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Pineapples

Berkeley Bowl, Monterey Market, Andronico's, and Whole Foods all have only those nasty low-acid "Gold" pineapples.

Where can I find normal pineapples? Is this a seasonal thing?

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  1. I don't think this is a seasonal thing, but rather a switch to growing the low acid pineapples. I've had trouble finding normal pineapples in stores in SF and also in Hawaii and online. I did find some last year online to send my daughter but it wasn't easy. I was looking for organic pineapples and expected that they wouldn't be low acid, but most were. Finally, I talked to a farm in Hawaii that shipped normal pineapples but I don't remember the name of the farm now.

    1. I've rarely had a decent organic pineapple, tend to avoid them.

      We were finding normal pineapples until maybe a month ago.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        My daughter's report, also, was that the organic pineapples were not wonderful. However, with other products I have started with organic early and the quality has improved. For me, to buy organic or not is a dilemma with some products because I want to eat organic and I want to support those growing organic but also eat the highest quality products. Organic is usually higher quality than conventional now (at least in the Bay Area where so much organic produce is grown locally) so it doesn't come up as much as it did.

        1. re: reneesf

          Most of the best local produce is organic, but we don't grow pineapples.

      2. Pineapple season (in Hawaii) is March through July, with the peak in April/May. Caribbean Pineapples have two seasons: August through September and December through February but I don't think they make it to the SF area. Pineapples are also cultivated in Central America and Africa, but I don't know if we get any of those fresh in the US either.

        I have a guess as to why you are finding only low-acid pineapples. First, it's not pineapple season, and to meet demand the pineapples have to be picked and shipped, probably before they are ripe. If a pineapple is picked too early, it's starches won't fully convert to sugars and the higher acid varieties will taste sour. The lower acid ones are still palatable even if they aren't as ripe and sweet as they could be.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Non Cognomina

          Thanks for the info on the seasons.

          Maybe I'll try the Central American-run grocers in SF.

          1. re: Non Cognomina

            Good info - thanks!

            No good pineapples until Dec?

            1. re: Non Cognomina

              So, basically, for Bay Area we should just bear in mind springtime is when to buy Pineapples.

              1. re: Non Cognomina

                OK, should be peak season for Hawaiian pineapples. Has anyone seen any non-"gold" ones?

                I got excited the other day when I saw a sign for "conventional pineapples" at Whole Foods, but of course they just meant not organic.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  This is pretty sad, but I find myself shopping for other Chowhounds. So if I'm in some little market I check out the pineapples. Every market I've stepped into from Vallejo to Berkeley sells gold pineapples ... from the biggies to the corner mexican market.

                  Anyway, I saw some, I think, at Grocery Outlet. The word 'gold' was nowhere to be seen on the tag. They were in pretty poor condition though so didn't mention it to get your hopes up.

                  Did you ever try those mini pineapples from South Africa?

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    It's...creepy. Where are the real pineapples? You're right, this *is* pineapple season. Berkeley Bowl had lots of varieties last year and now they're all "Golds". I asked a produce guy there last week or the week before and he walked me to a table near the end of the onions and...nope: gold.

                    1. re: MollyGee

                      Oh yeah, the Bowl is amazing. They must have 20 varieties of pineapples: different sizes, different countries from all over the globe ... all "gold."

                      The real pineapples may have gone to produce heaven with corn and nectarines.

                      If were rich I'd open a produce store called The Fruit Nazi. Gold pineapples? No fruit for you! Come back one year!

                2. Don't know about the west coast, but here in the northeast nearly all our pineapples are from the Dole mega-farms in Costa Rica and they're just vile. Makes me crazy. I go to Central America fairly often and the pineapples in Honduras, Belize, Guatemala are all terrific. We just don't get them here. Dole seems to have the market entirely sewn up. A couple of years ago we'd get "jet fresh" pineapples from Hawaii when they were in season, and they were quite good. But it's been a long time since I've seen a Hawaiian pineapple in Manhattan.

                  1. Most of the large-scale growers (Del Monte, Dole, etc.) plant exclusively low-acid varieties now, so you're unlikely to find anything else outside of smaller-scale venues. Sadly...

