Pineapple is a great fruit, but it can be difficult to prepare. If you’ve bought some on a whim, you may find yourself putting off actually using it, and now you haven’t got a huge amount of time before it goes bad, and you’ve got a lot to use.
Maybe a recipe you were trying for the first time only needed a quarter of what it actually said to use, and you’ve got some surplus you know you won’t use in the meantime.
Or your frugal nature got the better of you, and you bought a few fresh pineapples on sale. You’ve got them home, and now you’re questioning your life choices. What to do with them?
Whatever the reason, it’s handy to know if you can freeze it, or if it might go to waste.
You can freeze it, and this is provided that you prepare it properly.
However, it does noticeably change in texture, compared to its fresh counterpart. So this begs the question, should you freeze it? It depends on what you want to use it for.
Is Freezing Pineapple A Good Idea?
With most fruit, putting it through the freezing and thawing process means that both the texture and the flavor are noticeably different from the fresh versions.
Pineapple is no different from this. The good news is that the change is much less noticeable than other fruits.
If you eat fresh pineapple on a regular basis, you’re more likely to notice the difference. If not, you’ll barely notice the difference in flavor, but the pineapple is a lot softer.
The more time it stays frozen, the mushier it will be once you thaw it.
If you are planning on freezing pineapple, thawing it and then trying to eat it as it is, you could be disappointed. The results won’t be as delicious as if you used fresh pineapple.
That’s not to say that you can’t use it, and you’ll find examples at the bottom of this article where the changes will practically be invisible.
It’s also worth looking at the shelf life of a pineapple to determine if you really need to freeze it or not in the first place.
The Shelf Life Of A Pineapple
Despite its tough exterior, pineapple lasts a relatively short amount of time.
If kept whole, it will last only 3 days in a cool pantry, and anywhere from 3 to 6 days in the fridge.
Once cut, the pineapple will keep for a maximum of 5 days in the fridge.
These are a rough guideline as to how long the pineapple will last, as it depends on how fresh they were when you bought them.
When it comes to freezing pineapple, as long as you’ve prepared it properly, it can last up to a year in the freezer.
This makes it worthwhile to freeze pineapple, but you’re still better off using it within a couple of months of freezing it.
This will ensure that you’ll still use it while the quality is there, and you won’t notice too much of a difference in the flavor.
How Do You Tell If A Pineapple Has Gone Bad?
When a pineapple starts to degrade, you’ll see signs of deterioration from the bottom up. It’s always worth checking the bottom of a pineapple before purchasing, and when it’s been in your home for a few days.
If there’s mold growing on the bottom of your pineapple, but the rest of it feels firm, cut it as soon as possible. Discard any parts that have a strange color, smell off, or taste funny.
If that’s pretty much the whole fruit, cut your losses and bin it.
If not, you can either use it straight away, or prepare it for the freezer. It is worth mentioning that the fresher the pineapple before you freeze it, the better it will be when you thaw it.
To check if sliced pineapple has gone off, the first indicator is the smell. If it smells fine, but the color isn’t what you expected, or if there’s mold, bin it.
You should also discard any pineapple pieces that have been in the fridge for more than a week.
How Do You Freeze Pineapple?
The first thing to say is that you shouldn’t try freezing a whole pineapple.
While that’s possible, it will take up a lot of freezer space, and it may defrost unevenly and take much longer to thaw than sliced pineapple.
Plus, you’ll still need to cut into it when it’s thawed. So why not save yourself some time?
Preparing Pineapple For The Freezer
Remove the tough outer skin from the pineapple, and core it. If you eat a lot of pineapple, you may want to invest in a pineapple corer, if you haven’t already.
Chop or dice the pineapple into manageable pieces, as small as you want. Consider chopping them smaller if you don’t know what you’ll use the thawed pineapple for, as the pieces will defrost faster.
Consider getting rid of any excess moisture or juice from the pineapple. This will help it freeze better, and it’s recommended if you’re going to use the pineapple in something like a fruit salad, as it will save some texture.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the pineapple pieces flat, making sure they don’t touch each other.
Transfer the tray into the freezer, and leave them in there until the pieces are frozen solid.
Remove the tray from the freezer, and transfer the pineapple chunks into a resealable freezer bag. Squeeze out any excess air, and seal. Label, and return the pineapple to the freezer.
How Do You Thaw Frozen Pineapple?
There are several ways you can defrost pineapple, and the method you choose depends on your preference and how much time you have to spare.
Overnight In The Fridge
Like most food, pineapple thaws well when you transfer it directly from the freezer into the fridge. Let it thaw overnight, and it’ll be ready for you to use it in the morning.
In Cold Water
If you don’t have that much time, you can put the whole freezer bag into a bowl of tepid water. Make sure that the bag is fully sealed before you put it in!
This method takes much less time, maybe about 2 hours in total, depending on how much you have to defrost at once, and the size of the bowl.
Use From Frozen
Depending on what you’ll be using the pineapple for, you may not have to defrost it first. You can use the frozen pineapple straight away, and you can find ideas of how to use the pineapple pieces in the next section.
How Do You Use Frozen Or Thawed Pineapple?
The good news is that because you flash-froze the pineapple, you only have to take out as much as you need from the freezer.
This means that you can also experiment with ways to use the pineapple, and what you like best.
How To Use Frozen Pineapple
One of the best ways of using frozen pineapple is in a smoothie. No need to defrost it first, and no need to dilute your smoothie with ice.
Throw the frozen pineapple pieces straight into the blender with the rest of your smoothie ingredients, and enjoy.
You can also use frozen pineapple in cocktails, if you prefer a drink with a bit more punch. Of course, it depends on which recipe you choose – make sure to go for one that specifically asks for frozen pineapple.
You can also use frozen pineapple instead of ice cubes, which won’t dilute your drink. This is perfect for a very hot day. Just make sure you poke the pineapple with a fork to allow some of the goodness to get into your drink.
Ideas To Help You Use Thawed Pineapple
Thawed pineapple is great on pizza, as long as you believe that pineapple does belong on pizza. The altered texture of the thawed pineapple doesn’t matter so much here, as it will cook on the pizza anyway.
Thawed pineapple is also useful both in cooking and in baking. In some cooking recipes, you won’t have to thaw it first, but that depends on the individual recipe.
If you prefer, you can also eat it as if, or as an ingredient in fruit salad.
The end result will be a little mushier than you might have expected, but it’s best to make a small amount and eat it to find out where you actually like it or not, before making a big batch.
If thawed pineapple on its own is a dealbreaker, you can incorporate it into ice cream or yogurt to liven it up a bit and add some depth, while masking the altered texture.
While pineapple can be used in a myriad of ways, sometimes it’s more convenient to reach for an alternative, especially if the idea of cutting up a pineapple is too time-consuming.
While this could lead to food waste, at least you know you can freeze it for later, as long as you prepare it properly.
It will also save you money, as you’ll be able to have pineapple out of season without having to pay too much for it, and it will cut down on waste.
It also helps that thawed or even frozen pineapple still has a lot of uses, even when there are some texture changes that some people may not find appealing.
As long as you prepare pineapple in a way that suits your palate, there’s no reason not to freeze it.