- Ripening a Pineapple is Pretty Damn Easy. We’ll Tell You How
- 1. Buy in season
- 2. Pay close attention to color
- 3. Squeeze the pineapple (gently)
- 4. Smell it
- How to Store Pineapple
- Your Ultimate Guide to Picking the Perfect Pineapple
- How to Select A Fresh Pineapple
- Don’t be fooled:
- Some tips on using pineapple:
Ripening a Pineapple is Pretty Damn Easy. We’ll Tell You How
Fruits are delicious. Period. There just can’t be a different opinion about it, especially when there are juicy and aromatic ones like the pineapples. But quite often we end up buying fruits which are unripe. So what next? Of course, ripe them at home with the available resources.
An easy tip!
Avoid buying pineapples that are green at the base. Choose the one which is at least orange-tinted or yellowish. This means the unripe pineapple would eventually ripen.
Ripening of unripe pineapples on its own is far from truth. This is because, unlike other fruits such as apples, bananas, pears, or figs, pineapples do not ripe on their own, once picked. The starch that is available from the stem of the plant helps to make the sugar supply of the fruit which makes it ripe. Once it is plucked, it does not receive the sugar, hence doesn’t ripe at all.
But, you don’t have to worry about not being able to eat good pineapples if you happen to buy the unripe ones. The trailing paragraphs of this article would give you some easy to practice tips which will help you savor some good, fragrant, juicy pineapples that will not only taste tropical but also prevent you from getting that signature prickly, burning effect in the mouth. Perhaps, this is the only demerit of this wonderful fruit, once known as the royal fruit as it was famous as the favorite ‘Fruit of the Kings’.
How to Ripen a Pineapple
Store the unripe pineapple with other fruits that ripen easily, such as apples, bananas, or tomatoes. They eject ethylene, which is nothing but a plant hormone that helps ripening.
Store it in poly bags, or other types of clear bags or paper bags at room temperature, for a couple of days, depending on how unripe it is. Usually keeping it for a day shows desirable results.
To ripen an unripe pineapple sooner, always place it with its base upwards and balancing it on its leaves, that is, place it upside down. This helps in the upflow of the sugars which yields in ripening the fruit evenly, and saves the fruit from rotting.
It is also a common practice to store the fruit amidst a heap of rice in a jar. This accelerates ripening.
How to Pick the Right Pineapple
Settle for one which is firm, yet supple. Don’t buy the ones which are very hard and green in color. Avoid the ones which have relatively dark brown, rot-like stain on the skin.
Always look for the larger sized pineapples as the flesh content would be more in them.
Make sure that the leaves of the pineapple are fresh and don’t look stained and dull.
Do not pick the ones that disseminate a foul, unpleasant stink. The aroma of pineapples should be fresh and fruity. It shouldn’t be like that of fermented grapes or cherries.
Storing the Pineapples
# Be rest assured to have great pineapples after storing them in the refrigerator for as long as even six months.
# But leaving pineapples at room temperature for too long, once cut, can ferment them soon enough. Hence, they need to be refrigerated.
# It is advisable to keep the pineapple as a whole while refrigerating. When it is sliced, then they need to be wrapped, else it tends to ingest the smell of other food items stored in the refrigerator.
# You can also store them as juice or crushed.
Technically speaking, a pineapple is not a single fruit. They are the culmination of numerous hundreds of berries which combine together to make this tasty fruit. They are a storehouse of antioxidants, vitamin C, manganese, and most importantly, Bromelain which is an enzyme that breaks down proteins, and also has anti-inflammatory properties.
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Imagine this: You’ve invited some friends over for game night, and you plan on making this mouthwatering pineapple salsa recipe you found online. So, you take a trip to your local grocery store and seek out the mountain of spiky green fruit. You pick up the first one you see and place it in your cart. You arrive back home and do all the work of peeling, coring, and dicing the pineapple up. You mix it in, only to realize it’s absolutely tasteless. Not only are you devastated, but you now have to use your roommate’s store-bought jarred salsa. Yuck.
