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How to Pick a Perfect Pineapple

By Elizabeth Leader Smith, April 18, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Elizabeth Leader Smith


When walking the produce section, do you scratch your head when faced with selecting a pineapple? How do you know when it’s ripe? How do you cut it? Where did it come from?

At Whole Foods Market, we have “pineapples with a purpose” that are a part of our Whole Trade® Guarantee. These pineapples set a sweeter standard for quality, environmental care and social responsibility. Hailing from Costa Rican farms known for delectable, juicy fruit, they’re grown with the health of the planet top of mind.

Our Whole Trade Guarantee ensures that farms pay equitable wages and provide better working conditions — and that you enjoy the best-quality tropical treat, delivered at peak ripeness. Now that you know we have these delicious pineapples, how do you choose one and what do you do with it when you get home?

Pick a perfect pineapple

Repeat after me: external color does not indicate ripeness.

PineapplesThat’s right. Ripening halts after harvest, and ours are picked at their peak. So, even green pineapples are ripe. (Yes, green.) Instead, choose fresh-looking pineapples with green leaves and a firm shell. And when in doubt, ask a Team Member for a taste.

Store it smart

Great care was taken in growing your pineapple, so treat it well at home too. A whole pineapple stored at room temperature should be eaten within a few days, but you can refrigerate it to keep longer. Freshly cut pineapple can be frozen, but it may lose some flavor.

Slice it right

Here are five simple steps to help you get past that spiky shell.

  1. Cut off the crown and bottom.
  2. Stand pineapple on cut base. Cut away the peel in strips, deep enough to remove the eyes.
  3. Cut pineapple in half lengthwise, then halve each half so you have four quarters.
  4. Cut out and discard the core from the center of each quarter.
  5. Cut into chunks and enjoy!

If you’re more of a visual learner, let Dan Marek with Whole Kids Foundation, show you how to pick and prepare a pineapple.

Now that you know how to pick, slice and store it, here are four fabulous ways to enjoy your perfect pineapple.

Did these dishes pique your appetite? There are plenty of pineapple recipes on our website. Have you tried our Whole Trade pineapples yet? What did you think?




