Selecting the Perfect Pineapple
Posted by by Colin Lyons, produce buyer
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
I had the pleasure of spending a number of years in a Byerly’s produce department keeping displays full and helping customers with their questions. It was fascinating to see all of the different ways that people pick out their produce. There was a lot of knocking on watermelon, smelling of peaches and cantaloupe, and tasting of grapes. As a side note to all of you grape tasters that are for some reason ashamed of your actions, tasting a grape or two is OK! It is good to see people interact with their food in these ways. It shows a person’s interest and passion for great produce. A desire to put delicious, healthy food on your table is nothing to be ashamed of.
One of my favorite methods of selection was the “pineapple pull”. If you don’t know what I am referring to I will explain. Many people will go up to a pineapple display and start pulling on the leaves in the crown of the pineapple. The theory is that if the leaf pulls free from the pineapple, it is ripe and ready. This very common misconception has not only made some messy pineapple displays, but it suggests that there are a lot of under ripe pineapples out there. The fact is every pineapple in our stores should be ripe and ready to eat.
In the 1990’s a new variety of pineapple was developed known as the MD-2. This pineapple is very sweet, has lower acidity than other seed varieties, and ripens much more evenly. Today, the majority of pineapple sold in the United States is of the MD-2 variety. For the consumer, this takes the guess work out of choosing pineapple.
With just a few simple tips, you can be confident that the pineapple you choose will not disappoint. My first recommendation is that you not be afraid of green on the outside of a pineapple. I have found that even pineapple with significant green color is still very ripe and sweet on the inside.
Second, stay away from pineapples that have large dark brown areas or any shriveling. The brown areas are usually a sign of bruising and shriveled pineapple skin is an indicator of dehydration. Look for plump, heavy pineapples with a yellow-green exterior and you will not be let down.
Pineapple is a wonderful addition to any meal. It is high in vitamin C and fiber and is free of fat and cholesterol.
P.S. – If you are ever feeling short on time, pick up some of our fresh cut pineapple. We have cores, chunks, spears and planks to suit any preparation. Our fresh cut fruit is the same fruit you find on shelves throughout the produce department.