Pineapples have the shape of a pinecone, and can reach up to 30 centimeters in length. They have a rough, waxy, hexagonal-patterned rind that is covered in small, soft spikes and topped with a compact grouping of narrow, green, pointed-tipped leaves that extend upright. The rind can range in color from green to yellow or reddish-orange when ripe. The flesh varies in shades of white or yellow, depending on the variety, and modern cultivated varieties are known to be seedless. The loosely fibrous and juicy flesh offers a sweet flavor with mild acidity, while the edible core is firmer, more leathery, and less sweet.
Fun Fact: The pineapple’s core contains high levels of an enzyme called bromelain, which is said to be an effective anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant, and digestive aid.
- Fiber important for digestive health and keeps you feeling full
- Vitamin C important for the immune system, healthy skin, and wound healing
- Iron important in red blood cell formation
- Calcium good for healthy bones
How to Shop
A ripe pineapple should have a firm shell but be slightly soft with a bit of give when you squeeze it. Pineapples that are completely solid or hard when squeezed are unlikely to be fully ripe. Ripe pineapples should have a firm shell that is slightly soft when squeezed. Put your nose near the stem side of the pineapple and inhale. It should smell aromatic, with a scent that's sweet and tropical. If there's no scent, this is an indication that they pineapple's not ripe. A vinegary or alcoholic stench means it's probably past its prime.
How to Grow
Most often, people will use the top of a store bought pineapple for growing. First, remove all the fruit flesh. The stem that is left needs to be bare, dry and clean; let it cure or dry for a day or two before planting. Store-bought pineapples may have a bit of rot in that stem, which should be cut out. You should also remove all the small bottom leaves. After two days, make a small hole in the ground or in a pot and stick the pineapple top in it. Pineapples grow with very little water. Make sure the soil is thickly mulched to reduce evaporation, and consider growing pineapples under a bit of shade. The closer to tropical or sub-tropical your area is, the more shade your pineapples can handle. If you live in a climate where it will grow indoors during winter, it will need all the sun they can get in summer.
How to Store
At room temperature – a ripe one will keep for around 3 days. Whole pineapples shouldn't be stored in the fridge – but once the flesh has been peeled and chopped it's fine to chill it, stored in an airtight container.