Why Pineapples Are Sweeter When Picked During The Day, According To Science

It turns out that pineapples go through mood swings just like the rest of us. While they, of course, don't experience emotions like we do, the time of day you pick one of these fruits has a big impact on the flavor they give off. If you harvest your pineapple during the day, you're much more likely to get a sweeter bite, while at night, there's a higher chance your snack will end up tasting sour.

So, what's the reason behind the big mood change? Pineapples are what's known as a CAM fruit, according to the Journal of Experimental Botany, meaning they undergo a special type of photosynthesis that allows them to keep carbon dioxide as malic acid. As the latter half of its name might suggest, malic acid is a sour substance also found in apples – and it's so sour, in fact, that it's what Warheads uses to get that lip-puckering sensation in its candy. But, because of their unique photosynthesis, pineapples only store carbon dioxide as malic acid at night, and they let it go during the day. So, if you pick one of these fruits when it's dark out, it will be full of sour flavor, while ones harvested during the day will have much more sweetness.

How to pick a sweet pineapple

When you're at the grocery store, it can be tough to tell if a pineapple was picked during the day or at night. However, there are a few ways you can check for sweetness before cutting into one of these fruits. The most obvious way is by looking at the color of the pineapple. If you barely see any yellow, there's a good chance it has yet to ripen and won't be entirely sweet. In the same vein, a small squeeze can indicate if the fruit is underripe, as a fully hard pineapple was probably harvested too early.

What's the best way to check for sweetness specifically? If it's not too embarrassing to do at the grocery store, lift the pineapple up and smell the bottom. If you detect sweetness, you'll likely get the same flavor notes once you taste the fruit, which may also be a sign that the pineapple was picked during the day after the malic acid had been released. On the flip side, a fruit that gives off a vinegar aroma or smells a little off can mean it's too ripe. Once you take home the perfect pineapple, try sticking it in the oven to let all those tasty sugars caramelize and sweeten even more.