A Civil War Era Pineappleade

I decided to take a break from the medieval cookery manuscripts and try something a little closer to home.

Today’s recipe is a very simple infused pineapple drink that is perfect for the summer! This one comes from a book called Six Hundred Receipts Worth their Weight in Gold by John Marquart, published in Philadelphia in 1867. Access the digitized copy here.

I discovered this recipe in a blog called World Turn’d Upside Down via another great recipe blog called Recipe Reminiscing. The directions for Pineappleade are clear enough to make without any prior experience and/or guidance from outside sources, but these blogs have a lot of other related content if you’re interested in 18th-20th century cuisine.


A Brief History

Misses M. and G. Simpson, of Otley
The Black Jamaica Pine[apple] by William Hooker, 1815 for the Royal Horticultural Society. Public Domain
Pineapples were certainly a familiar exotic fruit during the Civil War era, as they had been available (and extremely expensive) in the American colonies for over two centuries. Pineapples were revered and were often used as symbols of hospitality and wealth, a lasting relic of the colonial lifestyle. For years they had been imported from the Caribbean Islands and Cuba until Hawaii was added as a major source in the 19th century. As the fruit became more widely available and the railroad system expanded, costs went down making it possible for even non-socialites to afford them. In 1860, Florida began to grow pineapples locally and by 1900 they were being canned and shipped throughout the states and Canada for mass consumption.

 

Recommended Reading for Pineapple Enthusiasts (or anyone else with an inquiring mind):

The Hidden History of the Housewarming Pineapple 
The Super Luxe History of Pineapples
Hawaii Pineapple: The Rise and Fall of an Industry
The Pineapple Industry in the United States (written in 1895)

 


 

The Recipe

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Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe pineapple
  • 8 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar + more to taste
  • Ice

Directions:

  1. Peel your pineapple and cut into small chunks. Save some pineapple slices for garnish.
  2. Put your pineapple and 1/2 c. powdered sugar in a pitcher and add boiling water. If you don’t have a big enough pitcher, simply half the sugar and water and use roughly 1/2 to 3/4 of the pineapple.
  3. If you have a glass pitcher with an open spout, cover and/or fill in the hole with a paper towel or cloth. Otherwise, make sure the spout and lid are closed to keep the heat in. Leave it to cool to room temperature, which will take a couple hours.
  4. From time to time, stir your infusion and mash down the pineapple with a spoon to get some of the juice out.
  5. When you’re ready to serve add additional powdered sugar to taste. Pour your pineappleade over ice* into individual glasses and garnish with a slice of pineapple. I highly suggest straining out the pineapple chunks.

*Note- If you add ice to the pitcher your pineappleade will be diluted, which will affect the flavor. I recommend cooling it by setting the pitcher over ice or putting it directly in the fridge, but only after the mixture has cooled to room temperature (be patient).  

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Overall, this pineapple-ade is good. Some of my guests liked it more than others. I personally prefer my “ades” to be a bit more flavorful and tart (not necessarily more sweet). I see no reason why you couldn’t add a bit of orange juice or other citrus if you want, though the recipe obviously doesn’t call for it. You have full control over how sweet you want it to be but remember: you can always add more sugar later but you can’t take it out!

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