The answer to how to ripen a pineapple starts with choosing a good one at the market. The fact is that pineapples stop ripening the moment they are removed from the plant. However, green pineapples can be masked with the use of ethylene gas.
Quick Hint: If pineapple is ripe in the store, it will smell sweet
This gas is not as dangerous or as scary as it sounds. They come naturally from other fruits like pears, nectarines, and apples. When the pineapple is placed in a paper bag with any of these fruits, it will change color from green to yellow.
Although on the outside these green pineapples may appear to be ripe, inside, the texture and taste often remain the same. This is why it is better to pick the perfect pineapple rather than simply trying to ripen it once it has already been purchased.
You Will Need
To avoid having to ripen the pineapple, you should know how to find a good one to begin with. When buying from the market, look for pineapples with a fresh and plump look. Go for the ones with green and fresh leaves on their crowns.
Contrary to popular belief, you should go for those with firm bodies and not for those that are soft.
Another thing to keep in mind is that larger fruits do not translate to better taste. More importantly, remember that shell color does not entirely signify ripeness.
In fact, there are yields known as “green-shell ripe”. Just because fresh pineapple is green does not mean that it’s unripe.
Another good indicator of ripeness is the scent of the fruit. Look for those that emit the sweet scent of pineapple. More than its color and other physical characteristics, this is a good indicator that the fruit is ready for harvest or for consumption.
If somehow you end up with unripe pineapple, don’t worry, we will show you an easy way to ripen it.
However, please remember, although this method helps make the pineapple appear more golden yellow, it won’t change the texture or quality of the fruit. This is why it is important to choose a good pineapple, to begin with.
You will need a paper bag that is big enough to cover the whole pineapple. Ideally, the entire fruit should fit inside the paper bag vertically.
Remember that you won’t be slicing or cutting the pineapple into smaller pieces.
1 whole apple, nectarine, or pear
These fruits emit ethylene gas that helps decrease the green patches on the surface of the pineapple.
Step-by-Step Instructions on How to ripen a pineapple
There are three steps in ripening a pineapple. This involves picking, ripening, and preparing. As mentioned earlier, the ripening process starts the moment you choose the pineapple. Here are the steps.
1. Choosing a Pineapple
One of the fastest ways of determining a good pineapple is by the way it looks. Although these are not the only factors to consider, checking the size and color is a good place to start. Look for those that are wide with a deep color instead of pale looking ones.
The crown should be green, firm, and fresh. See to it that the fruit is firm and not squishy or soft. Contrary to popular belief, softness does not equate ripeness. As mentioned earlier, you want the pineapple to be firm as this is a sign of freshness.
One important tip is to check the fruit’s base and see if it has some red or orange color in it. If there is none, the fruit was picked too early and it is most likely unripe. If until midway to the top of the pineapple the color is green, it would still be manageable.
Finally, the best indicator is the scent. Smell the base of the pineapple and check for its tropical aroma. If there is no scent, the fruit is not ready yet. On the other hand, a fermented or sickly sweet scent indicates it is overripe. You don’t want this either.
There are two methods you can try to ripen pineapple at home. Both are quite unusual, but you can try both, one at a time or use them together at the same time.
The first method involves standing the fruit upside down on their leaves. This method allows the pineapple’s natural sugars to flow all the way down to the core resulting in faster ripening. At the same time, this method also stops fermentation from happening on its base.
If you choose this ripening method, it is best to preserve the pineapple on its side in the refrigerator until eaten. Do not leave it at room temperature once it is ripe enough since the method will considerably shorten the fruit’s lifespan.
Another method involves a paper bag and another fruit: apple, nectarine, or pear. Simply place the other fruit and the upside-down pineapple inside the paper bag. Then, fold the top of the bag and leave it at room temperature for a day.
Many people waste parts of the fruit by cutting through the pulp and chopping off the end and the top too far in. If you are using the pineapple for juicing, you don’t have to worry about getting rid of the skin too much since it won’t matter.
The part near the skin is actually the healthiest bit as they contain bromelain digestive enzymes that are good for you.
What you can do is cutting the base and top closest to where the inner fruit starts. With both ends removed, carefully cut off the skin with the pineapple standing up. This way, it is easier to follow the curve of the fruit and cut it into inch-wide strips.
With the skin removed, lay the pineapple on its side then divide it in half. Cut these halves into another half then divide each into tiny cubes.
Once it’s all done, place the sliced pieces in a sealed container and store it in the fridge for up to one week or use it right away.
Do pineapples continue to ripen after being picked?
To summarize they do not ripen after they have been picked, but it isn't all bad from there. You can soften the pineapple and make it juicier. A pineapple can change color after it has been picked, but it will not get sweeter.
Will a pineapple ripen in the refrigerator?
While a pineapple will soften in the fridge, it will not ripen further in the refrigerator. It is best to leave the fruit on the counter at room temperature. However, if you are trying to slow down the spoil of the fruit, you can wrap it tightly in saran wrap and then place in the fridge drawer.
How do you tell if a pineapple is ripe?
The easiest way to tell if a pineapple is ripe to smell the stem. If it smells sweet, it is most likely ripe. Also, ripe pineapples will have a bit of give to them when they are ripe and not feel too firm.
Is eating unripe pineapple dangerous?
Eating unripe pineapple can sure make a person sick. It can induce vomiting and provide you with an extreme sour stomach. It is critical that you make sure that your pineapple is ripe before consuming it.
To Sum Up
You won’t have to wonder how to ripen a pineapple if you can get a ripe one to begin with. Take note of the signs that indicate the fruit is ready for consumption.
However, there will be instances when the methods indicated above come in handy. The good news is these steps are very easy and they won’t take much time.
Pineapple has a distinct taste and lends a tropical touch to dishes and drinks. Plus, it has amazing benefits for health and fitness.
It serves as immune system support, helps strengthen bones, contributes to eye health, aids in digestion, provides anti-inflammatory benefits, reduces blood clots, and assists in reducing common cold and sinus inflammation.
However, eating unripe pineapple fruit or juice can have adverse effects on your health. These include numbness of the lips, cheeks, and tongue. Large quantities may also lead to nausea and vomiting due to its high amounts of vitamin C.
Some people may also have allergic reactions such as skin rashes, diarrhea, and sometimes excessive menstrual flow. Knowing the negative effects of unripe pineapple, you can understand why the steps mentioned above would be important.
Please feel free to leave questions or additional information in the comment section below and don’t forget to share this article with your pineapple-loving friends.