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Pineapple Talk - How To Pick A Ripe Pineapple

I have read Dole and the other pineapple industry authorities try to sell us that green is ripe. Not all green but some green but I am not buying it, literally and figuratively. I've never had a green one that taste good and it's only good tasting if it's ripe. I also grow pineapple in the garden at home and know that ripe is when it's a golden shell. The ones I have grown are Dole and Del Monte which are known as MD-2 variety and I have grown Maui Pineapple which are known as MD-1 or CO-2 as it is now. I have grown a South African Victoria which is a small one and taste great. All of these types taste optimal when picked when the shell gets yellow. I do understand why the pineapple industry seem to fill the stores with green pineapples because if they pick them when they are yellow on the plant then by the time they get to the stores and wait around they will go bad if they are not sold out right away. I do understand that transit from Costa Rica or Hawaii can take a couple of days and a day to process at the plantation. What I don't like is that the industry is trying to convince us that ripe can be green. I never have had a green pineapple that was ripe therefore I never buy green pineapples anymore.

Now on occasion that I have found a Maui Pineapple in the store they are always yellow and obviously they were picked that way, so the Maui Pineapple company has integrity and don't sell green pineapples. Every Maui I had was perfectly delicious. Pineapples go south fast so Maui must have pride in their work and stand behind every pineapple if they pick them ripe and ship to stores. They know they'll sell fast. Like above I said Maui are MD-1 or CO-2 as they are called now unlike the rest that are MD-2 variety. The shell when ripe is yellow but a different shade and maybe a bit of a matt or unshinny finish but MD-2 variety are kinda of shinny.

What about you, how do you find your pineapples in the stores? Find them ripe and yellow or green and tart and not worth buying and eating?

Also if they smell sweet they are sweet or they are old and breaking down inside but not really ripe but fermenting.

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  1. Ooops, no one cares about pineapples but me apparently.

    1. Nope, I love them too. But I am really landlock and nab a Dole when I can. While visiting O'ahu I had a Maui one in the welcomg basket along with "candy apple" bananas. Made me realize there are many different kinds of pineapples and bananas.

      Thing is, I've had sweet green pineapples. So the 'bark' is not my usual indicator. It's the smell of it and if the center fronds pull away easily and really smell sweet. Then again I will agree pineapples taste better in Hawaii but that could be the location bias. lol!

      3 Replies
      1. re: Crockett67

        Hi Crockett, I read on a blog or article on the net that someone claimed that he got a really sweet green pineapple and I had a hard time believe that but I did not think he was making that up either, just sounded odd but you confirmed also you can. I personally have never had a green pineapple that smelled sweet and had the fronds easily pulled out either. I will do a search of the stores and try to find a green that smells sweet and the fronds pull out easily and see how it taste.

        I saw your profile I think it said you are in Ohio. I have been there as my sister and her family live in Kentucky so we went up to Cincinnati. It was spring so it was not so cold but I can imagine that it's super cold and snowing other times of year. My point is you can grow a pineapple in a pot in your home if you want and bring it out after winter when it is warmer in late spring. Banana you can forget about but pineapple yes. I have a banana tree, two growing but one is finally starting to fruit. Bums me out because I can't get why it's fruiting in late fall/early winter. I wanted it to fruit in summer or spring to get optimal heating conditions now I'm afraid they might not ripen right. It doesn't freeze here but still better hot.

        Since you are East Coast you should just go to FL, it's closer than Hawaii and you can get a lot of banana and pineapple there since it's tropical there. Maybe a two hour flight to Miami.

        1. re: HoundDogz

          Better yet, the pineapple farms in San Blas, Mexico, on the Pacific coast. Bright yellow and harvested that morning. You have to cut them in a bowl because they almost explode like water balloons with sweet juice. But bring Deet, it's mosquito territory.

          1. re: Veggo

            I have heard that most of the pineapple farms in Mexico are in Veracruz near the Gulf Coast. Those pineapples from that region that I have had bough here in the US were always green and not sweet but bitter because they were not ripe at all. There was one exception, I was at Smart & Final and they had bright yellow ripe pineapples grown in Mexico but I forget the brand and the thing was sweet as all heck. It was a great pineapple. Makes me wonder from what you said if this one was from the Pacific side because it fits the description of what you say about the ones on the Pacific side. I think because it takes a couple of days to pick and transport to the US they try to pick green because if they don't sell right away then they rot fast. I think if they sent over riped yellow ones as you describe that they will sell really fast and before they can get rotten. I really love a ripe pineapple.

      2. I was told by a trained chef that there are three things to check for in judging pineapple ripeness. The first two I knew already- aroma and the leaf-pull test. The third one was totally unexpected. She said that if the eyes are all of a uniform size, a pineapple will be ripe and sweet regardless of color.

        2 Replies
        1. re: eclecticsynergy

          I got ahold of some Maui Pineapples finally. Maui really does pick them ripe, either golden shell or maybe 70% golden and 30% green shell in appearance. Other companies like Dole and Del Monte are almost all green. I noticed that the small production of Dole's that are still grown in Hawaii and sold here in the mainland are picked more ripe than their Costa Rica cousins. The Dole Hawaii are either all gold or mostly gold with some green.

          Back to the Maui. The ones that are all golden must be eaten quick because they are so ripe that in about 5 days they'll turn to mush. The ones that are slightly greenish with more gold to them last longer without mushing and also have a firmer texture and although sweet have a slight tartness but I say tartness not sour. I found that I do like the ones that are mostly golden with some green because the sweet yet tart flavor and firm texture give a really interesting and great flavor and feel to them. I will take a 100% golden pineapple too because those are super sweet but the slightly green are interesting.

