Pineapple is a wonderful fruit. It tastes delicious - both tangy and sweet at the same time. It can be eaten alone or included in recipes ranging from vegetarian burgers to chicken-and-sauce dishes. It has numerous health benefits including boosting the immune system, strengthening the bones and improving the digestive system. And yet, a lot of people hesitate when it comes to buying pineapple at the store.
Buying fresh pineapple can be a little bit intimidating. If you aren't quite sure what to look for, you may stand in front of a stand of pineapple with a befuddled look on your face until you decide not to but the pineapple fresh after all. A lot of people choose to buy pre-sliced pineapple packaged in its own juices. Although this tastes good and is still good for you, it's not nearly as good in taste or nutrition as if you just bought your own pineapple and sliced it yourself.
So how do you choose a good pineapple? The number one thing that you should do when choosing a pineapple is to smell it. Yes, it feels a little weird to smell your fruit at the grocery store if you've never done it before but it's a good idea to get in the habit of doing it because it's the best way to tell if a lot of foods are truly ripe and ready. When you smell the pineapple, you want to smell close to the stem end of the fruit. You are looking for the fruity smell of pineapple. The smell should be clear but it shouldn't be too strong. If there's any hint of an alcohol smell to the fruit then it may be overripe. If there's no smell from the pineapple then it's not a good choice. Look for that great medium ground. If the smell makes you want to eat it then you can trust that your nose knows best.
Smelling the pineapple isn't the only thing you should do to make sure that you're selecting a good one, though. You'll also want to take a close look at the pineapple. What you're looking for is color. A good pineapple is going to have a rich, vibrant color rather than a dull color. Look at the fruit and make sure that it doesn't seem to have any brown spots. (Of course, there are brown shades to the fruit and that's just fine but if you see whole spots that are brown then the pineapple may not be good). Of course, if you see any black spots or mold then you don't want the pineapple. Also be sure to look closely at the leaves of the pineapple. Even though you don't eat this part of the fruit, it can tell you a lot about how to pick a good one. If the leaves are green and look fresh then the pineapple is good to buy. If the leaves are brown or drying out then you don't want to select that pineapple. In addition to color, look at the shape of the pineapple; the bottom of a ripe pineapple is plump so that is what you'll be looking for.
If you've chosen a pineapple with a good scent, shape and color then you should be good to go. However, you might also want to take a moment to touch the pineapple. Press lightly into the pineapple with your finger. There should be some tenderness there (it shouldn't be super-firm) but it shouldn't be mushy or soft. The pineapple should resist your touch but not be overly hard.
The more that you go to the store and choose your own pineapples, the better that you'll become at it. However, you don't have to have experience to get a good one. Just use your senses of touch, smell and sight to get a pineapple that is ripe but not past its due date.
David Taylor from UK on March 29, 2012:
I'd heard that you could tell if it's ripe by plucking a leaf from the top - if it won't come out, it's not ripe. Is that true?
Eric. on December 15, 2010:
Wow. Thank you so much for this imformative article. I have wondered for many years how to go about purchasing a pineapple. At least now I can go to my local store and not be intimidates over the simple, mundane task of buying a pinapple to eat.
billyaustindillon on June 07, 2010:
Great tips - too many times have I got home and the pineapple is rotten before we have cut it up - NO MORE I SAY!
M Selvey, MSc from United Kingdom on June 07, 2010:
Love pineapple! Great advice here!
Thanks for a very useful hub!
thevoice from carthage ill on June 06, 2010:
excellent quality hub read thanks sorry was sick