Pineapple is native to South America. Spanish explorers introduced this tropical and drought-tolerant plant to Europe. Pineapple can be consumed raw, cooked, juiced, or preserved. Many people want to know as to how to tell if a pineapple is ripe because a ripe pineapple tastes more sweet and juicy. In this article, we will answer the question as to how to tell if a pineapple is ripe, as well as tell you how to ripen an unripe pineapple.
Pineapple with yellow skin may not always be ripe. Once picked, a pineapple may soften and get juicier, but not sweeter. According to studies conducted by the University of California at Davis, pineapples stop ripening after harvesting.
How to Tell If a Pineapple Is Ripe
There are five tests you can do to tell if a pineapple is ripe enough to eat. These tests can help you buy a ripe pineapple.
1. The smell test
By smelling the base, you can tell if the pineapple is ripe. The fruit must be at room temperature before this test. Refrigerated pineapples don’t have a strong smell.
Check for a mild pineapple aroma at the base. It shouldn’t smell fermented. If the pineapple has a strong sweet smell, it is ripe.
You can also smell the fruit from the other sides to check for the ripeness. But the scent is sweeter at the base. An overripe pineapple will smell fermented and have an alcoholic or vinegar-like hint to it; don’t consume such pineapples.
2. The touch test
Hold the pineapple. It must feel heavy for its size. It should be heavier compared to the other pineapples of the same size. A heavier pineapple is more likely to be juicy. Squeeze the pineapple. It must be firm but yield to light touch.
3. The pluck test
Pluck an inner leaf from the crown of the pineapple. If the leaf gets plucked without much resistance, it is a ripe pineapple. If the leaf of the pineapple gets plucked too easily, it may be rotten or may have started to rot; this a proven method on how to tell if a pineapple is bad. The presence of reddish-brown wrinkled skin, cracks, mold, or withering brown leaves, indicate the fruit is rotten.
4. The color test
Pineapples generally have a golden-yellow color. However, a greener rind doesn’t necessarily mean that it is unripe. Some pineapples are ripe when they are still partially green.
It shouldn’t be completely green or brown. The base of the fruit should be yellow. The color will rise from the base to the top. The leaves should also be healthy and green.
5. The shape test
Pineapple should have rounded edges and developed eyes. The eyes of the fruit are geometric with spiked centers. The eyes should have filled out and be relatively flat.
How to Ripen an Unripe Pineapple
Sometimes, even if the pineapple appears greener on the outside, it may be ripe. There are even a few ways on how to ripen pineapple after cutting.
1. Exposure to ethylene
Pineapple ripens when exposed to ethylene gas. Fruits like apples, nectarines, and pears naturally release ethylene.
First, choose a pineapple with bright green leaves and a yellow rind with a sweet odor. Then, put the whole pineapple inside a paper bag. Fold the bag and leave it for a day at room temperature. Remove the pineapple and consume it immediately, or refrigerate it for up to a week.
2. Keep it upside down
Starch is present at the base of the pineapple, so if you keep it upside down, it may get converted into sugar. Leaving pineapple whole at room temperature without cutting for a day or two will soften it and keep it fresh for a few days longer.
Store the whole pineapple at room temperature only for a few days. Keeping it out for a longer period will lead to rotting of the fruit. You can also refrigerate the fruit to make it last longer. A whole, uncut pineapple can last about two weeks in the refrigerator.
Cut pineapple shouldn’t be left out at room temperature. You should immediately store it in the refrigerator. Sliced pineapple can be refrigerated for a week, or you can cut it into chunks and freeze it.
Frozen pineapple loses some of its flavor. It will not have the same taste and texture upon thawing. You can cut the pineapple into larger chunks to prevent the loss of flavor.
Side Effects of Eating Unripe Pineapple
Consuming pineapple in large quantities may cause swelling or tenderness of lips, tongue, or inner cheeks. It may also cause irritation and itchiness of the tongue and throat. Along with swelling, if you experience a rash, hives, or difficulty in breathing, you should seek medical attention.
An excess of vitamin C may trigger uterine contractions and cause miscarriage in pregnant women. Pineapple also contains bromelain. So, you should avoid eating pineapple if you are taking antibiotics, anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, or other medication.
Unripe pineapple may be toxic to humans. It may also increase thirst and cause frequent urination. So, avoid consuming unripe pineapples to prevent adverse health effects from this otherwise healthy fruit.
Why Should You Eat Ripe Pineapples?
Fresh, ripe pineapples are extremely nutritious and should be a part of your balanced diet. Its many health benefits include eye and bone health, improved digestion, blood clot reduction, and more.
Pineapples contain good amounts of vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber. They also contain some amounts of vitamins A, B, and K, copper, potassium, and phytosterols.
So, now you know how to tell if a pineapple is ripe, as well as its health benefits. Make sure you opt for fresh fruit rather than the canned variety. However, if you must eat canned pineapple, avoid the ones with sugar or syrup.
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