Pineapple must be one of the most versatile fruits out there. Its sweet, slightly tart flavor and firm texture make it easy to incorporate across a large variety of dishes—sweet, savory, cooked, raw, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert.
With so many uses, pineapple is a fabulous fruit to have on hand at all times.
Being fresh produce, however, pineapple doesn’t last all that long, especially once it has been cut. A great way to extend the shelf life of pineapple is to keep it in the freezer.
Here is an easy guide to freezing pineapple.
Types of Pineapple
More than 37 varieties of pineapple are grown across the world, varying in size, shape, color, sweetness, acidity, and fiber content.
Certain types are more resistant to disease and are suitable for commercial transport, while others are tender and don’t fare well over long-haul shipping.
Most pineapples can be grouped into 4 classes namely: Smooth Cayenne, Red Spanish, Queen, and Abacaxi.
The spiny and tall Abacaxi pineapples are very sweet and almost translucent in color. They are, however, not popular as commercial products due to their delicate nature.
Queen pineapples are best eaten fresh with their dark-yellow color, sweet aroma, and small core.
Smooth Cayenne pineapples are known for their large size and juicy yellow flesh while Red Spanish pineapples are orange-red in color.
Regardless of the type of pineapple, the riper it gets, the sweeter it tastes with some pineapples featuring a somewhat tart or acidic flavor. If not eaten in their raw, natural form, pineapples can also be canned, dried, juiced, cooked, or crystallized.
Can Pineapple Be Frozen?
Yes. Pineapple freezes quite well, although there may be some textural changes to the fruit due to its high water content.
As the liquid freezes, ice crystals form which cause damage to the cell walls. This results in some textural changes and a less firm texture once thawed.
Frozen pineapple does, however, make a great snack or addition to fruit salad and smoothies. Once thawed, pineapple will have a similar texture to the canned product but is still suitable for use in baking, cooked dishes, smoothies, fruit salad, and stir-fry.
Only freeze fully ripe pineapple. Overripe pineapple should not be frozen as this will have a very poor texture, color, and off-flavor once thawed.
It is equally important to keep the pineapple protected from contact with air and moisture during freezing to prevent freezer burn and the formation of large ice crystals.
How To Freeze Pineapple
Step 1: Clean
Cut the top and bottom of the pineapple to remove the spiky leaves and base. Shave off the outer skin and spikes carefully and completely so that you are left with the large smooth pineapple flesh only. If desired, you can core the pineapple too.
Step 2: Cut
Cut the pineapple into the desired size pieces either in small chunks or slices. Unless you require large slices for a specific recipe, smaller chunks will be the easier option for use after freezing.
If the pineapple is very juicy, lightly dab it with a paper towel or a clean dish towel to remove excess moisture before freezing.
Step 3: Flash-freeze
Place a piece of wax paper onto a baking sheet and spread the pineapple chunks (or slices) in an even layer on the covered baking sheet. Make sure the pieces do not touch each other to prevent them from sticking together.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the pineapple chunks are frozen.
This flash-freeze process prevents the pineapple from freezing together in one large clump and makes it easy to remove only the amount you need instead of having to thaw and use the entire batch.
Step 4: Pack
Once frozen, remove the baking sheet with pineapple chunks from the freezer and pack them into resealable freezer bags. Seal the bags ¾ of the way, and then press out the remaining air before closing them completely.
Step 5: Label and Freeze
Label the bag with a permanent marker writing the date of freezing to keep track of how long the pineapple has been stored in the freezer.
How To Thaw Frozen Pineapple
For a firm texture, keep the pineapple frozen when adding to a fruit salad or as an icy snack. Frozen pineapple is also ideal to add straight to smoothies.
When cooking with pineapple in stir-fry or sauces, you can add it from frozen, or thaw it in the refrigerator for a few hours. To speed up the defrosting process, place the sealed freezer bag in a bowl of room-temperature water.
Frozen pineapple can be used in smoothies, sorbets, eaten as a snack, added to fruit salad, used for jams, sauces, and baking. In savory applications, the pineapple can be added to stir-fry, curry, pizza, salads, and marinades.
With so many ways in which to use deliciously sweet and juicy pineapple, do not hesitate to make use of bulk purchase deals and pop the yellow goodness in the freezer for safe-keeping.
By freezing extra pineapple, you can save money, prevent food waste, and always have a sweet and healthy snack on hand.
Up next: Can you freeze watermelon?
*image by klagyivik/depositphotos