Pineapples are delicious tropical fruits that can be enjoyed eaten plain, in a juice, shake, smoothie, or added to your favorite dishes.
They also make a great dessert as they contain a digestive enzyme called bromelain that helps your digestive system break down and absorb the proteins in the food you eat.
Just as any other fruit, pineapples also have a limited life and can go bad if not stored properly; in the worst case, they can develop white spots or mold on the surface or leaves, which means they’re no longer fit for consumption.
Why Do Pineapples Develop White Spots?
The reason pineapples develop white spots is thanks to a process called autolysis, also referred to as the self-destruction of tissues. It’s basically decomposition.
This is common to every fruit and it essentially occurs when the tissues begin to break down due to an enzyme that is released.
This enzyme is called polyphenol oxidase, and when the fruit is exposed to oxygen, it can trigger the phenolic compounds in the fruit, converting them to quinones. The quinones react with other compounds present in the pineapple, and that reaction creates melanin, which causes its flesh to become brown and eventually develop white spots or mold.
Also, fruits, in general, gather the right conditions to culture spores, which multiply by feasting on the nutrients and moisture that fruits provide.
This process may occur as a response to damage or it may just mean that the fruit is beyond overripe and has reached a state that it’s not good to eat. Unlike what you see with brown spots, mold on a pineapple means that it’s no longer edible, even if it’s localized.
How Long Does A Pineapple Last?
There isn’t a straightforward answer for this question because it largely depends on storage conditions.
Whole pineapples, in general, should last 1-2 days if stored at room temperature, but if you’re able to store them in a colder environment like the fridge, you’ll be able to extend that period by 2-3 additional days. In other words, a pineapple stored in a fridge should usually last for about 4-5 days.
Another way to store a pineapple is to freeze it, but this means you’ll have to remove the eyes and core, slice it into wedges or sticks, and place it in airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. A pineapple that is stored in a freezer will last between 10-12 months.
The cold will keep it fresh for longer, slowing down the rotting process.
What Does A Bad Pineapple Look Like?
Pineapples that have gone bad will turn into a darker gold, orange, or even brown in color, and they will also appear old, withered, and dried out.
If you notice that most of the surface has an almost brownish color, then it’s likely that the pineapple is beyond overripe and it shouldn’t be consumed.
Pineapples can also develop mold on their surface and leaves, so if you happen to come across what look like white spots, discard the fruit as it’s not safe for consumption.
Additionally, when spoiled, a pineapple should give out a strong, vinegary smell, which is emanated as a result of a fermentation process that takes place.
If you’re in a supermarket or grocery store searching for a good pineapple and you come across one with wilting or falling leaves, that is a sign of a rotten pineapple.
Can You Eat A Overripe Pineapple?
Even though a pineapple may look slightly orange or brownish, that’s not necessarily the sign of a spoiled pineapple— it could be that it’s just overripe.
An overripe pineapple will still have the characteristic sweet taste with a hint of tartness.
The issue for some folk is that it might look a bit ugly, but I assure you that is not synonymous with rot unless the appearance, smell, and flavor of the fruit are totally compromised.
However, if you see that there are white spots or mold, don’t eat it.
How To Choose A Good Pineapple
If you want to choose a delicious pineapple that isn’t beyond ripe, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you’re picking something that is higher quality.
1 – Smell
This is the first step in choosing a good pineapple: smell it. A sweet aroma is usually a sign of a ripe pineapple. But beware, don’t confuse a sweet smell, with an aroma of alcohol or vinegar. This means that the pineapple is already overripe.
2 – Observe
Stem: Watch for signs that indicate freshness or rotting of the pineapple. Look out for the stem, the region that channels sugar throughout the pineapple. It is from here that the fruit changes color.
Peel: Look, therefore, at the overall appearance of the fruit. Pineapples with a golden or greenish tint can both be ripe. Analyze the appearance of its rind, avoiding for example fruits with wrinkled, brownish, cracked, or battered rind, or that have dead leaves.
Leaves: Also look at the color of the leaves. Always opt for a pineapple with green and healthy leaves.
Shape: Check the shape of the pineapple. Choose ones that exhibit well-developed rounded edges and “striking eyes,” that is, the pointed centers of the tough circles created by the geometric shape of the pineapple. These “eyes” should be relatively flat.
3 – Touch
Firmness: Feel the pineapple and make sure it is firm but soft enough to yield slightly when pressed.
Weight: Prefer a heavier pineapple, as it has more juice.
Leaf: Try to remove a leaf from the top of the pineapple. If it doesn’t offer much resistance, the pineapple is ripe. But be careful, if the leaf comes off too easily, the fruit may already be spoiled.
One thing to keep in mind when choosing an imported pineapple is that it will never have the same quality as a freshly picked, fully ripe pineapple in a tropical country.
So, if you’re someone that can only eat imported pineapples, learning how to choose a good pineapple is something you should, particularly if you want a semblance of the taste.