineapple....

  17. What a hoot Amy! I don't think I have anything pineapple,but I loved learning about the sign of wealth. I always knew it was symbol of welcome, but not the wealth part. So interesting and hilarious to think of renting fruit!! Lol

    I have taken fresh pineapple before and tossed with some dark rum and vanilla and roasted in the oven and then put it over rum raisin ice cream. Amazing and tropically yummy! I have grilled it too and put it on chicken grilled with hawaiian flavors for a sandwich. Love me some pineapple. ;)


  18. Well that has put the not-so-humble pineapple in a whole new light!

  19. How times have changed - a couple of weeks ago, pineapples were 60p in Tescos! x

  20. Interesting history of pineapple symbolism. When we visited the southern US city of Charleston, SC, we noticed the pineapple used in architectural features and on furniture.
    I love the taste of pineapple - there's one sitting on my counter top to grill and chop into a summer salad with grilled chicken. Yummy.

  21. That was an interesting post! I knew about the welcome part, but not the rest. Imagine renting a pineapple!

  22. Interesting history on the pineapple. I had never seen a pineapple dish before! I don't use pineapples in my decorating but love fresh pineapple and yes it's delicious grilled just be careful as it likes to fall apart and into the bottom of the grill if you place them on the racks.

  23. What fun, Amy - and I thought the post was going to be about the pineapple crotchet design! That pineapple dish is gorgeous, with or without a pineapple in it. Love all the architecture bits and pieces. xx

  24. Wow so many pineapples! And I learned a lot about them from this post. I've tried pineapple done on the barbecue and it's delicious :-)
    Marianne x

  25. You are the Pineapple Queen, Amy! What an interesting post. I like ham and pineapple on a pizza and I had a pineapple fritter from the chip shop the other week!! xx

  26. We love pineapples too and you have just reminded me that we have one in the fridge to eat ha! X


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