How to Tell If a Pineapple Is Ripe and Sweet Before You Buy It
Before pineapples were sold all over the world, you usually found pineapples in regions where they are commonly grown, which meant the chances of buying an unripe pineapple were very slim.
These days due to increased demand and the speed at which the food business runs, finding ripe pineapples in the store becomes an art.
Of course, you can skip the hassle of looking for fresh pineapple and go for the pre-cut version found in a can, but it just doesn’t have the same natural sweetness that comes from fresh ripe pineapple.
So how to tell if a pineapple is ripe becomes a pertinent question. After all, ripe pineapple is a perfect pineapple.
The difference between both versions is what will give you the taste that is associated with ripened pineapple.
Anything less than that will lead to disappointment because who wants to eat something that tastes bitter and is hard.
There are a number of differences between the unripened and ripened pineapple.
These differences should be taken into account when you are in the store looking to buy a pineapple to enjoy either by yourself or with others.
You should look for a number of things such as the color, texture, leaves, the smell, and even where the pineapple is coming from in the world.
All of these play a role in ensuring you buy the freshest option available to you in stores.
Why Is It Important to Eat Ripe Pineapples?
You may be thinking, why is there so much focus on finding a ripe pineapple?
After all, other fruits can be eaten unripe.
With an unripe pineapple, not only do you risk a bad taste (unlike the sweet taste of a ripe pineapple), you also risk the chance of poisoning.
Eating an unripe pineapple can lead to irritation in your throat, burning feeling in your mouth, and also functions as a laxative.
Steps to Tell If A Pineapple Is Ripe Enough
There are a few steps you can take to ensure you buy a fully ripe pineapple and can enjoy its juicy sweet flavor.
The steps are a little more than other fresh fruits, but it is worth the effort to buy the perfect pineapple.
Step 1: Observe the Color of the Pineapple
The first thing with pineapple, as with all other fruit, is the appearance of the skin of the pineapple.
The color of the pineapple is a good way to measure ripeness. An overripe pineapple will have skin that is more orange than yellow.
Avoid green pineapples as they are not ripe and won’t ripen much further as the ripening process stops once the pineapple has been harvested.
You know your pineapple is ripe when it is a lovely yellow color, not green-yellow, not pale yellow but a rich, vibrant yellow; the brighter the yellow, the higher the chances of the pineapple being at peak ripeness.
Another sign of a good pineapple is one that is free from any dark color or stains on its skin.
This can be a sign that the pineapple is more than fully ripe and damaged.
Step 2: Check The Leaves of Your Pineapple
When you are buying a whole pineapple, you will notice the pineapple has green leaves on top. These leaves can be used to indicate whether or not the pineapple is ripe.
Some people are of the belief that you can tell how ripe the pineapple is with the ability to pluck a leaf from the fruit.
If you can gently tug a leaf from the pineapple without using too much force, then the pineapple is ripe and shows the sweetness of the pineapple.
You should also notice the color of the pineapple leaves, and a green leaf is indicative of fresh fruit, a pineapple that is ripe and ready to slice and eat.
Avoid pineapples where the leaves are not green.
Step 3: Check the Weight of Your Pineapple
This may sound odd because it is not something you do with other fruit, but checking the weight of your pineapple can provide a strong sense of whether the pineapple is completely ripe and fit to eat; choose a heavy pineapple for ripe fruit.
When choosing between two pineapples that may look the same in color, the heavier pineapple is not only going to be riper but is also going to be the more juicy pineapple and sweeter to eat.
The sweet and ripe pineapple is not necessarily the bigger pineapple; in fact, when comparing the weight of this fruit, you should look for pineapples that are roughly the same size.
If you find that the weight of a smaller pineapple is the same as a larger pineapple, stick to the smaller pineapple, it is likely to be sweeter and more delicious.
Step 4: Check The Smell of The Pineapple
Many people believe you can tell the ripeness of fruit by its smell; pineapple is no different.
For the best idea of the ripeness of the pineapple, the base of the fruit gives the best idea. A sweet smell from the base increases the chances of the pineapple being ripe.
Your pineapple should smell sweet; if it has a bitter or pungent smell, then your pineapple is most likely overripe, while an odorless pineapple is likely under-ripe.
Step 5: Buy Your Pineapple Closer To Home
When pineapples have to be sent long distances around the world, they are picked early, which means they stop ripening once picked.