                    1. I seem to remember getting a sweet pineapple at Golden Produce on Church north of Market. I don't remember the brand, however. The most reliable way to tell the quality ahead of time that I know of is to smell the butt end - should have a strong aroma of, what else? pineapple, and the cut stem should not look dry and petrified, like it was cut a year ago. The spines should pull out easily, and patches of the color yellow on the rind is a good sign.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: niki rothman

                        These "Gold" low-acid pineapples are plenty sweet. They just don't taste much like pineapples.

                        Same deal as the awful Frankenfood supersweet corn, or the low-acid peaches and nectarines.

                      2. Don't get too excited ...

                        Berkeley Bowl has thos baby pineapples from South Africa. Don't know how acidic they are as mine is sitting on the table looking cute.
                        http://www.friedas.com/

                        Recent pineapples at Grocery Outlet have been of the 'Gold' variety.

                        Have you ever asked Berkeley Bowl or Monterey Market to order some of the other kind?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rworange

                          I asked at the Bowl. They said they get all different kinds.

                        2. Okay, it's pineapple season. Any sightings of old-fashioned high-acid (non-"Gold") pineapples?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            I'll keep an eye out. Meanwhile, I noticed in your earlier post you mentioned the demise of the nectarine. I suggest you check out Blossom Bluff -- keep checking with them until they can tell you when the "May Diamonds" are going to be available (usually end of May, beginning of June). These are high-acid yellow nectarines that taste the way a nectarine should taste. I keep telling them they should start a May Diamond club, with a newsletter so we know when to run down to their stall and buy them. Mentioning May Diamonds at Blossom Bluff usually evokes a faraway look of longing and a look of respect for you.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              Yeah .. I'm always on the look-out. Nada so far

                            2. This is one of those posts that for some unknown reason stuck in my head and I always kept an eye out for normal, as you called them, pineapples.

                              I thought that you were being picky though. I liked gold pineapples. Then I started eating the regular type in Gautamala and the taste is so profoundly different, I see where you are coming from.

                              I wonder why these do not get sent to the US. There are sure enough regular pineapples here.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: rworange

                                Yeah, I can't understand that. Seems like there are plenty of immigrants who know the difference. People go crazy for irradiated mangoes and that's the same kind of deal.

                                Gold are especially problematic if you have a recipe that uses pineapple to supply acid.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  So any luck finding non-golds anywhere? Or are they still in produce heaven? Can we call on the Fruit Nazi for help?

                                  Michael

                              2. I bought a "regular old pineapple" from Safeway last week (because it was only $1.49) and it was HORRIBLE. The flesh was barely white, it was bitter, and had very little "juice" to it. What a waste of a $1.49.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: CarrieWas218

                                  Well, an unripe pineapple is an unripe pineapple, no matter what the variety.

                                  How do you know it was regular

                                  Sometimes the do not have the tag attached but the box will say gold. I only say that because i have been looking ever since this was first posted and I have yet to find a regular pinepapple anywhere --- ┬┤produce market, ethnic market, supermarket like Safeway ... which I really, really would doubt had a regular pineapple.

                                  My own pineapple lust was the Tahitian pinapple that Berkeley Bowl carried about a decade ago very briefly. I never saw it again which was too bad because it was spectacular.

                                  -----
                                  Berkeley Bowl
                                  2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                                  1. re: rworange

                                    Yeah, for the past few years, if I see a pineapple that's not labeled "gold" and ask about it, it turns out to be.

                                    "Gold" pineapples are actually unripe. That's the trick, they breed them to be low-acid and extra sweet, so they're not inedible when unripe. Same deal with peaches and nectarines. Corn is similar, they breed for extreme sugar levels and can pick green, so it's sweet but has developed no corn flavor, tastes like sugared lawn clippings.

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      I bought a couple and the tag said Tropical Coast, and it's from Mexico. Are those the "gold" variety too?

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          At Evergreen market in the Mission. On Mission between 21st and 22nd.

                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                            The ones for $1.98 at Safeway were from Costa Rica.

                                            1. re: baron45

                                              my understanding from the thread above was that it didn't matter where they were from, they're usually the dreaded Golds if we get them here in California. Mine didn't say Gold on them, but I also understand that they don't all say that on the label, if any.