How to Ripen A Pineapple and How to Tell If a Pineapple is Ripe

Gotta love a ripe pineapple! Really mouthwatering and juicy, and best of all it really packs a punch!

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It may sound cheesy, but to me eating a ripe pineapple is just like spending a brief moment in some tropical paradise. It's better than canned pineapple for sure. Cut pineapple is just the best. The ripening process is different than most fruits though. Pineapples are not a climacteric fruit.

But these days fruits tend to hit the store shelves before they’ve had the chance to fully ripen. Instead the consumer (that’s you and me) has to ripen a pineapple at home.

But unlike fruits such as apples, pears, and bananas, etc.; pineapples, unfortunately, don’t ripen on their own once they’ve been picked from the plant.

Ripening a Pineapple is Pretty Damn Easy. We'll Tell You How

So you can’t just wait around for the fresh pineapple to ripen on its own - it just won’t happen.

And this means we must take the ripening into our own hands and handle it ourselves. 

But don’t worry, here we’re going to tell you how you can ripen a pineapple at home. It’s a cakewalk.

But we’re going to kick this off by talking about the vitamins and minerals in pineapple, why you shouldn’t eat unripe pineapple, why pineapples don’t ripen on their own, and then we’ll start looking into how to pick a good pineapple at peak ripeness in the first place. 

Then, of course, we'll follow that up with several tips to ripen pineapple. And we’re going to top that off with some tips for storing your pineapple long term, before wrapping up with a conclusion.

Vitamins And Minerals In Pineapple

Pineapples are a powerhouse for several different healthy vitamins and such. This includes vitamin C, manganese, and antioxidants. 

But perhaps most importantly, there’s the enzyme known as Bromelain. This helps to break down proteins in your food, and it also has anti-inflammatory properties to boot!

Why You Shouldn’t Eat Unripe Pineapple

Please Read. Unripe pineapples may not only taste bad; they can also be poisonous. Eating it can leave a burning effect in your mouth, cause throat irritation, and have a strong laxative effect.

But it’s not all bad news - if you have already bought a pineapple that’s not completely ripe, you can make it safe to eat if you follow the pineapple ripening procedures we’ll be showing you very shortly.

Why Pineapples Don’t Ripen On Their Own

Some fruits will continue to ripen once they are picked and some will not.

Pineapples aren’t the only fruits with this affliction (if you want to call it that). Examples include grapes, grapefruit, and watermelons, though there are many more.

In order to move from being mature, as in physiologically ready to ripen, to being ripe, fruits must be able to convert their starch to sugar, so that they can be made edible with peak flavor and texture.

But certain fruits are unable to carry out this process when they have been removed from the plant it grew from.

In the case of pineapples, this is because in plucking the pineapple, you are effectively removing its supply of starch.

How to pick a good pineapple

You’re in luck, we’ve got 5 great tips for you on how to pick your perfect pineapple!

Tip 1

Don’t buy pineapples that have a green base, because these won’t ripen at all. Instead, you should choose one that has an orange or a yellow tint.  Don't buy a green pineapple.  

These will eventually ripen provided that you follow procedures like the ones we’ll be showing you later.

Tip 2

Don’t buy pineapples that have brown spots This is a rot-like stain on the skin.

You should also check that the leaves are not stained either, they should look fresh and green.  Avoid these overripe pineapples.  

Tip 3

You should look for a pineapple that is firm, but not very hard. Ideally, it should be a little supple.

Tip 4

We recommend that you go for a larger pineapple since these will have more edible content inside.

Tip 5

Smell the pineapple before you buy it.

If it smells like pineapple, then that’s great, but if it smells off, or smells like another kind of fruit, then don’t buy it.

And now we can move onto ripening your delicious pineapple…

How To Ripen Your Pineapple

There are several factors that can affect your pineapple’s ripening. 

These include how it’s stored, and how it’s positioned. We’ll tackle each factor separately, giving you 4 great tips. Here goes…

Tip 1

Store your pineapple with fruits that do ripen once they are picked. This works because these other fruits emit ethylene.

And what this does is help to turn the starch in your pineapple into sugar to ripen them.

Tip 2

You can also store your pineapple, with the ripening fruits, in a clear bag or a paper bag at room temperature.

You should see results in just a few days.

