You used all the tricks to pick the perfect pineapple, but then you got busy and didn't cut it up right away. How do you know if the pineapple is just extra ripe or if it's bad? Several physical signs can help you determine whether you should cut up or toss the fruit.
Overripe vs. Rotten Pineapple
Saying a pineapple is "bad" can have multiple meanings. Some pineapples start to look older but are still edible. They're just a little overripe.
The overripe pineapple taste is still fine unless it's starting to rot. If your overripe pineapple tastes funny, toss it out just in case. If the flavor is normal, you can eat it plain or use it in overripe pineapple recipes like fresh pineapple juice or pineapple upside-down cake.
If you let your pineapple go beyond overripe, it eventually starts to ferment and rot. The signs of an overripe pineapple usually continue getting worse as the fruit deteriorates. A rotten pineapple can start to grow mold and get mushy. If it starts to show signs of rotting, toss out the fruit to be on the safe side.
How Long Do Pineapples Last?
Fresh pineapples have a relatively short shelf life. At room temperature, they usually last two to three days at best. If you put them in the fridge, they last four to five days. Keep an eye on the calendar based on when you buy the pineapple to figure out if it's starting to go bad.
Pineapple Leaf Appearance
Pineapple leaves give a good visual of the overall ripeness and quality of the fruit. As the pineapple gets older, the leaves start to wither and turn brown. The fruit may just be overripe at this point and still fine to eat. However, if you notice that the leaves are brown for several days along with other signs of going bad, it may be time to toss it.
Bottom of the Pineapple
Flip over your pineapple to look at the bottom for signs of the pineapple being overripe or rotten. The bottom is often the first part to get mushy and show signs of deterioration.
You might also see signs of mold along the bottom edge. You can spot it by looking for white patches or furry growth on the surface of the pineapple. Some people cut away the molded areas and still serve the pineapple, but it's best to play it safe and avoid a moldy pineapple.
Overall Pineapple Color and Appearance
Pineapples that aren't ripe appear green on the outside. If it has too much green on it, the pineapple will likely never get sweet and ripe since they don't ripen much once harvested. A perfectly ripe pineapple appears bright instead of dull and has a yellow color.
As it gets overly ripe and heads toward rotting, the pineapple exterior starts to get darker. If it looks orange, it may be a sign that it's going bad.
Look over the skin for signs of aging. As the pineapple gets older, the skin may start to look wrinkled. It might also start to feel soft and spongy instead of firm.
Smell the Pineapple
Hold the bottom of the pineapple up to your nose and take a big whiff. What do you smell? If you get a strong scent of sweet, delicious pineapple, your fruit is still fine.
If your pineapple smells like chemicals or fermentation, it's a sign that it's already starting to ferment. It might smell like alcohol or vinegar if it has reached that point.
Interior Brown Spots
If you're not sure if your pineapple is bad or not from looking at the outside, cut into it to check. A bad pineapple will have brown, mushy flesh. If it's just a few spots, you might be able to cut away the brown sections and still eat the pineapple, but if it's mostly brown and mushy inside, toss it and buy a fresh one.