I’m here to make sure this never happens, because I’m going to teach you tips on how to tell if a pineapple is ripe at the grocery store, to save you many more trips and more dollars.
1. Buy in season
While offered all year round, pineapples are at their best quality (and cheapest price) during the period of March to July. So plan all of your pineapple-laden recipes close to the summer months, rather than having to use canned pineapple (ugh).
2. Pay close attention to color
For pineapple, color is a key indicator of its ripeness. During maturation, pineapples change from green-gray, to yellow, and eventually to orange, each marking a different stage in the pineapple’s life. Your perfect piña should be an even golden yellow, indicating that the fruit is at its peak ripeness.
#SpoonTip: Pineapples don’t ripen very much after they’re harvested, so they will likely remain that same ripeness even after arriving at a grocery store. Even more of a reason to buy when they’re in season.
3. Squeeze the pineapple (gently)
We should all heed Patrick Star’s advice and pay some attention to texture. A ripe pineapple will have some give to it if you squeeze it. However, this indication is subtle, and won’t be as apparent as a ripe vs unripe peach, for example. The key here is to avoid a rock hard pineapple.
4. Smell it
This is one of my tried and true methods of selecting a ripe pineapple. Turn that bad boy over and give it a sniff at the base (the non-pointy end). A ripe pineapple should emit a fragrant smell. If it doesn’t smell like anything or if it smells slightly fermented, you’re headed in the wrong direction.
How to Store Pineapple
Now that you know how to tell if a pineapple is ripe or not, let’s chat quickly about storage. Remember that at full ripeness, a pineapple will only last about two days at room temperature, or up to one week in an air tight container stored in your fridge. So chop your pineapple as soon as possible to prevent it from going bad on your counter.
Congrats, you’ve graduated from pineapple university! I’m kidding, but you can now use your newfound knowledge on these spiky beauties to make amazing recipes like these savory-sweet grilled chicken pineapple sliders or this refreshing sparkling pineapple ginger ale cocktail. Best of all, you’ll never have to worry about making a sad batch of pineapple salsa again.
Sugar-loaf pineapples are rare now in this country, but seven or eight years ago, many came from Puerto Rico. (Now, red Spanish is more commonly grown there.) The sugar loaf is tall, straight-sided, with smooth leaves and tends to be an intense green. It has a thin, sweet, watery flavor because of a low acid content.
The two features to watch for when selecting a pineapple are ripeness and deterioration. Ripeness is indicated by a bright yellowgold color on the skin that at the very least should be present on the eyes around the base of the fruit. Though industry literature states that a fully ripe pineapple may be entirely green, ”mature green,” it is also true that it may not be ripe.
Buying a fully green pineapple is risky. The stem end of the fruit has the highest sugar content and is the ripest portion. The higher up that yellow color goes, the more evenly a pineapple will be flavored. That color, plus a pleasant, mild pineapple aroma at the base are the best guides to ripeness. The surface of the pineapple should be firm and gently yielding to the touch. The ability to pull a leaf from the crown proves nothing about ripeness, despite the enduring popularity of that myth.
Deterioration is marked by a wrinkled skin, a cushiony softness and an aroma of fermentation that suggests vinegar or acetone. An overripe pineapple may be green or a reddish bronze color. Other negative signs are leakage, mold, cracks, gumminess or softness, and brown, withered leaves. All pineapple is sprayed with a fungicide that dries the leaves somewhat, but they should remain fairly green and bright.
Other quality points are well-trimmed butts and single-tuft crowns that are not less than four inches nor more than twice the length of the fruit itself. It is generally wiser to buy a large pineapple because it offers a higher proportion of edible flesh.
