Insider Tips: How to Spot a Perfectly Ripe Pineapple!

The hard, spiky-from-top-to-bottom outside of your pineapple is protecting something pretty glorious inside: Bright yellow, sweet, juicy fruit that tastes like sunshine. That is, if you pick a ripe one. Underripe pineapple can be woody and tart. Overripe pineapple can lose its texture and taste a bit off. So how can you tell if a pineapple is ready to eat? Try any or all of these five tests to tell if your pineapple is ripe.

The Color Test

Look for the outside of the pineapple, called the shell, to be a light or medium yellow color. Some green is fine, but avoid pineapples that are entirely dark green (underripe) or are dark yellow or orange (overripe). If you’re not sure, check the bottom of the pineapple: Its color will give you the best sense of whether or not it’s ready.

The Weight Test

You’ve likely heard that ripe fruit should be heavy for its size. This is definitely true for pineapples. A relatively heavy pineapple also means that it’s juicer, and a juicy pineapple will be much sweeter.

The Sniff Test

Pick up the pineapple and sniff the bottom. When ripe, it should smell fruity and sweet. If it has no smell, it may be underripe. If it smells slightly funky or vinegary, your pineapple may be overripe as the natural sugars are starting to ferment.

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The Squeeze Test

Give the pineapple a squeeze. It should feel firm but give very slightly when ripe. You want just a little give, as too much is a sign that the pineapple may be too ripe. It’s actually easier to feel for what you don’t want: Rock solid is probably underripe, so anything less than that is likely ready to eat.

The Frond Test

You can also use the spiky green top of a pineapple, called the fronds, to check for ripeness. Gently tug on one of the leaves. If it feels loose or comes off, your pineapple is ripe. While the fronds should mostly look green and healthy, a couple dry leaves won’t make a difference.

Can I Ripen an Underripe Pineapple?

Once a pineapple is picked, it won’t ripen much more or get much sweeter. You can try a couple tricks to help soften the fruit though. Store the pineapple upside down for a couple days to let the natural sugars at the bottom seep into the rest of the fruit. You can also try storing with bananas and other fruits that give off ethylene, a natural gas that speeds up ripening.

Can I Eat Under- or Overripe Pineapple?

Since underripe pineapple is not as sweet or juicy, try marinating or cooking it with other sugars to soften and sweeten it. Grill the fruit for a refreshing Grilled Pineapple Salsa or for show stopping Grilled Pineapple Butterscotch Sundaes. If your pineapple is slightly too ripe (but not spoiled) freeze for smoothies or use in bakes like a Baked Pineapple Casserole or a Carrot Pineapple Cake.