What’s the best way to choose a good, sweet, tasty, tangy pineapple?
Here are a few tips for selecting a great pineapple — to use as garnish for a tropical cocktail, in a fresh pineapple upside-down cake, or just for eating.
7 pineapple-picking tips
1. Choose a pineapple that is heavy and symmetrical for its size.
2. Smell the bottom of the pineapple, and pick one that has a sweet, fragrant scent — not a sour or fermented odor.
3. A ripe pineapple should be gold-colored — not green — at least halfway up from the bottom, but not all the way up to the top.
4. Check for crown leaves that are green and look fresh. (Dole notes that, contrary to popular belief, the ease with which leaves can be pulled out is not necessarily a sign of ripeness.)
5. Make sure the pineapple doesn’t have any bruises, soft spots, and isn’t dry.
6. Some people test pineapples by snapping a finger against the side of the fruit, notes the California Rare Fruit Growers. A good, ripe pineapple has a dull, solid sound — not a hollow thud.
7. Look for a pineapple with a label or tag indicating it was jet-shipped from the plantation (in the US & Canada, that usually means it would come from Hawaii or Central America).
A few more tips
In general, pineapples harvested in the winter tend to be more acidic and have a lower sugar content than does fruit harvested in the summer. (Of course, keep in mind that when it’s winter in the northern hemisphere, it’s summer in the southern half — so the source of your pineapple matters.)
The 10 countries that grow the most pineapple: Costa Rica, Philippines, Brazil, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, China, Colombia and Mexico.
You can keep pineapple in the refrigerator for two to four days — and cut pineapple should be kept in the fridge in a tightly-covered container. However, the Del Monte company also points out that since a pineapple won’t ripen any more after picking, try to eat it as soon as possible.
To find out more than you ever probably wanted to know about pineapple, check out this page from Purdue University’s horticulture department.