The answer to how to ripen a pineapple starts with choosing a good one at the store. 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. This became important to us for our pineapple salsa.
To avoid having to ripen the pineapple, you should know how to find a good one, to begin with.
When buying from the grocery store, look for pineapples with a fresh and plump look. Go for the ones with green and fresh leaves on their crowns. (We provide a step-by-step guide below.)
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 ripe fruit is ready for harvest or for consumption.
How to pick a pineapple
It is important to remember, the ripening process starts the moment you choose the pineapple. With that said let’s dive into how to pick a perfect pineapple.
Look (Visual Inspection) – One of the fastest ways of determining a good pineapple is by the way it looks.
Color – Look for those that are wide with a deep color instead of pale-looking ones.
Inspect the top – The crown should be green, firm, and fresh.
Squeeze it – See to it that the fruit is firm and not squishy or soft. Contrary to popular belief, softness does not equate to ripeness.
Flip it – 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.
Smell it – 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. A good pineapple smells sweet.
Summary: How to choose a perfect pineapple
- Wide and deep color
- Crown is green and firm
- Firm feel overall
- Check the base for the orange color
- Smell the base for sweetness
How long does it take a pineapple to ripen?
It can take around 18 months before a pineapple is ready to be harvested. You can learn about each growth stages of pineapple here. It is important to note that once a pineapple is harvested, the ripening process starts there.
In other words the pineapple will not become more ripe after it is picked from the plant. However, it will continue to sweeten.
Will a pineapple ripen on the counter?
A pineapple will not become riper from simply sitting on the counter. Pineapples do not further ripen after they have been picked. However, you can follow some steps to help the pineapple become softer, sweeter, and juicy.
How to ripen pineapple
We recommend two methods for how to ripen a pineapple quickly. Of course, do keep in mind that pineapple is as ripened as it will ever be the moment that it is picked. So these steps are frankly, helping you yield a sweeter and juicier pineapple. But it will still come out quite yummy using either of these processes below.
Method 1 – The paper bag method
What you will need
- A whole pineapple
- A large paper bag
- An apple, pear, or nectarine
Step 1: Place the pineapple and secondary piece of fruit in the paper bag.
Step 2: Fold the top of the bag closed.
Step 3: Leave the paper bag on the countertop at room temperature for 12 hours.
Step 4: Check the pineapple to see if it has reached the desired look and feel.
You will know that your pineapple is ready when you smell it and it has that perfect sweet scent that is so familiar. Once it reaches this point be sure to remove both pieces of fruit from the paper bag.
Pineapple can go from unripe to overripe using this process quickly. So keep a close eye on it after those initial 12 hours. If when you first check, the pineapple doesn’t seem ready set a timer and check it every 2 hours until it is.
Method 2 – The upside-down method
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.One of the frustrating issues that can come up with pineapple is the bottom getting mushy and overripe and the top not being ripe yet.
There is a simple process to help prevent this from happening. You can flip the pineapple upside down and ripen it that way. This will keep the juices and sugars from pooling at the bottom of the pineapple.
Instead, they will redistribute more evenly throughout the fruit.One of the problems with this method is getting your pineapple to stay upside down without tumbling over. We will resolve that in the steps down below.
What you will need
- A whole pineapple
- Kitchen shears
Step 1: Trip the pineapple leaves so that they are all the same or near the same length. Keep them long enough so that they are stiff but even. Be careful, the leaves are stiff and prickly.
Step 2: Place the pineapple upside down on the countertop at room temperature.
Once the pineapple appears ripe, place it in the refrigerator on its side. Don’t leave it upside on the counter after it is ripe because this process will shorten the life of the pineapple if it isn’t properly stored afterward.
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. Finally, flip it over and look at the bottom. It should some orange color on the bottom of it. If it is only green, it isn’t ripe.
Is eating unripe pineapple dangerous?
Eating unripe pineapple can sure make a person sick. It can induce vomiting and provide you with an extremely sour stomach. It is critical that you make sure that your pineapple is ripe before consuming it.
How to store pineapple
Storing whole pineapples – The best way to store ripened whole pineapple is in the fridge. A pineapple can last up to 6 months in the fridge.
Storing cut pineapple – Place the cut pineapple pieces in an airtight container. Cut pineapple can last up to 5 days in the fridge before it spoils. To slow down the browning process of cut pineapple you can cat the pineapple chunks in lemon or lime juice.
Can you freeze pineapple?
You can not freeze a whole pineapple but you can freeze cut pineapple pieces. The best idea for freezing pineapple pieces is to flash freeze the pieces.
Then place the frozen pieces in a baggie and squeeze all of the air out. The frozen pineapple chunks will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months if properly stored.
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.
- 1 pineapple
- 1 apple
- 1 paper bag
- Place the pineapple and an apple in a paper bag.
- Fold the paper bag closed and clip it so that it remains closed.
- Leave the bag on your kitchen counter at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Remove the pineapple from the bag after 24 hours.
- Cut and serve as desired.
If you don’t have an apple you can use pear or nectarine instead.
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.