Can’t tell if a pineapple is ripe? Ask these 3 questions.
Need a fruity snack right away? Pineapple is a great choice. Unlike many fruits, pineapples don’t continue to ripen after being picked – what you bring home from the store is what you’ll get! Unfortunately, thanks to their color variation, prickly exterior, and a few old wives’ tales, knowing if a pineapple is ripe can be difficult. Thankfully, there are a few easy ways to make sure you always get the perfect pineapple. Next time you’re on the hunt for the tangy tropical fruit, ask yourself these three questions:
1. What does it look like?
Despite what cartoons like Spongebob might suggest, pineapples don’t need to be evenly yellow-hued to be ready to eat. Pineapples change color from the stem up toward the crown, forming a yellow and green ombre effect. Though like bananas less green on the fruit usually indicates that it’s riper, there are always exceptions. A fully green pineapple can be ready to eat! Most importantly, make sure the pineapple isn’t totally brown or wrinkled, as this can indicate that it’s gone bad.
Though it’s widely believed, easily tugging a leaf from the crown of the pineapple does not indicate ripeness. Instead, check the leaves out visually: they should be green and unwilted.
2. What does it feel like?
If you’re familiar with gently squeezing avocados to test their ripeness, you’ll be an expert at this technique. A ripe pineapple should provide just a slight amount of give when you press your thumb into it – though not as much as a ripe avocado would.
Plus, make sure to weigh the fruit in your hand. A heavier, or denser, pineapple can mean that it’s both juicier and riper.
3. What does it smell like?
Like most fruits, a pineapple should have a tropical, sweet smell when ripe. Make sure to sniff the bottom of the pineapple and not the top. This is where the fruit ripens from as the stem feeds it the starch which the fruit converts to sugars. While visual cues and feel can be misleading, smell will never lie. Trust your nose on this one!
Keeping a Ripe Pineapple Fresh
Because a pineapple won’t ripen any further once harvested, it’s happy to stay on your kitchen counter at room temperature while uncut. If you aren’t ready to eat it in the days after purchasing, though, putting the fruit in the fridge can help extend its life. Once you’ve chopped your pineapple up, make sure to refrigerate it to keep it fresh. Or, freeze your pineapple chunks to either thaw later or toss into a smoothie for a healthy, frosty treat.
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