Fresh pineapple is one of my family’s favorite fruits and eating pineapple is one of my morning rituals – year round. It’s a relief to know we can acquire fresh pineapple year round and it’s one of the least likely fruits to have been grown using any pesticides and herbicides, therefore one does not need to buy organic pineapple.
Pineapples are relatively inexpensive in comparison to the amount of fruit you get when cutting pineapple fresh versus buying canned varieties. Up until 5-1/2 years ago I used to buy all canned pineapple. In fact I can’t recall ever buying a fresh pineapple but I can say there is no comparison in taste between fresh pineapple and canned pineapple. Please watch the How-To video on How to Cut a Pineapple to see just how simple it is.
A great tasting but odd looking fruit!
The cylindrical fruit of a pineapple is formed of 100 to 200 berrylike fruitlets fused together off a fibrous core. The tough, waxy, outer rind may be various colors – dark green, yellow, orange-yellow, or reddish when the fruit is ripe. The flesh ranges from nearly white to yellow. Pineapples grown in Latin America tend to have a greener shell color, even when ripe. Ripe pineapple has a sweet and tangy flavor, which makes fresh pineapple a great choice for a fruit plate, delicious snack, or dessert option.
Fresh Pineapple Nutrition Facts
Fresh pineapples are the only known source of bromelain, an enzyme that dissolves protein, which is why fresh pineapple is a natural meat and poultry tenderizer. Bromelain also has anti-inflammatory properties, making pineapple a beneficial food for your joints. Pineapples are a good source of vitamin C, with useful amounts of vitamin B6, folate, thiamine, iron, and magnesium. The canning process destroys the bromelain enzyme due to the heat.
Below is a comparison of fresh pineapple to canned varieties, both packed in its own juice and heavy syrup. Note that the serving size for fresh pineapple is 1 cup vs. 1/2 cup canned and fresh pineapple slices are almost twice the size of canned sliced pineapple.
Comparison Chart – Fresh Pineapple vs. Canned Pineapple Varieties
Canned – OJ
|Serving Size||1 cup or
(3” dia. 3/4”)
|1/2 cup or
|1/2 cup or
|1/2 cup or
|Cost Each||$2.80*||$1.99 / 20 oz. can||$1.99 / 20 oz. can||$1.50 / 20 oz. can|
|Cost / Ounce||5.7¢||9.9¢||9.9¢||7.5¢|
|Total Fat||0 grams||0 grams||0 grams||0 grams|
|Sodium||0 mg||10 mg||10 mg||10 mg|
|Soluble Fiber||2 grams||1 gram||1 gram||1 gram|
|Sugar||12 grams||14 grams||22 grams||14 grams|
|Protein||<1 gram||0 grams||1 gram||0 grams|
|Vitamin C||25 mg||25 mg||20 mg||25 mg|
*Price I typically pay is $2.78 per pineapple at Sam’s. For this comparison the fresh pineapple yielded 3.07 lbs. or 49.12 ounces in edible fruit.
How to buy pineapple
Several sources say only ripe pineapples are picked because once off the tree the starch will not turn to sugar. Therefore once ripe pineapples are picked they do not ripen further, which is really true of all produce in that once its picked it can no longer become more nutrient dense.
A whole pineapple should be plump, large, heavy for its size, and slightly soft to touch. Highly colored pineapples tend to have higher sugar content because they were picked riper. You want to buy pineapples that are fresh looking, deep green leaves, and the stem end has a sweet, fragrant odor, although most pineapples in stores are kept too cold to be fragrant.
Avoid pineapples that are old looking, dry or with brown leaves, bruised, have discoloration, or those with soft spots. If buying fresh cut-up pineapple it should have a light yellow or white flesh. Brown patches indicate it is spoiled.
According to the Dole website, once home with your pineapple you want to store them in a refrigerator for 2 to 4 days. Another source (Field Guide to Produce), states pineapples develop dark spots from temperature changes. If bought chilled, keep refrigerated, but if bought at room temperature, keep at room temperature. Refrigerate tightly wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days or keep at room temperature for several days.
Personally, I generally to buy pineapples that are a bit greener and after washing them in a sink with vinegar or vegetable wash I leave them sitting on my counter top for several days until they turn slightly yellowish but before they turn brown. I’ve never put my whole pineapples in the refrigerator until after cutting the pineapple.
Once cut, pineapple lasts a couple of days if placed in a tightly covered container and stored in the refrigerator. Whole pineapples ferment quickly, so keep in a cool place out of direct sunlight. What I do since we use pineapple for our fruit smoothies is freeze cut pineapple in chunks and once frozen (several hours) I put in freezer baggies. I always have frozen pineapple on hand.
Where are pineapples grown – and a bit of history
Pineapple plants are native to Brazil and were grown throughout Central and South America and the West Indies. As a result pineapples were once considered a rarity in other countries and when they were displayed at a feast they were seen as a symbol of hospitality. Spanish explorers named the fruit after its resemblance to a pinecone and probably how pineapples made their way to Hawaii in the early 16th century. Hawaii is now the world’s leading grower of pineapples. James Dole, a horticulturist, went to Hawaii in the late 19th century and within 15 years the pineapple became Hawaii’s second leading crop.
Pineapples are now grown in other tropical areas around the world, including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, China, Southeast Asia, and South Africa. The peak season for pineapple is March through July, although thankfully in the U.S. they are available year round.
How to grow a pineapple
Have you every thought to grow a pineapple? The following information I obtained off the Dole website with step-by-step instructions on how to grow a pineapple.
- First, twist the leafy crown from the fruit.
- Place it in a dry, dark place for a full week to allow the end to harden.
- Layer an 8-inch porous clay pot with an inch of coarse gravel, then fill with a good, light garden soil mixed with up to 30 percent well-composted organic matter. Be sure the pot has good drainage. Later, when the fruit grows, you’ll want to transplant to a 12-inch pot – again, with gravel and good drainage.
- Water the soil once a week and fertilize with a household plant food fertilizer about every 3 months. If you live in a year-round warm climate, the potted plant should do well outdoors. But if your climate turns cold, keep the plant indoors during frost or freezing temperatures. (Note that this tropical plant can suffer from “sun shock” if it is moved directly from indoors to the sun. If you are going to move it, let it adjust to the change by sitting in a semi-shaded spot for a few days first.)
When the plant is about 18 months old it will sprout a bright red cone. If this hasn’t happened by 20 months, “coax” the cone out by putting the entire pot in a plastic (garbage) bag. Place a ripe apple in the bag and tie it closed, move to a shady spot and leave for 3 days. Remove the bag and return the plant to its usual sunny location. The bright red cone should appear after about 2 months. The next stage brings row upon row of beautiful, bright blue flowers which open over 2 weeks. When the petals of the last flower have dried, the fruit begins to develop. When your fruit is 6 months old, it becomes sweeter, turning from green to rich gold on the inside and outside. Time to pluck and enjoy it!
To your good health,