Remember when you were growing up and went with your parents to the grocery store? You probably saw people standing in the produce section, holding cantaloupes up to their ears and tapping on watermelons. They picked up and put down apples, and inspected avocados up close.
Learning how to spot when something’s fresh and when it’s about to go bad can save you a lot of money and grief. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know how. They see what other people are doing in the grocery store, but have no idea what to look for.
Tapping on a watermelon is a good way to tell how juicy it is. A hollow sound indicates that it’s ripe, but that doesn’t work for other fruits as well.
If you’re a pineapple lover, for instance, you won’t get much out of tapping on this heavy, solid fruit. So, if you want to know when a pineapple is good, unripe, or has gone bad, how can you tell?
Generally, when a pineapple starts to smell, gets very soft to the touch, or starts to turn a dark brown color, it’s past its prime.
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The thing about pineapples is that they’re hard to come by in some places. They are a tropical fruit, so they often come with a hefty price tag. That means when you buy one you definitely want to get your money’s worth.
You also want to avoid bad pineapples because they take a lot of work! Cutting a pineapple takes a lot more time than many other fruits. You have to cut out small divots all across the fruit to get rid of all those spiky things.
Thankfully, if you’re a prolific pineapple eater, there are tools you can buy to slice them quickly and remove the core without too much trouble.
Here are seven ways you can tell if a pineapple is bad.
7 Signs a Pineapple Is Bad
The Pineapple Is Moldy
Ok, so this one’s a bit obvious. Hopefully, you’re not buying any fruit that has obvious mold on the outside. If you see one, don’t think that the inside is probably still good. Chances are, it isn’t. Skip the moldy pineapples.
You can spot mold when you see little wide spots that look a bit foamy forming on the skin of the pineapple. Put it down and move on.
Throw it in the trash. If you’re in the store, don’t buy any pineapples that were touching the moldy ones.
Your Pineapple Starts to Smell
Pick up the pineapple and do a quick sniff test. It should smell…like pineapple! Fresh pineapple, that is. If your pineapple smells a bit sour, something like vinegar, it’s past its prime. It shouldn’t smell at all sour.
The best place to sniff is at the bottom of the pineapple (the part without the leaves coming out of it) because that’s where things will likely start to go bad first.
Look for Spots
Pineapples come in shades of green, yellow, brown, slight orange, and other similar hues that make spotting any sort of discoloration harder. How can you tell if it’s going bad or just a color change? What we’re looking for here is a darker area that looks like it’s turning dark brown or black.
It could also start to turn grey or ashy in some parts. That’s a sign of a pineapple gone bad.
Things Get Wet
Your pineapple can start to leak juice when it goes bad. Look for areas under your pineapple that look or feel wet. If you have to take a paper towel to your countertop to clean up pineapple juice, you probably don’t want to eat that one and should throw it in the trash instead.
If you’re in the produce section, feel around to make sure there’s no rotten pineapple juice underneath the one you want to buy.
It’s Too Soft When You Press It
Ripe pineapples, or even the ones starting to ripen, will give a little when you press a finger against the outside. That’s normal and a sign of a good pineapple. The problem is when the skin feels soggy. It shouldn’t give too much.
You should feel a certain amount of firmness when you press it. If it gives too easily, it’s likely bad inside.
The Leaves Are Wilting
The leaves, if you’ve got any, shouldn’t be wilting. Some stores cut the leaves very short, so it can be hard to monitor this sign of whether a pineapple is bad. But if you do have some leaves, they should be green.
If they start to turn brown or snap off easily when you push against them, then it’s a bad sign.
It Looks Dead!
Pineapples are an amazing tropical fruit full of delicious juice and incredible flavor. They should look plump and ready to eat when ripe. If they’ve been sitting for too long, though, they’ll start to lose mass and wither.
Inspect your pineapple and see if it looks like it’s a bit withered and dry. If you see anything like that, it is not completely fresh and you don’t want to eat it.
How do you know how long you have until you can eat your pineapple? Knowing the fruit’s shelf-life will help you avoid wasting money by buying fruit and then letting it go for too long. An uncut pineapple should sit out unrefrigerated for a few days at most.
A week is really pushing things. It will start to get soft and riper, but at some point, it crosses the threshold into rotten.
If you like your pineapple very sweet and juicy, you can let it go a day or two more. If you like something light yellow and citrusy, you’ll want to cut it open earlier. It’s all about personal preference.
Now that we’ve unlocked the mysteries of spotting when a pineapple is bad, you can pass the wisdom onto other grocery shoppers who will wonder what you’re doing as you stand there sniffing your pineapple.