Pineapple is naturally high in both sugar and acid, making it perfect for canning at home. But why on earth would you can pineapple? Most of us are not exactly growing it in the backyard, and it’s easy enough to buy at the store.
Home-canned pineapple tastes amazing, and you’ll never want to use watery, flavorless store-bought cans again.
Beyond taste, canned pineapple is a great way to take advantage of sale produce. Midwinter, pineapples are dirt cheap.
Up here in Vermont, they’re usually $4 to $5 each, or around $7 for organic. In January, they drop to $1 to $1.50 each! You can buy a whole case for a 5 spot and can it up at home to use all year long.
Start by peeling the pineapple. Chop off the top and bottom of the pineapple, and then use a chef’s knife to slice vertically down the sides, removing the peel and spines.
You can save the peels to make homemade tepache (a South American pineapple drink) or ferment them into pineapple vinegar. Waste not, want not.
The cores are full of flavor, but they’re tough and fibrous. Slice out the cores and save them to the side.
We’ll use them to make pineapple juice and can the pineapple in its own juice. That makes for much more flavorful canned pineapple, without added sugar.
Chop the pineapple into pieces. Large chunks work, or I prefer smaller chunks because they’ll be ready to top a pizza for a quick weeknight dinner.
You can also mince them very small for crushed pineapple, and use it in carrot cake or hummingbird cake.
Pineapple can be raw packed or hot packed into jars for home canning. That means that you can either put the pineapple chunks directly into the jars raw, or you can simmer the pineapple for 10 or so minutes on the stovetop and pack it into jars hot. Either way is perfectly fine and safe.
Raw packing has the advantage of being quick and easy. Stuff the pineapple into jars, and cover with boiling water, juice or syrup. Lid up and can them in a water bath canner.
The downside is that with a raw pack, your food may discolor after a few months in the jars. Fruit, pineapple, in particular, has a lot of air inside its structure.
Some estimate that air can be as much as 30% of the total volume. When you pack it raw, that air stays inside the canning jar and will cause the food to discolor over time, and can impact flavor.
Hot packing is supposed to yield a better result for pineapple in particular, according to the University of Alaska Cooperative Extension. If you’re hot packing, simmer the pineapple in your canning liquid of choice (water, juice or syrup) for 10 minutes before packing into jars. This drives off the extra air in the pineapple and ensures a better-finished product.
I’ve had great results with a raw pack, and packing hot pineapple into jars can be messy. It’s also hard to stuff the jars completely full when you’re dealing with hot pineapple and syrup together. I haven’t had issues with discoloration, but they never last more than a few months in my pantry.
Choose what’s best for you, but know that if you’re planning for long-term preservation, hot pack is a better choice.
Choices for Canning Liquid
With pineapple, you have a lot of choices for canning liquid.
- Juice – Pineapple, apple or grape
- Extra light syrup, light syrup or medium syrup
You can just simply pack the pineapple into the water, but that’s going to cause a lot of the pineapple flavor to leach out into the water. Juice, such as pineapple juice, apple juice or grape juice also works.
I avoid using syrup because pineapple is sweet enough. Canning it in syrup makes it over the top sweet, and it doesn’t taste like fruit anymore (to me anyway).
If you do choose to use syrup, here is how to calculate the added sugar for each type.
The first time I canned pineapple, I bought a jar of pineapple juice. That stuff is expensive, about $7 per bottle, which increased the cost substantially.
The second time, I tried running a pineapple through my home juicer. It worked well, and the yield was high. I only needed to juice 1 pineapple for every 4 I wanted to can.
This time, I tried another method. I boiled the pineapple cores in water, which extracted the pineapple flavor and a lot of the sugars.
I didn’t have to sacrifice a pineapple to the juicer, and I still got the same pineapple flavor. Simmer the chopped pineapple cores in water for about 10 minutes, and then strain out the cores.
I found that I needed about 1/3 of a cup of added liquid for each half-pint jar, and each pineapple yielded roughly 5 to 6 half-pints. Estimate that you’ll need 2 to 2.5 cups of boiling liquid for each pineapple you can.
It’s always better to have too much than not enough. Running out of canning liquid mid-batch is frustrating!
