Pineapples are among the top consumed fruits worldwide and for good reason – nothing beats the refreshing sweetness of a fresh and ripe slice of pineapple. In addition to its sweet and juicy nature, this tropical fruit is packed with nutrients, making it a great addition to your salads, foods and drinks.
That said, picking the perfect pineapple from the produce section is not as easy as it sounds. Pineapples are tricky to figure out, and if you are not careful, you might end up with an unripe and tasteless fruit.
So, how do you tell if a pineapple is ripe and ready to buy? Read on to discover the secrets to picking the perfect pineapple.
7 Surefire Tips for Choosing the Best Pineapple
As tricky as it may seem, these easy-to-follow tips take the guesswork out of landing the perfectly ripe pineapple with each purchase you make.
1. Check the Color
Like most fruits, you can use the color of the pineapple to determine whether it’s ripe and ready to eat. Similarly, the secret to picking ripe pineapples is going for the ones with greenish-yellow exteriors.
As such, you want to avoid pineapples that are overly yellow as this may indicate that the fruit is overripe and about to go bad.
You also want to avoid pineapples that are too green as they will most likely be unripe. Sadly, pineapples do not ripen much once they are plucked from the plant, which means you will be left with an unripe and sour fruit regardless of how long you keep them.
Keep in mind, however, that not all green pineapples are unripe. Some pineapples have what farmers call “green-shell ripe,” and they are just as juicy and succulent as yellow pineapples.
This is a bit confusing and makes picking the perfect pineapple challenging. But that’s why you should consider other factors besides the color of the fruit when buying pineapples.
2. Assess the Leaves
Contrary to what you may expect, the leaves of a pineapple can also tell you if a pineapple is ripe or not. For instance,
In addition to accessing the leaves, you can also try plucking them off to determine if a pineapple is ready to eat or not. This method has its doubters, but it’s still worth a try if you want to pick the perfect pineapple.
Gently pull the innermost leaf of the pineapple. If it pulls out easily, the fruit is ripe and ready to eat. But if the frond is difficult to pull and remains intact even with some effort, that may be a sign that the fruit is not fully ripe.
Keep in mind that if the leaf slips out too easily, that may be a sign that the pineapple is rotten.
3. Squeeze the Fruit Gently
As with other fruits, you can also use the “hand feel” of a pineapple to determine whether it is fully ripe.
To understand this “hand feel” better, it is important to consider how other pineapple states feel. For instance:
- A rock-hard pineapple is unripe
- An overly soft pineapple is rotten
4. Smell the Fruit
Do you have a strong sense of smell? If yes, then you can use it to spot a ripe pineapple.
But if you cannot smell any scent, it is an indication that the fruit isn’t completely ripe and will be sour. Other scent considerations you should keep in mind when choosing a pineapple include:
- A strong alcohol or vinegar smell indicates that the pineapple is most likely rotten.
- While you can smell a pineapple from the sides, the strongest fragrance comes from the bottom of the fruit.
5. Feel the Weight
Weight is another key consideration when choosing a pineapple.
When it comes to juicy fruits, heaviness means more juice – and juicy fruits are ripe fruits.
Note that heavier doesn’t necessarily mean larger. A small ripe pineapple may be just as heavy (or heavier) than a large unripe pineapple because of its water content.
So, when choosing between two pineapples in the produce section, always go for weight as opposed to size.
6. Check the Shape
Besides the look and smell of the pineapple, you should also pay attention to the size of the eyes and the shape of the fruit when selecting a pineapple.
You should also go for pineapples that have a plump, round body and avoid those with a tapered shape. Pineapples that taper at the top are left with very little flesh on the upper section after removing the skin and core.
7. Examine the Spikes
How to Ripen a Green Pineapple
If everything fails and you’re stuck with a green pineapple, here’s what you can do to ripen it up:
- Slice off the top of the fruit
- Place the pineapple on a plate cut side down
- Cover the pineapple and place it in a refrigerator for 2 – 3 days
This method of ripening green pineapples is popular with Hawaiians. They believe that treating a pineapple this way allows juices from the bottom part of the fruit to circulate to other parts.
How to Store a Ripe Pineapple
Now that you know every trick there is to picking the best pineapple, the next logical question is how to store a ripe pineapple.
Bear in mind that ripe pineapples are perishable, and the color may change as the days go by.
Alternatively, you can wrap the pineapple in plastic wrap and store it in your fridge for 3 to 5 days.
On the other hand, store cut pineapples in airtight containers and refrigerate them immediately. Be sure to consume them in five days, or they will go bad.
The things you need to consider when storing cut pineapple include:
- Remove the rough exterior from the pineapple when storing it to increase its shelf life.
- A brown color on a slice of cut pineapple means it has gone bad and should be discarded immediately.
- You can enhance the flavor of refrigerated pineapples by allowing them to sit at room temperature for a while.
Want to store your cut pineapples for up to a year? Here’s how to go about it:
- Slice the fruit into large pieces
- Place the pineapple slices in a freezer-safe container
- Store the packaged pineapples in a freezer for as long as you need
Though picking the perfect pineapple at the grocery store is difficult, knowing a few tips will make the process easier and take the guesswork out of it. Luckily, these tips are easy to understand and follow and guarantee results every time.