Whether you’re looking to break out of your winter rut with the best tropical cocktails, create the freshest party snacks, or up your intake of B vitamins, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more fitting fruit than pineapple. Like most of our top produce picks, it’s best to find, prepare, and consume a pineapple at the ideal level of ripeness. But unlike apples and pears, knowing when a pineapple is ripe can be tricky. To help you enjoy all that this flavorful fruit has to offer, keep reading to learn how to tell if a pineapple is ripe.
Check the Coloring
The outside of a pineapple can offer some clues as to how ripe the fruit is. Examine the base of the pineapple, and then work your way up to the crown of the fruit. The more golden the pineapple appears, the more likely it is to be fully ripe. Pineapples ripen from the bottom up, so you may notice an inconsistency in color. This indicates that the golden part (near the bottom) will be sweeter, while the greener part (near the top) will be sourer. A bronze or reddish hue can indicate overripeness.
Use Your Sense of Smell
While this method may attract some funny looks in the produce aisle (you’ve been warned), it’s one of the best ways to tell if a pineapple is ripe. Simply lift the pineapple and smell its base. Since this is where the pineapple begins to ripen, you should detect notes of sugary sweetness—like the scent of fresh pineapple juice. The absence of smell means that the fruit probably isn’t ripe yet. On the other hand, if the pineapple smells too strongly—especially with a pungent, vinegary, or bitter odor—then it is likely overripe.
Feel for Firmness
Again, lift the pineapple and examine its base, pressing firmly (but gently) against the exterior surface. The pineapple should have a slight give (like that of a ripe mango or avocado) but shouldn’t feel mushy. You can use this method near the top of the pineapple as well, just be careful not to hurt yourself. Underripe pineapples will be completely hard, whereas mushiness indicates overripeness. A perfectly ripe pineapple will feel just right.
Now that you know how to tell if a pineapple is ripe, see how to cut a pineapple in just a few easy steps.