Canning pineapple at home preserves this tasty fruit on the pantry shelf for extended periods and tastes much better than store bought.
- Whole Raw Pineapples (one for every 2-3 pints jars to can)
- Water, Juice or Syrup (roughly 2 to 2.5 cups per pineapple)
- Chop the pineapple into chunks. Large hunks, small chunks or minced for crushed pineapple. Choose your preference.
- For hot pack, bring the pineapple to a boil in the canning liquid of your choice and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Pack the pineapple and liquid into jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
- Can in a water bath canner, processing 15 minutes for half-pints or pints, and 20 minutes for quarts (adjusting for altitude).
- Remove from the canner and allow to cool to room temperature. Check jars for seal and use any unsealed jars immediately
**For a raw pack, pack raw pineapple into jars and cover with boiling liquid.
Adjust total canning time for altitude. Basic times are for below 1000 feet. For 1000 ft to 3000 ft, times change to 20 and 25 minutes. Then 3000 to 6000 to 20 and 30 minutes. Finally 25 and 35 minutes above 6000 ft.
More Fruit Canning Recipes
Looking for more canning recipes? Here are a few more fruits to can at home:
Mmmmmmmm!! These look delicious! I’m going to put this on my to-do list. Seems easy enough! Thank you!
After cooking the cores to make the canning liquid could i just throw it all in the Vitamix and use?
Yeah, that would work. Your canning juice would be a bit pulpy that way instead of clear, but you’d get more flavor incorporating them with the Vitamix. Just make sure you add enough water that it’s still a canning juice with the cores blended up, instead of a slurry/jam consistency. Great idea!
Can I cold pack without any added liquid?
No. You need some kind of liquid in with the pineapple.
Do the pineapples need to be ripe before canning? They were on sale for $.98 so I bought 3, 1 to eat now and 2 for canning. However they’re not ripe yet. So should I wait before canning them?
Ideally, they should be just barely ripe. Overripe pineapples will fall apart, and underripe ones won’t have the best flavor. That said, a bit underripe can still be canned since the cooking helps to soften them. You might want to add a tiny bit of sugar though since they won’t be as sweet as a ripe one. But yes, ideally you’d wait and let them ripen.
Lived in Hawaii for years….once picked, pineapples WILL NOT ripen further. (it may get softer, but will not get sweeter) The best pineapples to buy are a uniform golden color (not green). When you get them home, stand them on their “head” overnight. It helps redistribute the juices from the bottom where they settle thanks to gravity.
Thank you for your comment Lisa. I didn’t know that.
Aren’t they delicious when they are picked when they are completely golden? You haven’t had pineapple until you get them when they are completely golden. Also, when you get them fresh picked, the days they stay good also changes. 3 days on the counter is assuming they were picked in Hawaii or Honduras, shipped, sorted and distributed prior to you getting them. I’m fortunate enough to grow my own. Without intervention, they tend to all come in during June and July. My freezer is full of gallon ziploc bags of pineapple chunks, so now I’m trying to find other ways to store them up.
I’m wondering with the cores as to why boil them in water vs. a food processor and then filter the liquid? And if using this fresh juice, why does it need to be boiled, and not just poured on at room temp?
You can certainly try to extract the juice in this way as long as you have enough liquid to fill the jars to the correct level. You can use a raw pack method or a hot pack method to can pineapple safely but your liquid does need to be hot as this is how the recipes are tested. If the liquid is not hot it could affect the temperature of the food during the processing time.
Thank you for your post, we will try it!
Found $1.99 pineapples the other day at the store, so I tried your method for caning. Everything went great, and all the jars sealed! (Yeah!) I haven’t tried a jar yet, but they look delicious!
Will be trying this recipe this weekend using the pineapple core water and raw pack method. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!
You give times for half pints and quarts but not pints. What time do you recommend for pints?
Oops, thanks, I’ll correct that. Process times for both pints and half pints are the same.
Doing this this week. This is probably obvious to canners, but should the jars be hot when I fill them?
Yes, you do want your jars to be hot.
What can the extra juice be used for? (juice after simmering cores).
