How to know when pineapple is ripe

Knowing how to tell a pineapple is ripe can be tricky, especially with their hard shells.

But the process is actually a simple one, and you can do it yourself at the grocery store. 

In our latest grocery guide, we’ll be showing you all secret signs of bad produce to look out for when buying pineapples. 

It will save you the cost of buying rotten food items from any supermarket, or even online.

How do you know if a pineapple is ripe?

Typically, you can tell if a pineapple is ripe by the color and texture of the outer shell. The smell and the weight of the pineapple can also tell you if the fruit is closer to spoilage than it’s appearing to be.

Unfortunately, a lot of grocery store shoppers miss these signs easily. 

But if you closely follow these steps, you should be able to pick the right pineapple in no time:

1. Color

Fully ripe pineapples have lush and vibrant green leaves with a greenish-yellow hue to the outer shell.

A ripe pineapple

Oftentimes, shoppers tend to go for pineapples with greenish-yellow leaves, which is a huge mistake.

In most cases, such pineapples are overripe and closer to spoilage. That’s why you’ll need to check for other factors beyond the color to pick them properly.

2. Texture

Another trick to knowing how to tell a pineapple is ripe is to press the fruit with your fingers.Girl holding a pineapple in a grocery storeA ripe pineapple has a firm, yet slightly soft, outer shell. The unripe fruits have completely hard shells, so when you squeeze them, you won’t feel a softness. 

 

But more importantly, avoid the super soft pineapples at all cost as they’re overripe and close to rotting.

If you’re out of options, you can purchase them to use immediately. Tossing them in your fridge won’t save them as they’re already far gone.

3. Weight

Heavy pineapples are riper than lighter pineapples, so it’s best if you hold two pineapples in both your hands and feel which one is heavier.

Two different hands holding a pineapple each

 

It’s important to note that heavy doesn’t mean “large” in this case. 

If a pineapple looks large, but feels lighter than a smaller sized pineapple, then it isn’t as ripe as you may think.

The heavier pineapple is more likely to contain more juice and nutrients than the larger fruit.

4. Smell

If you lift the base of the pineapple close to your nostrils, you may notice a sweet smell.

This smell is an indicator that the fruit is ripe. But if it has little to no smell, then it isn’t ripe.

Although if other factors lead you to concluding that it is, then you may purchase the fruit.

But if the pineapple has a pungent or unpleasant smell, then that is a sign that it’s overripe or already spoiling.

5. Shell

If you gently pull the shell on the outer layer of your pineapple, they may slide out easily or refuse to budge.

If the shells should slide out, it means the pineapple is ripe. But if they don’t, it means the fruit isn’t ripened yet.

Close up shot of pineapple shell

Now that you know how to tell a pineapple is ripe, let’s look at why it’s important to pick ripe pineapples at the grocery store.

Why it’s important to pick ripe pineapples

One of the things you may not know about pineapples is that eating unripe ones can be toxic to your system. 

The pineapple gets all of its sugar from starches in the stem of the plant it grows on. 

So when they’re plucked unripe, they don’t ripen properly and are not as sweet as they should be.

Also, eating the unripe pineapples may cause throat irritation and have strong laxative effects to your body.

How do I ripen a pineapple?

If you end up buying an unripe pineapple from the grocery store, all hope isn’t lost.

You can ripen the fruit yourself at home by using the paper bag trick. All you need to do is put your pineapple in the paper bag and stow it away for a couple of days.

You should be able to see signs of ripening after then.

Alternatively, you can just toss your pineapple in the fridge in the same part where you store other fruits.

Fruits stored together ripen faster because they release a gas called Ethylene

If you read our guide on how to pick apples in a pound, cup or peck, you’d know that fruits that release ethylene spoil faster when stored together.

This method will help you make your pineapple ripe, although you should watch the fruit closely during this experimental phase.

You wouldn’t want your pineapple to ripen so fast that it ends up rotting.


FAQs

How long does it take for a store bought pineapple to ripen?

It should take about 1 to 2 days long for store bought pineapple to ripen. However, the fruit won’t be as sweet as it needs to be because it was plucked prematurely.

When pineapples are plucked from their plant before they ripe, that’s as ripe as you’re ever going to get them.

This is because they’ve been abruptly cut short of the starch supply from the stems of their home plant. This starch supply is what the pineapple converts to sugar to make itself sweet.

Can you refrigerate an uncut pineapple?

Yes, you can refrigerate an uncut pineapple. But it’s best to cover it up with a plastic bag.

That should prevent the ethylene gas released by other fruits from ripening it faster. 

Storing pineapples in the fridge can prolong their lifespan by 4 to 5 days, so you’ll have more than enough time to gobble them up before they start to spoil.

Here’s an extensive guide on how to keep pineapple in the fridge properly.

How do you store pineapples without refrigeration?

If you’re not willing to risk storing your pineapple in the fridge, you can keep them in a plastic bag at room temperature. 

They won’t last as long as they would in the fridge, but you’ll have a 3 days head start before they start showing signs of over ripening.

Before you eat the fruits, make sure to cut off the leafy crowns and flip the pineapples upside down.

This trick has been rumored to push the juices at the base of the fruits to the top, making their taste balanced and sweeter.


How sweet of you to read all the way to this point. If you enjoyed our eye-opener on how to tell a pineapple is ripe, then check out these other mouthwatering guides: