Imagine this: You've invited some friends over for game night, and you plan on making this mouthwatering pineapple salsa recipe you found online. So, you take a trip to your local grocery store and seek out the mountain of spiky green fruit. You pick up the first one you see and place it in your cart. You arrive back home and do all the work of peeling, coring, and dicing the pineapple up. You mix it in, only to realize it's absolutely tasteless. Not only are you devastated, but you now have to use your roommate's store-bought jarred salsa. Yuck. 

I'm here to make sure this never happens, because I'm going to teach you tips on how to tell if a pineapple is ripe at the grocery store, to save you many more trips and more dollars.

1. Buy in season

herb, relish, vegetable, oregano, care, Harvest, Gardening, Garden, farming, planting, Plant, Grow
Alex Frank

While offered all year round, pineapples are at their best quality (and cheapest price) during the period of March to July. So plan all of your pineapple-laden recipes close to the summer months, rather than having to use canned pineapple (ugh).

2. Pay close attention to color

tropical, Fruit, pineapple, juice
Sam Jesner

For pineapple, color is a key indicator of its ripeness. During maturation, pineapples change from green-gray, to yellow, and eventually to orange, each marking a different stage in the pineapple's life. Your perfect piña should be an even golden yellow, indicating that the fruit is at its peak ripeness. 

#SpoonTip: Pineapples don't ripen very much after they're harvested, so they will likely remain that same ripeness even after arriving at a grocery store. Even more of a reason to buy when they're in season. 

3. Squeeze the pineapple (gently)

We should all heed Patrick Star's advice and pay some attention to texture. A ripe pineapple will have some give to it if you squeeze it. However, this indication is subtle, and won't be as apparent as a ripe vs unripe peach, for example. The key here is to avoid a rock hard pineapple. 

4. Smell it

pineapple, juice, tropical, Fruit
Sam Jesner

This is one of my tried and true methods of selecting a ripe pineapple. Turn that bad boy over and give it a sniff at the base (the non-pointy end). A ripe pineapple should emit a fragrant smell. If it doesn't smell like anything or if it smells slightly fermented, you're headed in the wrong direction.

How to Store Pineapple

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Sam Jesner

Now that you know how to tell if a pineapple is ripe or not, let's chat quickly about storage. Remember that at full ripeness, a pineapple will only last about two days at room temperature, or up to one week in an air tight container stored in your fridge. So chop your pineapple as soon as possible to prevent it from going bad on your counter.  

Congrats, you've graduated from pineapple university! I'm kidding, but you can now use your newfound knowledge on these spiky beauties to make amazing recipes like these savory-sweet grilled chicken pineapple sliders or this refreshing sparkling pineapple ginger ale cocktail. Best of all, you'll never have to worry about making a sad batch of pineapple salsa again.