How to pick the best pineapple every time
With summer mere weeks away, we’re dreaming of lazy days lounging in the sunshine while snacking on sweet, succulent pineapple.
Although they’re available all year long, the tangy, tropical fruit is at its peak ripeness from April to July, making this month a peak time to start enjoying the bold taste of this delicious fruit once again.
The vibrant flavor of pineapples works great in all kinds of sweet or savory appetizers, entrées and desserts. And of course, no summer dream is complete without a cool, refreshing piña colada or mai tai. But knowing how to pick the right one can be the difference between a perfectly balanced sweet and tangy fruit, and a too-tart, bitter mess.
With this in mind, here are a few things to look for when picking pineapples from the store.
The bottom of the pineapple is the most fragrant area of the fruit, so if you want to know if a fruit is ready, turn it over and take a sniff. If it’s ripe, you’ll smell a sweet fragrance, but if it’s not ready you won’t smell anything. If you smell vinegar or if it’s oozing, stay away. It means it’s past its prime.
A perfect pineapple will have a golden skin color. You will likely see the most vibrant yellow at the base, gradually lightening or greening as you move toward the crown. The more uniform the color all over the fruit, the more ripe it is.
The Dole website says that ripe pineapples can be green on the outside — it’s called “green-shell ripe.” But most pineapples will change color as they ripen, so if you’re unsure, color can be an indicator. If you found a green fruit you’d like to purchase, use the nose test. It is the most reliable anyway.
Additionally, look for large knots on the pineapple, especially near the skin, as this means the fruit had enough time to ripen before it was picked.
Select a pineapple that is plump and fresh looking. Green leaves in the crown are a good sign. The body should be firm, but not soft. The larger the pineapple, the more edible fruit inside, but size doesn’t usually factor into flavor.
If you’re not ready to eat your pineapple right away, the best way to keep it fresh for longer is by storing it in the refrigerator.