The Only Way To Tell if a Pineapple Is Ripe, According to Del Monte

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Unlike apples or oranges, buying a pineapple is a bit of a commitment. While a good pineapple is hard to beat—sweet, floral, tangy, sometimes with a hint of vanilla flavor—a bad pineapple leaves you struggling to find a use for heaps of sour, fibrous fruit. (Mine’s usually destined for a massive batch of pineapple salsa.)

Coming home and chopping up an unripe pineapple is a disappointment I’ve decided to permanently curtail, and thanks to Melissa Mackay, Vice President of Marketing at Fresh Del Monte North America, I finally know exactly how to nail my pineapple selection at the grocery store. If you too want to find the one amongst a heap of lookalikes, read on for all the juicy details.  

The Best Way To Find Out if a Pineapple Is Ripe

There’s more than one way to tell if a pineapple is ripe, but the best way is to use your nose! Smell the base of the fruit to check for a sweet, tropical aroma. If there’s no smell, it’s probably a little underripe, and “if the smell is fermented or sour, the pineapple may be overripe or starting to spoil,” warns Mackay.

Beyond the smell test, you should also look out for pineapples that are mostly golden yellow in color. A little green is OK, but an all-green pineapple will more than likely be way too tart. If you notice that the base of the fruit is beginning to turn dark orange, the fruit is probably verging on overripe.

What Should You Do with a Pineapple That Isn’t Ripe?

Mackay told me that if I’m buying a Del Monte pineapple, I should expect to be bringing home a peak-ripeness fruit, as it’s harvested to be ready-to-enjoy as soon as it is scooped up from the produce section. This is because pineapple is a non-climacteric fruit, meaning it only ripens on the plant, not once it’s harvested. So if you find yourself with an unripe pineapple, don’t hold your breath waiting for it to sweeten up.

However, if you’d like to keep a pineapple fresh before cutting into it, Mackay suggests placing it in a “cool, dry place away from direct sunlight” or popping it in the fridge to maintain freshness. 

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How Long Will a Ripe Pineapple Last?

Uncut, Mackay told me a ripe pineapple can last three to five days at room temperature and up to a week when stored in the fridge. Just keep sure you’re storing it somewhere dry and relatively dark if you’re keeping it out on the counter.

She told me there’s no rush to cut your fruit when you bring it home if you’re not planning on eating it for a couple days. “However,” she says, “if the pineapple starts to develop brown spots, we recommend cutting it up and storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for an additional three to four days.”

Is It Ok To Store Pineapple Near Other Fruits and Vegetables?

Mackay assured me that there is no issue storing pineapple with other fruits and veggies. Pineapples emit very little ethylene gas, which is a naturally occurring ripening hormone. (This means that the pineapple’s presence won’t speed up the ripening process in other foods stored nearby.) Though pineapples don’t ripen off the plant, they still can be affected by ethylene, but their “thick, durable skin offers protection from the ethylene off-gassing produced by other fruits.” So by all means, throw ‘em in your fruit bowl with your other goodies.

Ready to dig in? Read up on how to cut a pineapple!

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