How do you know when a pineapple is good to buy?

In this guide, we will answer ‘how do you know when a pineapple is good to buy?’ Also, we will give five tips to pick the best one from the lot and look into how to store it properly.

How do you know when a pineapple is good to buy?

When buying pineapples, choose the one that appears to be ripe and has a distinct sweet smell and is firm when squeezed. Avoid the ones that are soft when squeezed and have a fermented smell.

How to tell if a pineapple is ripe?

By following a simple 3 step rule you can easily distinguish between a ripe and unripe pineapple. This 3 step rule is; the color, its feel and its smell.

Color

Pineapples go from grayish-green to yellow as it ripens and dark orange as it starts getting bad. So the more yellow the fruit the riper the fruit is, at its peak quality state. Five days prior to harvest, pineapples for sea and air freight export were treated with 20 and 10 ppm of 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid (Ethrel®), respectively. Such ripening accelerators are commonly applied to promote uniform color development (“degreening”) of the pineapples (1).

Feel

A ripe pineapple will feel slightly soft when you squeeze it. If it’s rock hard neglect but if it’s semi-soft you can also pick that but use it as soon as possible. Heavy fruits tend to be more juicy. A greater density corresponds to a greater fruit weight that may possibly imply a larger serving size and a more compact texture (2).

Smell

If the color and feel are top-notch, it’s time you pick it up and give its base a sniff. If it smells ripe like fruity, sweet and bright, pick it up. But if it has a vinegary or fermented smell, then girl! you are better off without it. Pineapple flavor is attributed to sugar-to-acid ratio as well as odorous volatiles. By 2005, more than 380 different volatile compounds had been reported as pineapple constituents. Chemical compounds identified as pineapple aromas are 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethyl-3(2H)-furanone (“pineapple furanone”), methyl and ethyl esters of 3-(methylthio) propanoic, (E)-3-octenoic, (E)-3-hexenoic, 3-hydroxyhexanoic, (Z)-4-octenoic, (Z)-4-decenoic, 2-methylbutanoic, n-butanoic, n-hexanoic and n-octanoic acid as well as γ- and δ-octalactone as aroma active pineapple volatiles. Additionally, hydrocarbons such as 1-(E,Z)-3,5-undecatriene and 1-(E,Z,Z)-3,5,8-undecatetraene were identified as potent pineapple aroma compounds with fragrant odors and low odor detection thresholds (1).

How to pick the best pineapple?

Following are 5 simple tests or tricks you can perform to pick the most perfect one for you;

Color test

Look at the shell (outside) of your pineapple, if it’s light or medium yellow its best. If it’s entirely green or orange, skip those, it indicates under and over-ripeness.

Pro tip – check the bottom of the pineapple, the color there perfectly gives you an idea of its ripeness.

Weight test

There is an age-old saying that says if the fruit is heavier than its actual size it’s juicier and at its peak quality. So pick the pineapple, if it’s heavy then it’s not just a juicy one but also the sweetest one too.

Sniff test

Like previously described, sniff the bottom of the fruit. No smell – it is an under-ripe, sweet, fruity smell – perfect for pick up and fermented or vinegary smell – have over done its ripeness game. This is due to the fermentation or breakdown of the natural sugars of pineapple.

Squeeze test

Like previously described, if upon a squeeze the pineapple feels firm but gives very slightly, this is perfectly ripe. Too much softness is overripened and rock-solid is under-ripe.

Frond test

The spiky green leaves extending from the top are called their fronds. When tugged upon, if it feels loose and comes off easily it’s ripe. Don’t worry if some leaves appear to be dry, it is still good.

What is the nutritional profile of pineapples?

Pineapples are nutritious and refreshing fruit. Following is pineapples nutritional profile (4).

Based on 1 cup (165gms) pineapple chunks
Calories82 kcal
Carbohydrate22 gm
Protein0.9 gm
Fiber2.3 grams or 9% of DV
Fat0.2 gm
Vitamin C131% of DV
Vitamin B610% of DV

Fun fact : Pineapples also have an enzyme called bromelain that is responsible for that tingling or hurt in your mouth when you bite it. It has proteolytic activity and is often used as a meat tenderizer. But don’t you worry your stomach’s acid is much stronger than this.

The major minerals in fresh pineapple are potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and manganese. Major free amino acids identified include asparagine, proline, aspartic acid, serine, glutamic acid, tyrosine, valine, and isoleucine. The fruit also contains phenolic acids such as p-coumaric acid, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, sinapic acid, p-coumaroylquinic acid, feruloyl glucose, p-hydroxybenzoic acid, p-hydroxybenzaldehyde, and syringic acid, and also carotenoids, which exhibit important antioxidant activities (4).

How to store pineapples so they last longer?

There are three ways you can store your pineapple.

Room temperature – you can store your uncut pineapple for a day or two at room temp.

Refrigerator – you can store your uncut or cut pineapple in the fridge for three to 5 days. Keep your cut fruit in an airtight container.

Freezer – it ensures the maximum shelf life with minimal quality changes. Cut your pineapple and place it in an airtight or perforated Ziploc bag. This way your fruit will last you much longer for around 2-3 months. A study showed that freezing preservation of pineapple fruit slices led to minimal chemical changes after a year of frozen storage. Main changes were due to changes of pH and concentration variations of citric and malic acids (3). 

For a deeper insight, here’s everything you want to know about pineapples.

Conclusion

In this guide, we have answered ‘how do you know when a pineapple is good to buy?’ Also, we have discussed five tips to pick the best one from the lot and look into how to store it properly.

Hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

Citation

  1. Steingass, Christof B., et al. Assignment of distinctive volatiles, descriptive sensory analysis and consumer preference of differently ripened and post-harvest handled pineapple (Ananas comosus [L.] Merr.) fruits. Eur Food Res Technol, 2016, 242, 33-43. 
  2. Wardy, Wisdom, et al. A comparison of some physical, chemical and sensory attributes of three pineapple (Ananas comosus) varieties grown in Ghana. Afr J Food Sci, 2009, 3, 094-099.  
  3. Bartolomé, Ana P., Pilar Rupérez, and Carmen Fúster. Non‐volatile organic acids, pH and titratable acidity changes in pineapple fruit slices during frozen storage. J Sci Food Agr, 1996, 70, 475-480. 
  4. Khalid, Nauman, Hafiz Ansar Rasul Suleria, and Iftikhar Ahmed. Pineapple juice. Handbook of Functional Beverages and Human Health, 2016, 489-500.