Some people feel that it helps to stand a pineapple upside down in the refrigerator for several hours so that the sweet juices at the base run through the fruit, a practice hard to evaluate because it is impossible to know how the same fruit would be had that not been done. Others believe that the fully ripe specimen should be peeled and cut in slices or cubes, sprinkled with sugar and stored covered in the refrigerator for 24 hours. That practice seems best even though it adds calories to a low-calorie dessert – 75 calories to one cup of diced fruit. It is also low in sodium and high in vitamin C.
Buy a pineapple the day you want to use it to avoid deterioration. If you must store it, do so at 45 degrees, or in the upper portion of the average refrigerator. If kept too cold its color will dull and the flesh will become water logged. If kept warm, it will ferment rapidly. Unless you want the crown intact for decorative purposes, remove it by twisting, rather than by cutting it off.
There are some fruits that are determined not to be eaten. From the oddly shaped pit of the mango (see How to: Cut a Mango) to the thick skin and pointed leaves of the pineapple, these tropical fruits are as inhospitable as Death Valley in the middle of July. I was always baffled by that skin and those darn eyes that seem to get in the way of the otherwise pristine fruit inside. Should I use a peeler? Should I plunge a knife straight into the center? Maybe I would be better off just throwing the darn thing against the wall – it would just fall open easily, ready to be eaten, right?
Thankfully, I learned that all I needed was a good sharp knife and a little know-how. Lop off the top and bottom of the pineapple, cut off the skin in strips and cut the sweet fruit into rounds for desserts such as Grilled Pineapple with Brown Sugar Rum Sauce or into cubes for a sweet salsa or to top a pizza. Voila, you are ready for your next journey to a tropical desert island (yep, this method works just as well with your trusty machete).
How to Choose a Pineapple:
There are several ways to tell when a pineapple is ready. First, you should be able to smell the distinctive pineapple smell when you put your nose close to the bottom of the fruit. Second, the pineapple should have a small amount of “give” when squeezed gently.
I once learned that you can tell that a pineapple is ready by tugging on one of the inner leaves. If it’s ready, the leaf should pull out easily. However, it seems that this is an old wives tale, so it would be best to stick to the sniff and squeeze methods.
Cutting the Pineapple:
With a sharp chef’s knife cut the top and bottom off of the pineapple. Cutting the bottom allows an even surface so the pineapple rests securely in the next steps.
If you wish, save the top of the pineapple (leaves and all) to use as part of your presentation, particularly if you are serving a large platter of fruit.
The next step is to cut off the skin. Stand the flat bottom of the pineapple on a cutting board. Cutting from top to bottom, remove the skin in strips, cutting deep enough to remove most of the eyes. Continue to turn the pineapple and cut off strips until all of the skin is removed.
Use the tip of a peeler to remove any stubborn eyes (those brown circles).
Cut the pineapple crosswise into rounds of the thickness desired. Using a paring knife, cut around the core in the center of each round. Use your thumbs to pop out the center.
Alternatively, stand the pineapple on its end and cut the fruit off, in strips, from around the core. Chop as desired.
Recipes using pineapple:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Grilled Pineapple with Brown Sugar Rum Sauce
Simply Recipes’ Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Two Peas and Their Pod’s Pineapple Sorbet
Rasa Malaysia’s Pineapple Fried Rice
Cate’s World Kitchen Pineapple-Coconut Cupcakes
- Pineapples are available year-round, with peak season running from March through July.
Health Benefits of Pineapple:
- Pineapples are a good source of Vitamin C, manganese, copper and folate.
- Pineapples are the only source of the plant compound bromelain, which is associated many health benefits, such as enhanced immune function, cancer prevention, improved wound healing and better gut health.
How to Select a Pineapple:
- Choose fresh-looking pineapples with green leaves and a firm shell. The pineapple should also have a small amount of “give” when squeezed gently.
- You should be able to smell the distinctive pineapple smell when you put your nose close to the bottom of the fruit.
How to Store a Pineapple:
- Pineapples will keep longer if refrigerated in a perforated plastic bag, up to 3-5 days.
