Pineapple is a wonderful treat for a sunny spring, hot summer, or even in the winter when you want to feel like you are somewhere tropical. When buying pineapple at the store though, you will often find that the pineapple isn’t fully ripe yet, so how do you get a pineapple to ripen quicker, so you can enjoy its delicious flavor?
The best way to ripen a pineapple quickly is to store it with other fruit. Placing the pineapple in a plastic or paper bag will also speed up ripening, as well as storing the pineapple in rice or having the pineapple upside down. Grilling or baking the pineapple also helps bring out the flavor.
So, you know the best techniques in order to ripen up your pineapple quicker. Throughout the rest of the article, I will tell you everything that you need to know about how to pick the best pineapple, get it ripened quickly, and then some of the best ways to prepare your pineapple to enjoy its flavor to the fullest.
If you are ever wondering why buy a fresh pineapple over the cheaper canned pineapple you need to read this article: Differences Between Fresh Pineapple and Canned Pineapple
How to Tell if a Pineapple is Ripe
The easiest way to ripen up a pineapple is to make sure that you choose a ripe pineapple to start off with. There are a variety of methods that you can use in order to determine how ripe a pineapple is and how much juice it is going to have. All of these methods  are easy to do and you can do them in the produce aisle to make sure that you head home with the best pineapple in the store.
Check the Base
You can tell a large number of details about a pineapple just by looking at its base. You will want to take a pineapple and look at the bottom, you should see an orange or a yellow hue to it. If it seems more green then it isn’t ripe yet and you will want to put it back.
Give it a Squeeze
Next, you are going to want to give the pineapple a soft squeeze. This is going to help you find out how much juice is in the pineapple, and if it has overripened. you are going to want to find a pineapple that has just the slightest amount of give but is otherwise firm. This means that it is still ripe but does have a good amount of juice for you to enjoy as well.
Examine the Color
Next, you are going to want to look at the color throughout the rest of the pineapple. If it is a bit green then it is slightly underripe, and if the pineapple is starting to get to a deeper orange then it is overripe. Like Goldilocks, you are going to want to find a pineapple that is a nice yellow, this pineapple is going to be just ripe!
Give it a Smell
The last test that you are going to want to give to the pineapple is going to be the smell test. you are going to be looking for it to have a fruity, fragrant scent. If you don’t smell anything or it gives a bad odor then you are going to want to avoid that pineapple in favor of another. The base will have the strongest smell, so that will be the area that you are going to want to smell.
Once you have a fresh pineapple you might want to check out our article: How To Cut a Pineapple for methods to remove the skin and present your pineapple.
How to Ripen a Pineapple
So, now that you have chosen the perfect pineapple, it should be plenty ripe for you to just take home and prepare. However, if it isn’t fully ripe and you want to speed up the process then there are a few different options that you are going to have. Each process will affect the ripening speed a bit differently, but all help keep the flavors of the pineapple, and some help spread out the flavor even more!
You are going to have to make sure you don’t overripen your pineapple using any of these methods, so you will want to check on the pineapple every day and use the tests that I just covered in order to tell when it is perfectly ripe and ready to eat.
Store with other Fruit Products
A number of fruits and even some produce release a chemical called ethylene when they are ripening. The fruits that are best known for producing this chemical include bananas, tomatoes, and apples. Ethylene is special because it is a chemical that helps fruit ripen faster. So, if you store your pineapple with other fruit, especially those mentioned above, you will see your pineapple ripen much faster, even just after a day or two!
Place Pineapple in a Clear, Plastic Bag
Pineapples also produce a small amount of ethylene when they are ripening, and by storing a pineapple in a clear, plastic bag that prevents the chemical from escaping, you are going to see that it will ripen up just a bit faster than normal. This won’t be as fast as placing it with other produce, however, it will still help it ripen a few days sooner.
Store in a Brown Paper Bag
Just like storing a pineapple in a plastic bag, you can also store it in a classic brown paper lunch bag. To best have this technique work you will want to put a ripe or even slightly overripe fruit in the bag with the pineapple. Fold the bag closed and then you can leave it on the counter for a day. When you get back you should find that your pineapple is now fully ripened and ready to eat!
Store Your Pineapple Upside Down
This is a slightly different method of ripening up your pineapple. You will want to take your pineapple and store it upside down with the leaves on the bottom. This method works because any starches that are left in an unripened pineapple are located at the base. By leaving it upside down, the starches will then move downwards and spread throughout the rest of the pineapple, making it sweeter and the taste more even throughout.
Store Pineapple in Rice
This last method might seem a little bit weird, as typically you just store a wet phone in rice. But if you place your pineapple in a container and then surround it with rice then the rice will remove most of the moisture. This slowly will help the pineapple ripen, though it does take a few days. When using this method, you just need to cover the pineapple itself in the rice, don’t worry about the leaves. You are also going to want to check on the pineapple every day in order to make sure that you don’t overripen your pineapple.
