The first step in making great food with fresh pineapple is knowing how to tell if pineapple is ripe.
This week I’m playing mad scientist. Chopping, stirring, and tasting two variations on a pineapple shrub. One will be a spiced pineapple shrub drink and the other will be a pineapple ginger mint shrub. If you don’t know about shrubs, stay tuned. They are fabulous hot weather drinks, made with fruit or vegetables, a sweetener, and vinegar. Shrubs can be made with liquor, but they are also wonderful in non-alcoholic versions.
Turning up your nose at the prospect of a drink made with vinegar? Don’t. Wait until you read the post and try shrubs yourself. Once you taste a shrub with ingredients you love, I’m betting that you’ll happily join me in shrub adventures.
In the meantime, here’s why I started with pineapple drinks. Shopping is a sport for me. I look for deals and especially appealing ingredients. In some cases, if I find an item that looks especially good, I’ll revise my meal plan. Last week, the deal that caught my eye was a sale on good looking pineapples. I could have simply grilled the pineapple slices, but I had shrubs on the brain. And so, I began my pineapple shrub adventures.
As I sorted through the pineapples, looking for the best one, I realized that another shopper was staring at me. Why? Maybe one of my shirt buttons was open. But I figured that she wasn’t familiar with my pineapple-picking techniques. And of course, that made me think about a blogpost on how to tell if pineapple is ripe.
3 Tips to Tell if Pineapple is Ripe – and not Overripe
- Aroma – The first and most important test is whether the pineapple smells sweet. Turn it upside down and smell the stem. A ripe pineapple has a lovely fragrance.
- Appearance – Is the “body” of the pineapple a uniform golden color? While pineapples that have some green on the body can also be ripe (as can pineapples that are quite green), a golden body is a good sign that the pineapple is uniformly sweet and flavorful. Also check for signs of deterioration or overripeness. Don’t pick one that has even a hint of mold on the bottom or that has cracks in the side. The leaves on the crown should be green, not tan or brown.
- Thumping the pineapple – Like a watermelon, you can thump a pineapple to determine whether it is ripe. It should have a dull, solid sound; a hollow thud means the pineapple is not ripe and/or it’s of poor quality.
To dispel two old wives’ tales about pineapples –
- No, you can’t ripen a pineapple by letting it sit on your counter – Pineapples may change color after being picked, but they will not ripen further once picked.
- If you can easily pluck leaf out of the center of the pineapple crown, that does not indicate that the fruit is ripe. I’ll admit to believing that one right up until I did the research for this blogpost. And I’ll probably still pull a leaf out of a pineapple crown out of sheer habit next time I’m in the market for a pineapple.
How do you pick a pineapple? If you have other tips, please let me know.