Hmm…good question. I bet it’d make a really good pineapple rice!
Use it for jello
pineapple will not let jello set
“jello” warns you when making a mold with pineapple
Fresh pineapple is said to keep jello from setting because it contains Bromelain. Cooking deactivates the Bromelain, leftover cooked juice is fine to use in jello.
Can the juice derived from the pineapple cors be preserved by canning also.
You certainly could although I am not sure what the taste would be with just the cores themselves. I think it would be worth trying.
Can u use canned pineapple juice to can fresh pineapple???
Yes you can but it does increase the cost significantly.
Can you use citric acid to prevent browning, should you and id so about how much? Thaks Ashley, I think your blog is amazing by the way!!
I’ve honestly never had fresh pineapple brown, it seems to have enough acid in there to prevent oxidation all on its own.
Hello. I’ve used bottled lemon juice, sugar, and water to make a light simple syrup. This also helps eliminate browning of pineapple. I use about a quarter cup of lemon juice to 2 cups sugar and 9 cups of water.
Came across this and found pineapples fort $2.99. I bought just one to try. Used the core to make the syrup. Great money savers. I got 5 Half pints from the one. Will go back and buy more! Easy directions to follow.
Wonderful, so glad it worked out for you!
How long can you store after sealing?
It’s often recommended to eat within a year for the best quality. After that, the quality will begin to deteriorate but will still be safe to eat as long as it is stored properly and none of the seals have been broken.
Love this stuff ! As I was working on getting more things about this, the article has helped me to solve various clarifications. Thanks for the great content.
You’re welcome. So glad you enjoyed the content.
Can we use frozen pineapple?
I think frozen pineapple should be fine although I haven’t personally tried it. Let us know how it works for you.
Did you find out if you could use frozen pineapple?
I did the hot pack method today. I thought I did a good job of preparing my pineapples and had gotten rid of the eyes. The jars look beautiful and I see that in my left over juice there are some of those little pineapple seeds. Preboiling must have the benefit of removing these as they are on the bottom of the pan.
That’s very interesting.
It’s a wonderful work you have done. If we do raw pack, how much should be shelf life, I opened a pack after 4 months( done by raw method), it was wonderful. In how many months, left over air will discolor pineapple?
It is possible that they may discolor more with raw pack versus hot pack but that doesn’t mean that they always will. The shelf life doesn’t really change with the discoloration, they just may not look as appealing.
This recipe turned out so very well!! We boiled the cores to make our juice and even had a little left over that we chilled and drank. So very good. And this recipe was so easy to follow. Can’t thank you enough!
You’re welcome. So glad you enjoyed the recipe.
Hi Ashley…love your site! thank you! Wanted to tell you about how I prepare the pineapple. Easy, fast and reduces waste.
Cut off top and bottom of pineapple.
take a thin slice off one side of the standing pineapple (to keep it from rolling) lay the pineapple down with that small cut on the cutting board.
slice rounds 1/2 inch or less on the whole pineapple. (hang on to the pineapple with a tea towel if it rolls)
I have a biscuit cutter set with several sizes. The smallest size is perfect for removing the core from each slice.
Then I use a thin bladed knife to trim around the outside of that 1/2 circle of pineapple
So easy and finished in no time. Boil the cores and leave the circles of pineapple whole, or cut into chunks.
Nothing tastes better than a warm pineapple upside down cake when the snow is flying outside…Thank you again for your site. Keep up the great work. Mary
You’re very welcome. So glad you’re enjoying the site and thank you for sharing your pineapple tips.
Great recipe. I used the hot pack method. I bought seven pineapples and got sixteen pints and three 1.5 pints. I chopped the cores and put them in water to make the syrup. I also squeezed the juice from the skin pieces into the pot. After cooking for about 30 minutes, I took the time to strain the syrup water using cheese cloth over a colander placed over a pot and let the chucks cool a bit then squeezed them. The juice was perfect and tasted great, no added sugar. I had some left over for a great glass of pineapple juice. Thank you for sharing the recipe!
You’re very welcome. So glad you enjoyed the recipe.
