You may think of pineapples as a Hawaiian fruit, but it also has a history rooted in colonial America. During the 17th and 18th centuries, only the richest, highest-ranking people in society could afford to have fresh pineapple on their dinner party tables. In fact, store owners would actually rent whole pineapples for the day, several days in a row, so that hostesses could claim the notoriety that came from being able to set a decadent table.
Those hostesses didn't have to worry about picking a ripe pineapple because there wasn't much to choose from when the ships arrived with their Caribbean cargo. Today, though, you can find fresh pineapple in almost any grocery store. If you've ever stood in front of a large display of pineapples in the produce section wondering exactly when are pineapples ripe, you're not alone. But it doesn't have to be overwhelming if you follow this simple guide to knowing when pineapples are ripe.
How To Tell When Pineapple Are Ripe
The most important thing to know is that a perfect pineapple smells, well, like pineapple. Turn the pineapple upside down and smell the base of the pineapple. It should have a fresh, sweet smell. If the base of the fruit doesn't smell at all, then the fruit is most likely unripe. If it smells too sweet, like alcohol or vinegar, it's probably an overripe pineapple and it's started to ferment.
Another good judge of ripeness is touch. You want it to be firm, but with a little bit of give. You don't want it to be soft and squishy. A pineapple at peak ripeness will be heavy, as compared to other pineapples of the same size. In other words, don't look for the biggest, heaviest pineapple, but rather one that's heavy for its size.
Are Pineapples Ripe When Green?
Finally, take a good look. A green pineapple isn't necessarily an unripe pineapple, but the fruit's rind shouldn't be entirely green. Look for a yellow color starting at the bottom of the pineapple. We've never had much luck with the pluck-a-leaf method; it's better to choose the ones with healthy, green leaves instead.
How to Store Ripe Pineapple
Once a pineapple is perfectly ripe, you've got just a few days before it tips over into too ripe. You can store pineapple at room temperature before you cut it, but it will stay fresh a bit longer in the refrigerator. Once you cut pineapple, keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no more than five to seven days.
It's not hard to pick and store the perfect ripe pineapple with a little know-how at the grocery store. And like the hostesses of yore, you too can impress your friends and neighbors with delicious fruit. Even better, because you actually get to eat your pineapple!
This article was originally published on June 27, 2019.