Pineapples are tropical plants that thrive in warmer climates. They produce a delicious fruit that weighs between 4 and 20 pounds when ripe. Pineapples are an excellent source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C. The fruit has several health benefits; it contains an enzyme called bromelain that aids digestion, reduces inflammation and suppresses appetite. Knowing when to harvest pineapple will ensure that your fruit is ripe, delicious and perfect for eating.
Know when to expect fruit. If you started your pineapples from tops removed from store-bought pineapples, you should not expect fruit for at least two years. Cold climates may significantly delay fruiting time. Pineapples started from suckers typically fruit within 18 months. Pineapples usually flower approximately six months before the fruit is ready to harvest.
Watch for color changes. Pineapple is ready to pick when it begins to turn yellow. The eyes at the base of the pineapple change color first. As the pineapple continues to ripen, the yellow coloring will rise up the fruit.
Check for ripeness by smelling the pineapple. A ripe pineapple will have a strong pineapple smell, whereas an immature fruit produces very little smell. This method may not work if you have multiple pineapples planted near each other in various stages of ripening.
Use your finger to tap the side of the fruit. A ripe pineapple will sound solid, while an immature fruit will sound hollow.
Discard pineapples that are reddish bronze in color, smell fermented, have wrinkled skin or are very soft when pressed. This indicates over-ripeness and may even mean the pineapple is rotten.
Store harvested fruit at temperatures greater than 45 degrees F. To encourage further ripening, keep your fruit in a location with good air circulation and a relative humidity level of 80 to 90 percent. Harvested pineapple will last four to six weeks.