Spring through mid-summer is one of my favorite times of the year—and it’s not just because the weather starts to turn nice. It’s because that’s the peak season for pineapples! Not only are pineapples cheaper when in season, they are also juicier and more flavorful. Unlike some other fruits, pineapples don’t continue to ripen after they have been picked. This makes it essential to choose a ripe pineapple at the supermarket. So how do you know you are selecting the ripest specimen? Just use your senses!

How to choose ripe pineapple:

  • Get hands on. The surface should be firm when you press on it, but yield slightly to your touch. If it is extremely firm—or spongy and soft—do not buy it.
  • Look closely. Pineapple should be a bright golden yellow color. You can expect some green color on the pineapple, but avoid a pineapple that is tinted green on either end, which indicates that it is underripe. The eyes at the base of the fruit should always be yellow. The higher the color rises up on the pineapple, the sweeter the fruit will taste. Never purchase a pineapple that is completely green, which may not be ripe.
  • Take a whiff. Pineapple should smell sweet with a mild pineapple aroma at the base of the fruit. If it has no smell, it is not ripe. If it smells fermented, it’s more than likely overripe!

Don’t fret if you accidentally purchased a pineapple that wasn’t quite ripe yet! Although you can’t force the pineapple to ripen, you can turn it upside down on your kitchen counter to encourage the sugar to flow to the top of your pineapple. After the fruit develops a pleasant smell and golden hue, it’s ready to be eaten!

What to use it for:

Try adding fresh pineapple to desserts like Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and putting grilled pineapple on ice cream. Or blend your pineapple to make pineapple popsicles!

Pineapple also makes a delicious savory addition to meals! Top your pork chops with pineapple salsa, mix pineapple into Asian noodles, or whip up a baked chicken with pineapple.