How to Pick a Pineapple That’s Ripe and Ready to Eat

how to pick a pineapple

They’re sweet, juicy and taste like a tropical vacation. They’re essential for piña coladas and go with sweet and spicy dishes alike. No wonder we hold pineapple so close to our heart—er, stomach. But how do you know you’re bringing home the best of the bunch? Here’s how to pick a pineapple that’s ripe and ready to eat.

How to pick a pineapple:

When it comes to determining ripeness, pineapples are tricky. They are, after all, covered in spikes. Here are a few tricks to keep in mind:

1. Give it a squeeze. A ripe pineapple will feel firm but yield slightly when squeezed. Avoid fruits that are mushy or soft (they’re overripe).
2. Weigh it in your hand. Like many fruits, the heavier, the better. A pineapple should feel heavy for its size, which is a sign of high water content (and juicy flesh).
3. Smell it. Does that pineapple smell sweet and tropical? Great—it’s ripe and ready to be blended into a piña colada. If it smells like nothing, it’s not ripe yet. If it smells like vinegar or, um, booze, that’s a sign it’s on its way out.

What color is a ripe pineapple?

You can ignore the color—with some caveats. Most ripe pineapples will turn yellow, but others will remain slightly green. As long as isn’t totally green or browning (and the leaves are bright green and don’t look dry), it’s better to rely on the cues outlined above.

Do pineapples ripen after they’re picked?

We hate to break it to you, but once a pineapple is plucked from its tree, it’s done ripening. It will get softer when you bring it home, but it won’t get sweeter. You could try throwing it on the grill (or a pizza, if you must) to bring out some sweetness, though.

Should you store a whole pineapple in the fridge?

A whole, ripe pineapple will stay fresh at room temperature for up to two days, so you don’t have to put it in the refrigerator immediately, but it’ll last longer (about five days) in the fridge. Once it’s cut into, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days…if it even lasts that long.


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...