- If using within 1-2 days, store pineapples at room temperature.
How to Prepare a Pineapple:
- To cut a pineapple, start by cutting off the crown and bottom. Stand pineapple up and cut away the peel in strips, deep enough to remove the eyes. Cut in half lengthwise, then halve each half to give you four quarters. Cut out and discard the core from the center of each quarter. Cut into chunks and enjoy!
Fun Facts About Pineapple:
- The pineapple gets its English name from the look-a-like pinecone.
- It takes almost 3 years for a single pineapple to reach maturation. Once harvested, pineapples don’t continue to ripen.
Your Ultimate Guide to Picking the Perfect Pineapple
If you’re in the mood to enjoy some pineapple and want to purchase it whole and slice it yourself, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a pineapple. The most important thing is to select one that’s ripe: Once a pineapple has been picked, it will no longer ripen, so it’s important to choose one that’s been plucked at its peak.
Below, a few of our suggestions for selecting a ripe pineapple.
1) For the most part, disregard color.
The color of a pineapple’s shell doesn’t tell you much about ripeness. Not all ripe pineapples are yellow—a green pineapple can be ripe, too. Look for a bit of yellow, which should be present at the eyes at the base of the fruit, but a green tint elsewhere is not a bad thing. The leaves should be a vibrant shade of green.
2) Instead, give it a squeeze…
The body of a pineapple should never be soft (that’s a bad sign). Rather, it should be firm, although it should yield slightly to a squeeze.
3) …As well as a sniff.
Put your nose near the stem side of the pineapple and inhale. It should smell aromatic, with a scent that’s sweet and tropical. If there’s no scent, this is an indication that they pineapple’s not ripe. A vinegary or alcoholic stench means it’s probably past its prime.
4) Feel its heaviness in your hand.
Weight is another consideration when selecting the right pineapple. As with many fruits, the heavier the fruit, the better—generally this means there’s the highest water content, and therefore the juiciest flesh.
5) If all else fails…
If you’re stuck with a pineapple that’s lacking in the ripeness department, here’s what to do:
- Cut the top of the pineapple off.
- Place the body of the pineapple, cut-side down, on a plate.
- Cover the pineapple and let it rest in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Hawaiians swear by this method, as it supposedly helps the juices from the bottom of the pineapple, which was connected to the plant, circulate throughout.
Do you have other tips for choosing the best pineapple? Let us know what they are in the comments below!
How to Select A Fresh Pineapple
To begin with, select a pineapple that is plump and fresh looking. Fresh, green leaves in the crown are a good sign. The body should be firm – not soft. The larger the pineapple, the greater proportion of edible fruit. That doesn’t mean necessarily that it is better tasting or any riper than smaller fruit. Shell color is not necessarily a sign of maturity or ripeness.
A pineapple can be ripe when it is practically all green outside. The plantation calls it “green-shell ripe.” Shell color of ripe fruit are divided into seven groups or levels ranging from No. 0, all green, to No. 6, all yellow. A pineapple will not ripen any further – get any sweeter – after picking. It is sugar that makes pineapple sweet after ripe.
The sugar comes from the conversion of starch reserves in the stump at the time of ripening. Fresh pineapples from Hawaii are picked at maximum ripeness for delivery to U.S. markets. The sooner they are eaten, the better. If you don’t plan to use a fresh pineapple right away, store it in your refrigerator. It will keep better and longer.
Don’t be fooled:
Ease in pulling the leaves out of the crown is not a sign of ripeness or good quality.
Some tips on using pineapple:
Fresh pineapple contains bromelain, a protelytic enzyme that breaks down protein in a manner similar to what happens in digestion. Because of this, gelatin made with fresh pineapple won’t set. Cottage cheese, sour cream and other dairy products should not be mixed with fresh pineapple until just before serving. But, you can use fresh pineapple to great advantage in meat marinade to add a flavor accent and tenderize less tender cuts of meat.