Unlike other fruit, they will not fully ripen while in transit.
This means the pineapple you buy will more likely be unripe, and you will have to ripen it yourself.
Unfortunately, some pineapples can not ripen beyond a certain point. This is why it is recommended to buy pineapples during the summer months and from regions near you.
This way, the pineapples are more likely to be ripe, and if they do need to ripen, you can do it from your home.
Step 6: Check The Feel Of Your Pineapple
The feel of a pineapple is just as important to measuring its sweetness and how ripe it is as other fruits.
The texture of your pineapple is a vital step in procuring a pineapple that is ripe and ready to eat.
When you squeeze the pineapple, the texture should be slightly soft, where it gives slightly on pressure.
If you squeeze the pineapple and it is squishy, then it is past ripe, while a hard pineapple is not ripe at all.
How Does A Pineapple Ripen At Home?
What do you do if you bring home a pineapple that is not ripe?
Unfortunately, you can’t make the pineapple sweeter as the natural sugars from the plant come from the stem.
Pineapple, unlike fruits like bananas, stops ripening once it is plucked. You can ripen the pineapple and make it softer and easier to slice.
There are numerous ways you can ripen a pineapple from the comfort of your own.
So, even if you have brought home a pineapple that is fresh enough, you can ripen yourself.
One way to ripen a pineapple is to place it in a paper bag with other ripening fruits. These fruits include bananas, tomatoes, and apples.
These fruits release ethylene, a hormone that causes ripening and what will cause the pineapple to ripen.
You can ripen a pineapple by keeping it at room temperature for a few days. This allows the pineapple to ferment for a few days and gives you a pineapple that is ready to eat.
You can also put the pineapple in a paper bag to speed up the process slightly.
It may sound odd, but one way you can ripen your pineapple is by placing it upside, with the base at the bottom and the leaves at the top.
The bottom of the pineapple may still contain sugar needed for fermentation, and this sugar can move and spread, thereby ripening the pineapple.
If these methods do not give you the desired result, you can still enjoy the pineapple, and there is no need to throw away food.
There are numerous recipes you can use to enjoy your fruit.
A great way to enjoy your pineapple is by grilling it, don’t knock it till you try it; it’s actually super tasty.
By grilling it, you are using the fruit’s own sugars to caramelize it, giving it a rich, sweet taste.
Other recipes include sprinkling it with brown sugar, roasting it, simmering it, and even eating it with a sprinkle of salt.
These are all ways you can still eat the fruit despite it not being completely ripened and sweet.
How To Store Pineapple
Unless you are throwing a party or are expecting to have your extended family over, it is rare that you will eat the entire pineapple at one time.
You will need to store the fruit so that it does not go off and can be eaten later.
At room temperature, your pineapple is not bound to last long; keeping it wrapped in plastic wrap can extend its lifespan at room temperature.
It is essential that you store pineapple after you have cut into it; leaving it as it is will have the whole thing going off in a manner of hours.
All the time and energy you put into buying a fully ripened and fresh pineapple will go to waste, not to mention the waste of a perfectly good pineapple.
This is why you need to take great care in preserving the taste and freshness of your pineapple.
You can store the pineapple in your fridge whole or cut, and the cut form will only stay edible for up to one week in the fridge.
The cut form should be kept in an airtight container to stop it from smelling like other foods.
If you want the cut pineapple to last longer, you can cover it in lemon or orange juice.
These are the options for a lifespan from days to a few weeks. If you want to have your fruit last for months, then you need to take other steps to prolong its freshness.
A great way to keep your pineapple lasting much longer than a few weeks is to freeze it.
The chunks should be big to retain the maximum amount of flavor as freezing reduces the taste.
Ensure that the fruit is stored in such a way that it does not get affected by other foods in the freezer.
Your pineapple should ideally taste like pineapple and not chicken or vegetables or whatever else is stored in your freezer.
When you go out to buy pineapple from the stores, you should be aware that you need to look for the best option because this is not one of those fruits that will become riper while sitting on your counter at home.
It is, therefore, best to buy the best option in store so that you have a pineapple that tastes sugary, slightly tangy, and is incredibly juicy.
You should look for the color of the pineapple, how it smells, its leaves and how easy it is to pull them, how it feels and where it is from.
Of course, if you accidentally pick the wrong option or simply can’t find anything better, there are a few steps you can take to make it easier to consume the pineapple by attempting to ripen it at home.
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