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Pineapple 101

Everything you need to know about pineapple! Why does it hurt your mouth? How do you know when it’s ripe? All your questions answered here!

Picture of a pineapple closeup

Eatmail subscribers already know that I am super excited about this spotlight ingredient, because after much deliberation, I think I can say pineapples are my favorite fruit.

The boyfriend-tulip-man, being Dutch and therefore very direct and sensible, says you can only have one “favorite” thing. And, naturally, that puts a lot of weight on my decisions regarding favorite things. I really like tacos, but I’m not sure I’m ready to say it’s my favorite. The color yellow is great, but can I really say it’s my favorite? Well guess what? Pineapple is my favorite fruit.

And for the next two weeks we’re going to be all about it here on LEL. As usual, today is all about the learns. I’ve researched and written up everything you really need to know about pineapple, starting with the question of the century…why does it make my mouth hurt?!

Why does pineapple make my mouth hurt?

Fresh pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which breaks down proteins. So essentially, the enzyme is working away at your mouth as you chew the pineapple, which can cause some irritation, tingling, or pain.

Once you swallow the pineapple, your stomach has what it needs to protect itself from bromelain, so fear it not! In fact, bromelain may even help reduce inflammation in other areas of the body, like in joints and soft tissue, sinuses, and intestines.

Picture of a pineapples on a white background

How to pick the perfect pineapple

Contrary to popular belief, pineapples do not ripen after they are picked, which means you’ll want to pick the ripest one when purchasing. There are a few ways to determine if it’s ripe (hint: the external color of the fruit doesn’t necessarily indicate ripeness):

  • Smell the bottom. If it smells strong, sweet, and fragrant, it’s probably ripe. No smell? Not ripe!
  • Pluck a leaf from the center of the crown. If it comes out easily, it’s probably ripe.
Picture of a pineapples on a white background

How To Store Pineapples

Because pineapples don’t ripen after being picked, they can only get less tasty with age, so proper storage is essential!

  • Room temperature: You can store uncut pineapples at room temperature for about 3 days.
  • Refrigerated: You can also store uncut pineapples in the warmest part of your fridge (usually the top), where they will last longer (though the leaves and outer skin may brown slightly). Cut pineapple should always be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Favorite Pineapple Recipes

Pineapple on a white background

Nutrition information for pineapple

per 1 cup of pineapple chunks (165 g)

  • Calories: 82
  • Carbohydrates: 22 g
  • Fiber: 2.3 g, 9% of Daily Value (DV)
  • Protein: 0.9 g
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • 131% DV of Vitamin C: A water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant to fight against potentially damaging free radicals (molecules with unshared electrons that float around wreaking havoc) and an important cofactor in collagen synthesis.
  • 10% DV of Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): A water-soluble vitamin that works behind the scenes as a coenzyme in many important reactions within your body, including protein metabolism and red blood cell formation, among countless other functions.
Top of pineapples on a white background

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  1. Sarah | Well and Full says:

    This is such a great guide to pineapples! They’re one of my favorite fruits 🙂

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 🙂

  2. Ann says:


    I need to keep out the fruit for an appetizer recipe and keep the pineapple top from wilting for 24 hours. How long do you think it will stay fresh in the fridge in order to use it as decoration for my dip appetizer? Thank you so much!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Ann! While I haven’t tried this before, I think it would stay fresh in the fridge. You might also want to set the base (where you cut it) in water so the crown has some water to stay plump and green.