There is something so delightful about enjoying a fresh pineapple in the summer, especially when it’s chilled and juicy!
But how many times have you bought a full pineapple or chopped pineapple from the store intending to enjoy it only to see it get softer and softer and finally go bad in the fridge?
You might be wondering if there is a stage when pineapple has gone past ripe but is still safe to eat?
So, how can you tell when your pineapple is overripe? The leaves will start to turn brown and wilt and the skin will turn orange instead of yellow. The smell may also start shifting from sweet to a little sour as the sugars inside of the pineapple start to ferment slightly.
Fortunately, you can still enjoy your pineapple even if it has gone a little past its very best!
How to Pick a Perfect Pineapple
Before we get into what an overripe pineapple looks like, you’ll probably want to know how to pick out a perfectly ripe pineapple at the store or how to tell when it’s ready to eat once you get it home.
Follow these tips to pick the perfect pineapple every time.
While the stereotypical image of a pineapple is brown with green leaves, when a pineapple starts to ripen the skin actually turns more of a yellowish color.
If you want to know when your pineapple is perfectly ripe, look for a golden yellow color from top to bottom.
If you pick up your pineapple and give it a smell, it should tell you whether or not it is ripened. You want to pick up a sweet scent that’s fruity, bright, and pineapply.
Once it gets to this stage, your pineapple is ready to enjoy. You will want to smell the bottom of the pineapple for best results.
If your pineapple is a nice golden yellow color and has a deliciously sweet and fruity scent, pick it up and give it a gentle squeeze. If there is a subtle softness to it, then it is ready to eat.
How to Tell When Your Pineapple Is Overripe
Now, if you want to know whether your pineapple has gotten overripe, you can use the same techniques as above, it’s just that what you discover is going to be a little different than what you see when your pineapple is perfectly ripe.
Take a look at the skin color of your pineapple. If it has moved past golden yellow into more of an orangey territory, that can be a sign that your pineapple is overripened.
You can also look at the leaves. If they have turned brown, begun to wilt, and fall out, then that is another sign that your pineapple is overripe.
Just like smelling your pineapple can let you know when it’s ready to eat, it can also tell you when it’s gotten overripe.
Instead of smelling sweet, fresh, and fruity, it will have a slightly more sour and possibly bitter smell. This is a sign that the sugars in the pineapple have begun to ferment.
Fortunately, you can still enjoy your pineapple, even if it is overripe. It might be a little softer and a little sweeter, but generally, you can still use it in some fun, creative ways in the kitchen.
I’ve outlined a few of my favorites at the bottom of this article.
How to Tell When Your Pineapple Is Rotten
Once your pineapple has gone rotten, it is no longer safe to eat and you should throw it away to prevent getting sick. A few signs to look for that indicate it’s time to ditch your pineapple include:
- Mold on the bottom or top of the pineapple. Any time you see mold on food, you should throw the whole thing away since the spores have spread throughout the entire thing and can make you sick if you eat them.
- Your pineapple may also start to get a little wet at the bottom while the center starts to dry out.
- The leaves start to rot or fall out of the top of the pineapple. Again, if there is any rot in the leaves it has likely spread throughout the entire pineapple so it is safest to throw it away at this point.
- The smell has gone from slightly sour to pungent, really sour, or even bitter with a strong scent of vinegar. The longer your pineapple ferments, the more of its natural sugars get turned into acetic acid and the more sour and rotten it becomes.
Creative Uses for Using Overripe Pineapple in the Kitchen
Overripe pineapple tends to be a lot sweeter and softer than regular pineapple, which means there are so many delicious ways you can use it in the kitchen aside from just eating it plain or dipping it in fruit dip.
Try some of these creative uses for that pineapple that’s just a little too soft.
Freeze It and Add It to Smoothies
One of my favorite ways to use overripe pineapple is to freeze it and add it to my morning smoothie. It adds a taste of the tropics and a delicious sweetness to my morning blend. To freeze your pineapple follow these steps:
- Cut your pineapple into cubes or chunks.
- Line a baking sheet or a plate with parchment paper and lay your pineapple out in a single layer on top. Try to keep some space between each piece so they freeze evenly and don’t stick together.
- Place the pineapple pieces in the freezer overnight or for about 12 hours.
- Once the pieces are frozen solid, you can add them to one large freezer bag or portion them out into individual serving-size baggies. Gently press out any excess air and then seal the bag.
- Take a piece of masking tape and write the date and contents on it so that you know what you froze and when.
- Place the bag back in the freezer and use within 12 months.
Make Delicious Pineapple Popsicles
Another great use for overripe pineapple is to blend it up and make delicious fruity popsicles for hot summer days.
These fruit pops are so much more flavorful than the store-bought variety and you can add other fruits if you want to make it unique.
Follow these steps to make the best pineapple popsicles:
- 1 and a half cups of soft pineapple chunks
- 1 and a quarter cups Greek yogurt or coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons pineapple, apple, or orange juice
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- Place all of your ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the pineapple mix into popsicle molds (I use these and they are super convenient).
- Insert the sticks into the mix and then place your popsicles in the freezer for about 6-10 hours, or until they are frozen solid.
- To remove your popsicles from the mold, you can dip them in warm water and gently wiggle the popsicle until it comes out.
Make a Delicious Pineapple Parfait
Cooked pineapple can be delightfully sweet and rich, with a little hint of a caramel taste. For this parfait, we’re going to cook our pineapple into a lovely sauce.
- 2 cups of overripe pineapple, cut into chunks (or just use a whole pineapple)
- 1 cup of water
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup of Greek yogurt, vanilla ice cream, or coconut milk ice cream.
- Place a medium-sized saucepan on the stovetop.
- Add the pineapple, water, sugar, vanilla, and sea salt to the pot.
- Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Stir the mixture regularly.
- Once boiling, turn the heat down and allow it to simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the pineapple is soft and starts to break down into more of a sauce consistency. The longer you let it simmer, the more it will break down, and the thicker the consistency will become.
- Remove your sauce from the heat and let it cool slightly before serving it over yogurt or ice cream.
As you can see, there are lots of fun and delicious ways you can use overripe pineapple in your kitchen so you don’t have to throw it away. A few other things you can try include:
- Blending it into pina coladas.
- Baking it into cakes, muffins, or loaves.
- Make a delicious pineapple salsa with red onion, lime, and jalapeno.
- Use it to tenderize meat and add flavor.
- Make a pineapple highball with cognac or rum.
- Make a pineapple caramel sauce.
- Bake your pineapple and serve with whipped cream and berries.
No matter how you use it, the final result will be sweet, summery, and delicious.
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