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How to Tell if a Pomegranate is Ripe

Pomegranates are a delicious and nutritious fruit, but it can be tricky to pick out a ripe one.

One of the trickiest things about pomegranates is telling when they’re ripe. This post goes over a few quick and easy ways to test fruit ripeness so you can enjoy these delicious fruits at their peak.

A ripe pomegranate cut open showing the seeds close up.

How to tell if a pomegranate is ripe

There are a few easy ways to tell if a pomegranate is ripe and ready to eat. The skin of the fruit and the weight are two great indicators. Here are a few great ways to tell if a pomegranate is ripe.

1. Scratch the Skin

If you press your fingernail into a ripe pomegranate’s skin, it will easily break apart due to its soft, leathery texture; whereas an unripe one will remain firm and intact despite pressure from your nail or fingers.

2. Check for Texture

When checking to see if a pomegranate is ripe, you should gently touch its skin. If it has a matte finish with a rough rind then it is likely ripe.

Feel for any soft spots on the surface of the fruit; these are indicators that it is ready to be eaten or juiced.

3. Look for Color Cues

When a pomegranate is ripe, the color will be a bright red to crimson color all over. The pomegranate will also lose nearly all traces of green, meaning it is fully matured or ripe.

Looking at the stem end is also a great way to tell its freshness. If there is moisture on the stem end of the pomegranate then it was more recently harvested.

4. Give It a Smell

When buying a pomegranate, you want to give it the sniff test. If the pomegranate smells like nothing, then it is likely, not ripe yet.

A ripened pomegranate will have a slightly fruity or sweet smell and is ready to be eaten.

If the smell of the pomegranate is strong and unpleasant, like nail polish remover or alcohol, then it is rotten and should not be eaten.

Why is it important to pick a ripe pomegranate?

Picking a ripe pomegranate is important because it will taste sweeter, be more intensely flavored, and have more juice.

The longer the fruit stays on the tree, the darker red it will become and the riper it will be. By harvesting a ripe pomegranate you can ensure that you are getting maximum enjoyment out of your fruit. Otherwise, your pomegranate may be tart.

By the time pomegranates are ripe you have up to a week to consume them before they will start to dry out and go bad.

They are great to eat all by themselves but there are many amazing pomegranate recipes to try such as smoothies, salads, or even cocktails!

I have a great healthy garden salad recipe that would be great with pomegranate seeds added!

What to consider when buying pomegranates

1. Size and weight

Pomegranates usually grow to be about six inches in diameter, with a weight between .5lb and 1 pound. When they are fully ripe, they should be quite heavy for their size.

Experts from the Pomegranate Council suggest that weight is one factor used to judge ripeness; therefore it is important to choose fruits with a more impressive weight or size.

The mass of the pomegranate can be approximated by holding it in your hand, but it is best to compare several fruits side by side for an accurate measure.

2. Color

Pomegranates vary in type, but the seeds are usually ruby red. It is important to check the color of pomegranates before buying them, as ripe pomegranates have a bright red to crimson color all over and have lost nearly all traces of green.

Brown seeds are an indicator that something has gone wrong with the pomegranate, as they indicate that it has gone bad and should not be eaten.

The brown seeds are also usually slippery so it is difficult to pick them up between your fingers.

4. Texture

When buying pomegranates, it is important to consider the texture of the skin. The skin should be leathery and able to scratch easily with a sharp object.

It is also important to note that pomegranates should feel hard in your hands as they grow, but have more give when ripened.

If your pomegranate has gone soft in places to the point that it is almost mushy, throw it away immediately as it has probably gone bad and could make you sick if consumed.

Another fruit that can be tough to tell when it is ripe is an avocado. I have just the post for you on all of the ways to know how to tell if an avocado is ripe!

Best way to store Pomegranates

Pomegranates can be stored at room temperature on the counter for up to 2 weeks. Be sure to keep them out of direct sunlight so that they do not get too warm.

If you need to store them for longer, they can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 weeks. When storing pomegranates in the fridge, be sure to put them in a plastic bag to prevent them from drying out.

If you’ve already taken out the seeds from your pomegranates, store them in a plastic container or bag in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Kiwi is stored similarly to pomegranates. Check out my post on how to store kiwi fruit as well!

signs that pomegranate is going bad?

There are a few signs that the pomegranate is going bad. The first sign is the color – if it starts to turn brown, it is no longer edible.

The second sign is whether the pomegranate feels soft, as it should be firm but have a slight amount of give when squeezed.

Lastly, the skin may start to splinter or feel brittle which indicates that it has dried out and the juice has been lost.

Tips on how to seed pomegranates

1. To remove the arils (seeds) from the pomegranate, cut off both ends, then score the skin of the fruit into quarters.

2. Place each quarter in a bowl of water and gently break open to release the seeds inside. The seeds will sink to the bottom while any remaining membrane or skin will float to the top.

3. Once all of your seeds are separated from their membranes and skins, drain them in a colander and rinse them with cold water.

4. Use your arils immediately or store them in an airtight container for later use; be sure to keep them refrigerated if storing for more than one day as they tend to lose their freshness quickly when exposed to air for too long!

When are pomegranates in season?

They harvest pomegranates from October through February. The best time to get them is when the harvested fruits are fresh otherwise you are likely to get an unripe pomegranate.

It is important that when they harvest pomegranates they are ripe or really close to being ripe so that you can enjoy them at their peak.

Conclusion

Pomegranates are a delicious and healthy fruit that can be enjoyed year-round. By following the ripeness indicators in this guide, you can be sure to select the perfect pomegranate every time. So, the next time you’re at the store, be sure to give these tips a try.

FAQ

Should Pomegranates Be Soft Or Hard?

Both pomegranates should be firm, with a little more give when they are ripe. Pomegranates that have gone soft in places and are almost mushy have gone bad and should be thrown away. Round pomegranates should be avoided as they may not be as ripe as flat ones.

Do Pomegranates Ripen On The Counter?

Yes, with time pomegranates can ripen on the counter if placed in a dry place at room temperature away from direct sunlight. This process can take a few days and the ripest pomegranates will become darker red in color.

Should Whole Pomegranates Be Refrigerated?

It is not necessary to refrigerate whole pomegranates as they can be left out and will last fine without being refrigerated. However, they will last longer if kept chilled for up to three months than if left out at room temperature.

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