For more information on how to ripen a picked pineapple please check out this article: Do Pineapples Ripen After Picking
How Long Does It Take for a Pineapple to Ripen?
If you use any of the previously mentioned methods, then you are going to have to wait just a day or two depending on the method you choose. However, if you choose to just set out your pineapple, and just let it ripen naturally, how long will it typically take?
Well, contrary to what most people believe, pineapples don’t ripen more once they are picked. Rather they get softer and juicer, but the sweetness of the pineapple stops spreading once the pineapple is picked. So if you just leave a pineapple on the counter you are just letting the pineapple get softer and juicer, rather than ripening like other fruits do.
You might also want to check out our article: How To Grow A Pineapple In Florida for easy steps to growing your very own pineapple. It’s easier than you think.
Now that you have a ripe fresh pineapple you might want to store some so you can enjoy the freshness all year long. To do so please check out our article: How To Freeze Pineapple
Options For Preparing Unripe Pineapple
Let’s say you got your pineapple from the store but happened to get a pineapple that is not fully ripe yet. If you need to have the pineapple ready to go that night, there are a few cooking methods that you can take in order to prepare the fruit so that it contains plenty of its flavor, while not seeming that it is unripe.
By throwing your pineapple onto the grill, you are going to give them a nice caramelized shell around the edge that is going to help contain all of the juices. So when you serve it up, there will be a thin crust that then releases all of the pineapple’s natural flavor that has softened the fruit’s insides.
Baking your pineapple is going to be very similar to grilling them. I personally enjoy grilled pineapple more as it tends to give it just a bit more flavor and is a great summer treat. By baking the pineapple you draw out more of the sweetness, and putting a bit of brown sugar on the pineapple makes them a very sweet and tasty treat for any time of year.
A lot of people find that the best way to cook or prepare pineapple is to first have them simmer in water. This is because, having pineapple simmer helps remove the chemical bromelain, which is what causes your mouth to feel irritated every time you eat pineapple. So, if you decide that you want to simmer your pineapple, then you are going to want to follow these steps.
- You will want to place your pineapple chunks into a saucepan and completely cover them in water
- Boil them on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes
- Remove the water
- Let the chunks cool off before eating
Another great option that you have is to take your pineapple and throw it into a smoothie. These are great for the summer months, and you can always have frozen pineapple by storing leftover pineapple in your freezer. The flavor blends naturally with almost any other fruit and it doesn’t matter if the pineapple is unripe, ripe, or overripe.
To find out the differences between Pineapple Juice and Pineapple Water please check out this article: Pineapple Juice vs Pineapple Water We also show you how to make each and the health benefits.
How to Cut a Pineapple
If this is your first time that you have gotten a pineapple, or just have never cut one up, don’t worry as the whole process is very simple and I will be able to walk you through it so that you can have perfectly sized pineapple chunks for anything from plain pineapple to kabab toppers.
Remove the Top and Bottom
You will start off by taking your large veggie cutting knife and remove both the top and the bottom. You want to cut the pineapple about 1.5 inches below where the leaves start and about 1 inch from the bottom of the pineapple. This will remove the skin in that area but leave you with plenty of fruit.
Stand Pineapple and Remove Skin
Next, you will want to go around the pineapple and remove the rest of the skin. You should start at the top of the pineapple and cut it down into strips. Typically you will have to make about 6 cuts in order to get all of the skin. There likely are still going to be a number of black marks on the pineapple, but don’t worry about those.
Remove Remaining Eyes
Because you are going to remove most of them in this step. These black bits tend to be tough and hard so you are going to want to do your best to get rid of as many of them as you can. As you get more experienced with cutting pineapples you will be able to do this while losing less and less pineapple around the spots.
Cut Pineapple in Half
Now cut the pineapple in half. Lay these halves down on your cutting board in order to make the next few steps just a bit easier.
Cut Pineapple Length Wise
You now are going to cut the pineapple halves into 6 strips. Each half should be able to be cut into 3 pieces length-wise. The easiest way to do this is to cut on the edges from your previous cuts when you removed the skin. This will also help ensure that the outside edges are all even and don’t have any random bumps.
Finish Cutting the Pineapple
The last cut that you are going to make is to cut the strips into their individual chunks. You can have these be any size, if you plan to cook them on the grill or in the oven then you will want to leave the chunks a bit bigger, but if you plan to eat the pineapple on its own then you should have the width of each chunk be around 1-2 inches.
Growing up in a tropical country, pineapple was a part of life. The sweet, tangy flavor bursts in your mouth like sunshine. Pineapple meant tropical paradise. But I never thought much about how my...
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