Trust DOLE for the best Hawaiian pineapples!
Pineapple, Ananas comosus, is an herbaceous biennial or perennial plant in the family Bromeliaceae grown for its edible fruit. The pineapple plant has a short stout stem and a rosette of sword-shaped leaves with needle-like tips. The leaves are waxy, have upturned spines on the margins and may be soild green or striped with red, white or cream. When the plant flowers, the stem begins to elongate and produces a flower head of small purple or red flowers, each with a pointed bract. The stem continues to elongate and sets down a tuft of of short leaves called a ‘crown’. Individual fruits develop from the flowers and fuse to form one large cylindrical fruit topped by the crown. This fruit, known as a pineapple, has a tough rind made up of hexagonal units and a fibrous, juicy flesh which may be yellow to white in color. Pineapple may reach 1.5–1.8 m (5–6 ft) in height and some varieties can grow for in excess of 20 years. Pineapple originates from the tropical regions of the Americas.
Pineapple fruit ripening
Pineapple fruit ‹ ×
Pineapple fruit is commonly eaten fresh or it may be cooked in a variety of dishes. Pineapple may also be canned or used to produce juice.
Basic requirements Pineapple is a tropical plant and grows best in temperatures between 23–32°C (73.4–89.6°F). The plant can tolerate colder temperatures for short periods but will be killed by frosts. Pineapple will grow optimally in well-draining sandy loam which is rich in organic matter. The optimum pH for pineapple growth is between 4.5–6.5. Established pineapple plants are tolerant of drought but will not tolerate waterlogged soil which quickly leads to root rot. Propagation Pineapple is propagated from crowns, slips or suckers, with slips or suckers being the preferred method for commercial growers. Pineapple suckers arise from leaf axils, while slips grow from the stalk below the fruit. These are cut from the parent plant and used to produce new plantings. The cuttings are usually cured for a day or two prior to planting by sitting them in the shade. Pineapple plantings are normally set out in double rows with the material staggered 25–30 cm (10–12 in) apart within the double row and allowing a further 60 cm (2 ft) between double rows. General care and maintenance Pineapples require supplemental irrigation during dry spells for optimum production. Mulching around the plants will help to conserve soil moisture. Ratooning may also be utilized as a means of encouraging growth. After the first crop of fruit, ratooning the plants will result in new fruit within 18 months. This process may be repeated a second or third time but then the crop will be rotated to prevent build up of disease. Removing suckers and slips from developing plants helps the plant to focus energy on growing the fruit and leads to larger fruit that develops quicker. Pineapples benefit from the application of additional nitrogen and potassium. Application rates depend largely on the type of soil the plants are growing in. Generally, little fertilizer is required during the first few months following planting but requirements increase rapidly in the period leading up to flower development. Fertilizers are usually applied as foliar sprays. Harvesting Pineapples are ready to harvest when at least one third of the fruit rind has turned from green to yellow. Fruits are harvested by hand by cutting the crown and peduncle from the plant. The fruit will continue to ripen off of the plant.
Bartholomew, D. P., Rohrbach, K. G. & Evans, D. O. (2002). Pineapple cultivation in Hawaii. University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service. Available at: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/f_n-7.pdf. . Free to access. CABI Crop Protection Compendium. (2013). Ananas comosus (pineapple) datasheet. Available at: http://www.cabi.org/cpc/datasheet/5392. . Paid subscription required. Crane, J. H. (2013). pineapple growing in the Florida home landscape. Available at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg055. . Free to access. Ploetz, R. C., Zentmyer, G. A., Nishijima, W. T., Rohrbach, K. G. & Ohr, H. D. (eds) (1994). Compendium of Tropical Fruit Diseases. American Phytopathological Society Press. Available at: http://www.apsnet.org/apsstore/shopapspress/Pages/41620.aspx. Available for purchase from APS Press.