One of the biggest dilemmas when growing pineapple plants is knowing when to harvest the fruit. Here are tips for harvesting pineapples before they are fully ripe and still getting all the juicy sweetness.
It takes a pineapple many months to develop. How many depends on how much heat and sun the plant gets. Shade and cool weather slow them to a crawl.
As the fruit ripens, it colors from the bottom to the top and from side to side. You can harvest it as soon as one side has turned yellow.
Many people think that a pineapple will not continue to ripen once it is removed from the plant.
This is untrue.
Most types of pineapple turn some shade of gold as they ripen. You can tell how ripe the fruit is by looking at it.
The fruit tastes sweetest when it has fully colored.
If you can safely leave it outside in your yard until this happens, you are very fortunate.
I need to harvest my home grown pineapple much sooner than this in order to beat the family of racoons who live in our woods to it.
Not only will these masked marauders steal the ripe fruit, they will destroy any slips growing around the plant while they are at it.
Rather than risk this, I pick the fruit as soon as one side has changed color and let it finish ripening in the house.
Another way I avoid this theft is by growing pineapple plants in containers. When the fruit begins to ripen, I move the pots into my screen porch where the racoons can't get to them.
You will need a lopper to cut through the thick stem. I like to keep a few inches of stem attached so that the fruit can draw energy from it as it ripens. This could be an old wives tale, but it has been working for me for years, so I'm sticking with it.
I have a vase that I set the fruit in until it is ready to eat.
Pineapple ripening in a vase, still showing lots of green.
Fully ripe, golden pineapple fruit, ready to eat.
Each day the fruit will turn more golden. You'll know when to eat it because the sweet fragrance of ripe pineapple will permeate the room.
When the fruity aroma overtakes me the moment I step into the kitchen, I know it's time.
Beautiful, fragrant, and delicious.
No wonder the pineapple is the national symbol of hospitality.
After you eat the pineapple, don't forget to plant the top.
The top from a home grown pineapple has much more life in it than the top from a store bought fruit.
It can be difficult to get tops from store bought pineapples to root.
The top of your home grown fruit will root with ease.
If you are really interested in raising pineapple plants, you won't want to waste a good top.