Friday, June 16, 2017

When Are Pineapples Ripe?




The following information is applicable to pineapple varieties presently available in the marketplace, yellow or white.

Select a pineapple that is plump and fresh-looking. The leaves in the crown should be crisp and green with the body of the pineapple firm. A larger fruit won’t necessarily be better tasting or riper than a smaller one.

According to Maui Land and Pineapple Company, pineapples, unlike bananas, do not ripen after harvest. They may advance in shell color, but they do not get any sweeter; they actually begin to degrade. A pineapple on a shelf in the market is as ripe as it’s going to be.  In terms of sweetness, color is not an indication.  Often times, depending upon the weather, green fruit will be sweeter than yellow fruit.  The only true indication is the size and flatness of the 'eyes' of the fruit. Typically, the bigger the eyes and the flatter the eyes, the sweeter the pineapple will be.

The color of the outer shell of the pineapple is not necessarily a sign of maturity or ripeness: a pineapple’s flesh can be ripe, sweet, and ready to eat when the shell is still quite green. A University of Florida publication states, “For optimum fruit sweetness, pineapple fruit should be harvested when 1/3 to 2/3 or more of the peel color has turned from green to yellow.”  

Other indicators are as follows: a good, ripe fruit has a dull, solid sound; immaturity and poor quality are indicated by a hollow thud. If the pineapple is at its peak freshness, it will have a sweet and fragrant odor. If the odor coming from the pineapple smells too sweet and almost alcoholic, it is past its peak. If you don't plan to use your fresh pineapple right away, store it in the refrigerator, where it will keep longer. Generally, once it is ripe, fruit may be held in the refrigerator for up to a week. In addition, the ease of pulling leaves from the crown is not a sign of ripeness.

 Many years ago scientists classified fruits into two categories: climacteric and non-climacteric.  Climacteric fruit usually undergo dramatic changes during ripening. These changes have often been associated with a surge in respiration and ethylene production. Ethylene is a natural plant hormone.
The avocado, apple, melon and banana are classified as climacteric fruits whereas the pineapple is classified as a non-climacteric fruit.

 Non-climacteric fruit (oranges, pineapple, grape, watermelon) do not exhibit the increase in respiration or the rise in ethylene production. In addition, they normally do not undergo dramatic changes such as softening after harvest.