          But the Dole and Del Monte from Costa Rica are picked too green for my taste. I know some of you note that color might not reflect ripeness but to me I never have had a green one that taste sweet or good.

          1. re: eclecticsynergy

            my aroma test only applies for the "butt" of the pineapple. but then again, I live in New York City, so what do I know about pineapples? All this Maui talk sickens me.

          2. Where can I find a Maui pineapple? And don't say "in Maui"... because if it were feasible I would have left already! Are they sold in LA (I'm west, near Sta Monica)?
            I remember my mom pushing at the bottom of pineapples. She said that if they gave a little bit it meant they were ready to eat, but you had to eat them soon or they'd go bad.

            2 Replies
            1. re: NYdiva

              Now I really say you can find one "in Maui" but you said not to say that you can find one "in Maui" so I won't say you can find one "in Maui".

              I have to find the phone number but I have the number of the distributor who can direct you to the nearest market that sells these. I am on the other side of town than where you are so I am sure you need to get one in your area and the distributor will direct you to the nearest store. I misplaced the number but will find it and post it. Have not been to Santa Monica in awhile but when I go I love Truetone Music, great guitar shop. I don't know where in SM to get pineapples though.

              1. re: NYdiva

                Call this number and they can tell you where you can find them. They are the distributor here in Los Angeles for the pineapples - (661) 854-0644. The distributor is called AR-CAL. They will direct you to a place near you in Santa Monica where you can find Maui if they sell them out your way. Sometimes Bristol Farms sells them but of course Bristol is an expensive store but not as much as Gelsons.

              2. I've always been given to understand that if the top leaves easily pull away, then it's ripe. That said, I don't really know if that's an urban myth.

                I also give them a squeeze to make sure they are not soft. And giving them a sniff is worth a try.

                1 Reply
                1. I am also frustrated by all of the green pineapple for sale and will usually make the trip to Berekeley Bowl (a 35 min drive for me) just to get a yellow pineapple. It's a shame so many stores in my area offer otherwise quality produce, but are only selling green, unripe pineapple without any fragrance.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rabaja

                    Exactly that is how I feel. They do that because if they pick it really ripe, yellow, then they are afraid if they don't sell fast enough they'll get really spoiled fast and lose money on inventory. I don't believe that when it's green it can be right. I have had some that are 75% yellow with some green and were ripe but never 100% green.

                  2. Living in NE, we don't get the fabulous pineapples you seem to be talking about. I do fine, though, at COSTCO, where they sell Costa RIcan pineapples, many of which are yellow or on the way to being yellow.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: EllenMM

                      They don't go on the way to yellow. They don't change color unless they are gonna start going bad. NE, where is that? Does that mean the North East or Nebraska?

                    2. Here are some things I have been told about pineapple:

                      -once picked, a pineapple does not ripen any more; it must be picked ripe
                      -the "leaf-pull test" for ripeness does NOT indicate ripeness - it indicates nothing at all


                      I understand that they ONLY ripen after picking, so HoundDogz, yours should be fine.

                      Oh, and while we are potentially mythbusting, YES, YOU CAN WASH MUSHROOMS.


                      1. For me, it's definitely the smell test. I've had pineapples that you can pull the top leaf, but faintly aromatic, not sweet. If it smells fully like a pineapple (and probably has fruit flies buzzing around it), that sucker is good to go! Yum!

                        1. There's a conversation about pineapple throughout this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/784571

                          1 Reply
                          1. I love Pineapples and never had a problem until they started coming from Costa Rica rather than Hawaii. The best Pineapples I’ve ever had was in the Philippines, they are smaller than the Hawaiian gold but really sweet and low in acid; ALL of them are gold in color you won’t find a green one in the market. When I was in Manuas Brazil I had a Pineapple which was over 12” tall and a good 5” in diameter it was really sweet but high in acid.

                            I’ve gone through a number of different growers Pineapples that were from Costa Rica and NONE were really ripe, two of them, one from COSTCO and another from SPROUTS were green when I bought them and stated to turn brown/black in less than a day and half and had no pineapple taste at all; they were terrible! I refuse to buy any Pineapple from Costa Rica anymore.

                            Outside of Hawaiian Pineapples which are hard to find the only ‘good’ Pineapple I’ve able to get is from Mexico under the label Pinacolada. Like you I grow my own at home (easy to do in San Diego) because it so hard to find a good Pineapple.

                            I did have this tiny pineapple for North Africa that was cool once.... Picture >>>>

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: usabaker

                              Are you sure that the pineapple pictured is not a South African Victoria pineapple, not a North African pineapple? I have a Victoria pineapple plant growing in the backyard now but it's not fruiting yet. I have had some fruiting before and they were so good.

                              I agree with you on the Costa Rica thing. I think they pick them too early because they are afraid if they pick them ripe that they will go bad before anyone even buys one since pineapples go bad so fast. I have had one from Mexico that I bought at Smart & Final and it was picked ripe and sold at the store ripe and it was great. You need to eat right away if it is picked and sold ripe since they go bad so quick. Green goes bad fast too but not as fast as golden ripe, that's why they pick them green, they get some extra time in the store before going bad.

                              The pineapple industry tells us ripe can be from green to golden but to me green is not ripe and doesn't taste very good. That they say that to make you think green is good so they can sell them.

                              I love the Maui pineapples. They used to pick and sell them golden ripe but seems they are doing the green picking trick like most pineapples in the store now. I have many Dole Hawaii and Maui Pineapples growing in my backyard.