Tip 3

Alternatively, you could try ripening your pineapple by keeping it in a jar of rice.

Tip 4

A great way to help ripen your pineapple is to place it upside down, balancing on its leaves, and with the base facing the air.

This works because it helps the flow of sugars through the pineapple. 

And, moreover, it also helps to prevent the pineapple from rotting before its time.

Storing Your Pineapple Long Term

If you don’t intend to eat your pineapple in the next few days, perhaps if you want to keep it for a special occasion, then we recommend storing it in a refrigerator, where it can keep for up to an impressive 6 months.

This is because if you leave pineapples out at room temperature for too long, they can start to ferment.

When storing your pineapple in a refrigerator, you should keep it whole and not slice or dice it. This is because once cut, it starts to soak up the smell of the other foods in the refrigerator.

Frequently Asked Questions

As the summer months steadily approach, pineapple has finally come back into season. This sweet fruit says summertime like no other, with the tropical vibes instantly transporting you to sunny beaches.

It is hugely disappointing when you eat an unripe or overripe pineapple, and we have all felt this sadness. Armed with our handy tips, you will always have the perfect pineapple. 

Will a pineapple ripen on the counter?

The answer to this is quite confusing. Once a pineapple has been picked it will no longer ripen, but the fruit will become softer and juicier. The fruit will not increase in sweetness as this happens. This is because the sugars in the fruit are gained from the stem which is attached to the base of the fruit. 

Once the stem has been cut off there is no longer a supply of sugar to the fruit and it will only be as sweet as it was when harvested. Pineapples are not capable of producing their own sugars. 

As the pineapple becomes softer it will change in color. Many people mistake this for the fruit ripening, but this is not the case. If you leave a pineapple on the counter for too long then the fruit will eventually become more acidic. 

How long does it take for a store-bought pineapple to ripen?

Leaving your pineapple at room temperature on the counter will help it to soften enough to eat. Store-bought pineapples should only be kept on the counter for a couple of days before you consume them. Any longer and the fruit will soften excessively and it may begin to go off.

If you are not ready to eat the pineapple when it is ripe, you can transfer it to the refrigerator for further storage. It will keep for 2 to 4 more days in this environment.

What do you do with a cut unripe pineapple?

If you have cut the leafy green sections off of the pineapple, it becomes much easier to store. As we have already mentioned, the sugars enter the pineapple at the base where the stem was located. If your pineapple appears unripe, you could attempt to store it upside down. This will help any remaining sugars in the pineapple to spread out across the entire fruit and may help it taste slightly riper. 

Grilling pineapple is a great way to encourage the natural sugars to caramelize. If it is a particularly unripe pineapple, you can sprinkle some brown sugar over the surface. This will enhance the flavor of unripe pineapple and will help to neutralize the bromelain contained within the fruit. Bromelain is an enzyme found naturally in pineapple which has a digestive effect. This enzyme is what causes pineapple to hurt your mouth as it actually breaks down your tongue and cheek cells. 

How can you tell when a pineapple is ripe and ready to eat?

One of the easiest ways to check your pineapple is ready to eat is by pulling on one of the leaves. Choose one of the smaller ones closer to the top, from the center. The leaf should pull out easily with little resistance if the pineapple is ready for consumption.

Squeeze the body of the pineapple gently. If it is ripe, the outer shell should be firm but indent a little when you exert pressure onto it. 

Ripe pineapples will have leaves that are a vibrant green color. The body of the pineapple should be a yellow and green color. They will smell sweet at the base. If your pineapple smells bitter then this is often an indication that it is overripe.


Pineapples are a great tasting fruit, but to get the perfect taste from your fruit it pays to know how to get it to the best that it can be. Use them in a Pina Colada, fruit salad, pineapple salsa, try grilled pineapple, or just drink fresh pineapple juice.

You have to start by picking the best possible pineapple, to begin with, but you also have to give some thought to how you’re going to store it, as this will have the biggest impact on it’s ripening. 

As we mentioned earlier, a pineapple once picked, like many other fruits, cannot ripen on its own, and if you eat unripened pineapple you will see some nasty toxic effects. 

But by this point, we’ve provided you with enough tips to ensure you’re bound to get that perfect tropical pineapple taste you’ve been craving!

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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