Diane says ...
I had one recently and it wasn't good at all. I've bought pineapples at other stores and they were much better. I don't know why that is, because most of your produce is pretty good.
04/18/2012 7:20:10 AM CDT
PandaBirdie says ...
The trick to a sweet pineapple is to leave it out at least 1 week so it can ripe. You can also tell it's ready because the gap between each eyes widen. Also, the colors will start to turn yellowish brown. It doesn't matter where you buy your pineapple. This has never failed me. In fact I have one sitting in my living right now ready to be eaten :) (I've even bought it green because I knew I wouldn't get to it until this week)
04/18/2012 11:37:03 AM CDT
Debbie says ...
My son worked produce at several stores one being Whole Foods. your artical really didn't say how to choose one just said they are all good because they are picked at the peak. I would agree with the above comment, but its not limited to Whole foods. My son said if the tips pull out easy its ready to cut and eat. And always choose any fruit that is heavy for its size. My pineapple usually sits on my counter at least 1 week untill its cut and generally its sweet and juicy.If I cut it straight from the store its not ripe.
04/18/2012 12:39:42 PM CDT
Jennifer says ...
helpful - I have always looked for ones that were turning yellow-heavy and fragrant!
04/18/2012 12:41:50 PM CDT
Lindsay says ...
I always smell the bottom. If it smells like pineapple, you're good to go!
04/18/2012 12:59:15 PM CDT
Everetta says ...
To check for ripeness you pull a leaf from the top of the pineapple in the center. if it comes out easily it is ripe.
04/18/2012 1:17:22 PM CDT
Beth Dominiak says ...
I have a tried and true way to pick a great pineapple. It has worked every time since I started this method. Tug on a leaf in the top center of the pineapple. If it pulls out fairly easy, it is ripe. If the leaf is tough to pull out, it is not ready.
04/18/2012 2:23:13 PM CDT
Jeff says ...
This article doesn't even say how to pick a pineapple. Don't kid yourself, pineapples are not picked at perfect ripeness. It's from Costa Rica, therefore you know it traveled at least that long to get to your grocery store. If ripening halted when it was picked, then why do pineapples go rotten? Ohh wait, that isn't true. Pineapple membranes are not impermeable, and ripeness comes from something being broken down and the gross organic material turns into sugar. When it's all turned into sugar, other stuff starts to eat it and it's gone bad. This article is stupid.
04/18/2012 4:59:10 PM CDT
Sarah says ...
I spoke to a pineapple farmer and pulling a leaf from the top doesn't indicate ripeness.
04/18/2012 6:07:03 PM CDT
Gail says ...
I have a no-fail way to tell if a pineapple is sweet or not. If you smell pineapple when you snff the bottom, it's sweet. If there is no smell, not sweet.
04/18/2012 6:43:23 PM CDT
Lori says ...
YES: Tug on a leaf in the top center of the pineapple. If it pulls out fairly easy, it is ripe. Also, smell it. It will have a strong wonderful pineapple smell. 100% ripe every time!
04/18/2012 7:32:52 PM CDT
Freddie says ...
I learned this from a vietamese lady. She told me the "bigger" the eye of the pineapple - the sweeter. I've been buying pineapples this way for over a year now, and have not gone wrong yet. Try it! The color necessarily does not drive the sweetness.
04/19/2012 5:24:52 AM CDT
Anne says ...
Very nice
04/19/2012 9:46:42 AM CDT
Jamie says ...
I bought a pineapple from Whole Foods just a few days ago with no idea how to tell if one was ripe or not, so I just chose randomly. I'm eating it right now and it's the best darn pineapple I've ever had. Either I'm really lucky or Whole Foods really does choose the best!
04/19/2012 10:15:50 AM CDT
Sharon Shaper says ...
There was too much waste of the pineapple in the demonstration on "how to cut a pineapple." Whatever happened to cutting out each of the eyes? Are we all in such a hurry that we have to waste food?
04/19/2012 2:51:12 PM CDT
Janice F. says ...
My "No fail" way to tell if a pineapple is sweet? SMELL IT,...and not necessarily on the bottom. Just SMELL IT! If it smells sweet, it IS sweet! Green pineapples never smell much because they haven't fully ripened. The yellower ones usually smell wonderful and taste wonderful. This method has never failed me! I didn't get this video, and I agree, he seemed to waste a good bit of the pineapple.
04/27/2012 10:51:29 AM CDT
Kathryn says ...
The last two green pineapples I got from WFM were so sour. Not ripe at all. I don't feel like I can trust that recommendation. I'd rather find a fragrant yellow one. That seems to work quite well for me.
02/28/2013 5:51:05 PM CST
Rebecca says ...
The video was very helpful!
06/10/2013 3:03:16 PM CDT
Don Barnard says ...
I've read several articles (including this one) stating that Pineapples do not ripen after harvest. Perhaps from a botanical point of view this is true, but the quality of the fruit absolutely changes after harvesting. A green pineapple that is allowed to develop a rich, deep golden color is much sweeter and significantly better to eat than one eaten green. Now, a botanist might argue that what is happening to the fruit is not actual "ripening" but I have found that allowing the fruit to mature and turn golden will result in the best product. They will also keep longer at room temperatures than the 1 or 2 days that most articles describe; let the color and aroma guide you as it did your ancient ancestors and you will be happier for it.
06/24/2013 11:03:11 AM CDT
Linda says ...
Thank you. I just bought a pineapple and wasn't sure if they were okay when they were still green, but they are on sale for a dollar, so I thought I would give it a try.
10/31/2013 12:13:59 PM CDT
Karen says ...
Is there anything that you can do with the rinds and core? Such as cooking it down for a jam or such. My husband doesn't want anything wasted therefore I don't buy pineapple very often.
02/07/2014 9:49:48 AM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@KAREN - Most jam recipes say to core the pineapple. I have peeled and simply sliced a pineapple when I have juiced them with the core intact and it turned out fine. The core will be a little more tough and more bitter than the rest of the pineapple.
02/07/2014 3:55:58 PM CST
jonathan says ...
thats a terrible way to cut a pineapple! look at the waste cut the skin so that the eyes are still there then do cuts diagonally around the pineapple on either side of the eyes, the cuts will twist around the fruit
03/09/2014 9:58:27 PM CDT
Pick and Pull says ...
I love pineapples, specially making tea with allspice, I agree it can be hard to find the perfect pineapple, to me if the top part looks a bit yellow then I buy it, otherwise it is too acidic and it gives me heartburn. BTW great info and video
04/14/2014 12:26:21 AM CDT
angelina says ...
thanks but the only reason i came to this website was to find easy ways to ripen pineapples in 1/2 days
04/29/2014 1:35:38 PM CDT