I did the raw pack with my own garden grown pineapple but didn’t see the asterisks for using boiling water until after when sharing the recipe with someone else. Will it be safe? Do I need to throw them out? It’s already been a couple of weeks. I used the pineapple water method.
Hi, thanks for your content – I’ve been following your canning instructions with each new product I can. I have an idea for your pineapple recipe: in addition to boiling the core for juice for the canning liquid, what I also did was do a shallow cut just to remove the green outer layer. Then, I did a deeper cut to remove the eyes from the flesh. I boiled the deeper cuts along with the cores to get more juice out of it.
That’s a really great idea!
Home canned pineapple was not on my radar, but this recipe is super easy! I will definitely be trying this! Thank you!
You’re very welcome. We hope you enjoy the recipe.
Never thought about canning fresh pineapple! Although I can’t imagine why not as I can or freeze many other fresh fruits and vegetables. I am very enthusiastically looking forward to canning pineapple in the near future! I’ve read all of the instructions and comments, everyone enjoyed the recipe, it seems to have turned out wonderfully and tastes fantastic! Thank you for bringing this to my attention. May God’s blessings be upon you, now and always.
Thanks so much, Paula
You’re very welcome. So glad you enjoyed the recipe.
Thank you for the great instructions! I might have missed this in the original post, but could you please confirm the ratio of cores to water for the pineapple water method?
You need 2 to 2.5 cups of boiling liquid for each pineapple that you can.
You mentioned color change possible have you tried fruit fresh on the fruit to stop this
We try to stay away from as many food additives as possible.
Does cooking time make then soft
Not really, they’re still very firm…but they are cooked. They’re a lot like commercially canned pineapple, but a bit firmer, and with a much better flavor (not tinn-y from the tin can, since they’re in glass, and with more pineapple flavor since you’re choosing the best pineapples instead of the rejects as they do in canneries).
I did the hot packing method. The amount of liquid of 2 cups of water per pineapple was perfect, however my yield wasn’t what I expected. You mentioned 2 to 3 pints per pineapple. I did 6 pineapples and only wound up with 9 pints. Is that because I hot packed? I also noticed from another comment you mention don’t use pineapples overly ripe. Some of mine were pretty ripe. The chucks did not fall apart but like I said I expected more pints. Just trying to figure out if I did something wrong.
As long as you followed the canning directions then they should be fine. Maybe your pineapples were quite a bit smaller. Depending on how you cut the pineapple, it’s possible that there could have been more waste as well.
Thanks so much for this recipe! I bought 10 pineapples that were $1 each. I think I got 15 pints out of them. Delicious! My husband and I have been eating pineapple and cottage cheese so much! So delicious. I added more sugar to mine due to them not being as ripe. But they ended up so good. I’m praying they will go on sale soon again. I’m doubling the amount next time I can them. They are so much better the. Buying them from the store.
That’s wonderful. So glad you enjoyed the recipe.
What ratio did you use water to core for the making of juice?
You will need about 2-2.5 cups of liquid for each pineapple.
I canned fresh pineapple yesterday. Love doing it and they were on sale. Saved my scraps and boiled them up this morning. Strained it good and I’m now making pineapple jam. Saved a little of the fresh pineapple to add to the jam. Made some a couple of weeks ago pineapple wasn’t on sale but it turned out so good when they went on sale this week I grabbed a bunch and now we’ll have enough to last a while!
You gotta love a good sale! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipe.
I am going to try this tomorrow. I just found beautiful pineapples for twenty-five cents each – yup, $.25 each! Unheard of here in the North East.
That’s a great deal! Enjoy your pineapple!
Who knew you could home can pineapple?! Bought 18 pineapples at a super deal from our local Smiths Foods. Canned 32 half pints, 7 pints ( ran out of those size jars) and have enough for about 5-6 more half pints of crushed pineapple. Wishing I had more lids!
Love your method of boiling up the cores for the canning liquid. My sweetheart tasted it and thinks it’s pure pineapple juice. 🍍 if you use a pineapple corer, don’t forget all the wonderfulness left on the rind. Just use a surraded knife to carefully cut that away, and you have crushed pineapple.
Thank you for your hard work and for your post!
You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for sharing. We’re so glad you enjoyed the post.