How to Ripen a Pineapple Fast
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Learn how to ripen a pineapple quickly! This step-by-step guide shows you how to tell if a pineapple is ripe along with 3 easy methods for ripening. Enjoy the sweet and juicy taste of ripe pineapple every time!
Whether you’re in a rush, or have time on your hands you will definitely want to take whatever steps necessary to be able to enjoy a nice slice of pineapple on a hot summer day.
How to Tell If a Pineapple is Ripe?
Ever walk into a grocery store and just pick up pineapples not knowing if they are ripe or not? Or asking yourself: how do I know if this pineapple is ripe? Here’s what to look for:
- Color: The skin becomes yellow or golden colored as it ripens. In fact, a perfectly ripe pineapple will have a consistent yellow color from top to bottom. Note that a dark orange color indicates it’s over-ripe.
- Touch: If you press a pineapple with your fingers, it should give slightly when ripe. Any squishy sensation indicates it’s over-ripe.
- Smell: Try sniffing the pineapple near the bottom. When it smells sweet, it’s ready to eat. A bitter or pungent smell indicates it’s either under-ripe or over-ripe.
How to Ripen a Pineapple Quickly (3 Methods)
Method 1: Place in a paper bag with other fruits
Pineapples have a little difficulty ripening on their own because they lack sugar after being picked. So they require a bit of assistance from other fruits that can ripen on their own, such as apples, bananas and tomatoes. These fruits release ethylene, a plant hormone which aids in the ripening process.
Placing them in a bag helps contain the ethylene close to the fruits. I find paper grocery bags are the most convenient to use.
Method 2: Place it upside down
If you enjoy a balancing act, then this option is for you! All you have to do is place the pineapple with the base upwards and balance the pineapple on its leaves. This essentially helps the sugars flow upwards to ripen the pineapple.
Method 3: Bury the pineapple in rice
Rice is a natural desiccant that can remove moisture from everything from cell phones to … pineapples! And drying out helps it to ripen.
Place the pineapple in a tall container or pot. Then pour in enough rice to cover the area below the stem. In a day or two, the pineapple will be ripe. Be sure to check daily to avoid over-ripening!
How Long Does it Take for A Pineapple to Ripen?
In nature, a pineapple takes about 16 months to go from planting to flowering, and then 6 months more to be ripe enough to pick. Roughly two years in total!
When you buy a pineapple, it’s usually about as ripe as it will get on its own. So you can ripen it at home in 1-2 days, at which point it’ll be juicy enough to eat.
How to Cut a Pineapple
Using a Pineapple Cutter
The easiest way to cut a pineapple is by using a pineapple cutter. After slicing off the top, place the corer over the middle, twist and push until you reach the bottom of the pineapple. Then wiggle it a bit and pull the corer up to take the pineapple right out of its skin! From there you can dice it or slice it!
If you don’t have a cutter, then grab a chef’s knife or bread knife and follow these steps:
- Cut the top off the pineapple.
- Stand the pineapple straight up and slice it in half lengthwise.
- Remove the core by cutting about 3/4-inch diagonally towards the core.
- Slice it up as you like.
How to Pick a Pineapple?
There is a little secret to picking out the perfect pineapple everytime, a secret that will make your ripe pineapple search a lot easier. So skip the sniffing and feeling and go straight to the fronds.
The fronds are the rigid leaves at the top of the pineapple. Pull them back a little and look for the one right in the middle and tug on it. If it comes out, that’s the pineapple to buy! If it stays, leave it behind…
How to Store a Pineapple?
To store a whole pineapple, just place it on your counter until you’re ready to eat. Keep in mind that it will only keep for about 3 days at room temperature.
Cut pineapple, on the other hand, should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Adding some orange juice will help it last a few extra days, as thr ascorbic acid in the juice acts as an antioxidant for the pineapple. Plus, it adds some extra flavor too!
Will a Pineapple Ripen on the Counter?
Contrary to popular belief and practice, your pineapple will not ripen on the counter. Truth be told once pineapples are picked they stop ripening.
When you place your pineapple on the counter, it will become softer and juicier but it will not become sweeter. So if you’re ok with a soft, juicy pineapple without the sweetness, than this is the way to go.
Do Pineapples Ripen Faster in the Fridge?
No, pineapples do not ripen faster in the fridge. And while they may soften somewhat, it does not improve ripeness.
What to Do With a Pineapple That’s Not Sweet?
Sometimes pineapples are picked early before they’re sweet enough. To improve the taste, you can either sprinkle lightly with sugar or saturate in orange juice before eating. While these steps don’t restore the natural sweetness of pineapple, they can make it taste better.
Another trick is cutting top off the pineapple. Then place the rest upside down on a plate and let it rest covered with plastic wrap or foil for a few days. The sweeter juices in the bottom will spread through the flesh.
More Tropical Fruits:
See more cooking basics
How to Ripen a Pineapple
Paper Bag Method
- 1 pineapple
- apples, or bananas or tomatoes (see note)
Upside Down Method
- 1 pineapple
- 1 pineapple
- 4-6 cups rice, white rice or other variety
Paper Bag Method
- Place the whole pineapple into a large paper bag with other fruits such as apples, bananas or tomatoes.
- Fold the top of the bag down to seal as much as possible. The pineapple will be ready in 1-2 days. Inspect it once daily and remove when ripe.
Upside Down Method
- Set aside a tall vase, container or pot that can hold a pineapple comfortably.
- Place the pineapple in it upside down so the fronds (leaves) are facing up. Wait one day to allow the sugars in the base to spread through the flesh.
- Set aside a tall vase, container or pot that can hold a pineapple snugly. Place the pineapple in it facing up.
- Pour rice around the pineapple until the skin is mostly covered. The pineapple will be ripe in 1-2 days. Check daily to avoid over-ripening.
- Paper Bag Method: Other ethylene-producing fruits that can go in the bag include pears, mangoes, kiwis, avocados, peaches, nectarines and figs.
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So they don’t ripen after picking…but you then list multiple ways to ripen them after they have been picked…
Hi Steve, It’s a play on words really, as what we’re referring to is bringing out the flavor of the pineapple. People call it ripening but it’s only a simulation of it!
the article tells us ways to ripen a pineapple then says a pineapple does not ripen any more after it is picked. WHAT?
Hi Michael, Thanks for your comment. You can’t ripen it in the traditional sense, but it’s still possible to help improve the flavor to be sweeter and more enjoyable. Hope that helps!
Pineapples are a non-climacteric fruit. That means they do not react to ascorbic acid like a peach does. It may look ripper, but the taste and sweetness will not change from the time it was picked. That’s botanical fact. I have a friend who is a fifth generation pineapple grower in Hawaii. If you want sweet and ripe pineapple, wait until it’s ripe (not just mature) to pick it.
Hi Mark, Agreed it’s a bit of a misnomer; however, most people cannot choose when the pineapple was picked since they’re buying in a supermarket.When you have a less-than-ripe pineapple, these tips will help to improve the flavor!
I bought a couple of not-quite-ripe-yet pineapples and was looking for a way to ripen them at home. Going to try the rice method and let you know
Hi Dini, Glad you found it helpful and thanks for your comment!
Hello, I’m wondering if the rice method ripened your pineapple.
Thank you! Can I ask how long does It usually take for Pineapple to get fully ripen?
Hi Tanya, Thanks for your comment – it’s usually within a few days.