Wondering if the pomegranate you just purchased from the store is ripe and ready to eat? Let us teach you what you need to know about eating pomegranates at their peak.
As someone who has experience working in a retail produce, there are several questions that are commonly asked.
One of the most frequent one is how to tell if a fruit is ripe or not.
It is topic of confusion for many people. Which is understandable. Not every piece of fruit ripens the same way.
Some fruit ripen on the tree, some won't ripen until well after they are picked, some change color, some look the same, and it goes on. People are worried they will take something home and find out they don't like - whether not sweet enough, soft enough, ripe enough, flavorful enough, etc.
There are a lot of misconceptions out there too that people believe when it comes to ripeness (don't get me started on pineapples!).
Since they are now coming into season and people want to know, I want to address today how to tell when a pomegranate is ripe.
Learn how to pick one out in the store and when it is ready to eat when you take it home.
❓ How to Tell
In doing some research on the subject, I have seen a mixed opinions on the manner. People offer their advice on the right moment a pomegranate is ripe. They think it should look a certain way.
However, pomegranates are a fruit that ripens on the tree and not off the tree.
When you buy one in the store or at a market, they are ready to eat immediately. You don't have to leave them out on the counter, or put them in a paper bag, or anything like that. It's go time right from the get go.
🛒 How to Choose One at the Store
💡 Top Tip - When picking fruit I always tell people to pick up the fruit, place it in the palm of your hand. How does it feel? Does it feel heavy for it's size? You want that answer to be yes and that means it's full of juice, and we love our fruit juicy, right?
As it comes to the skin, you want to look for something without any soft spots.
Sometimes you will see a crack near the stem end of the fruit. As long as it doesn't go through the fruit, your fine. In fact, I heard that this is what pomegranates do as they hang on the tree. I might even suggest you look for this as this is a sign the pomegranate has been on the tree longer.
Pomegranates that will be shipped across the country may be picked early than ideal. If you live in a place that pomegranates can grow I suggest picking them from your local farmer's market. They are most likely to have spend more time on the tree before being picked.
🍂 When in Season?
You can find fresh pomegranates in season starting near the end of September/early October through January.
All of the ones I have seen in the stores during that time period were from California. They are grown in other states but not on a wide scale. Some other states to look for them in are Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, southern Utah, southern Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.
📦 How to Store
Pomegranates can be left out and be fine, but they will last longest if you refrigerate them whole. You get quite a long time out of a pomegranate if keep it chilled, up to 3 months!
🗓️ How Long Do Seed Last in the Fridge?
Once you have removed the seeds or arils from a pomegranate I would recommend eating them within 5 days. They are a wonderful addition to a salad so that's a great way to use them up.
🍐 More Ripe Fruits
Check out this post to learn more about when different fruits are ripe.
My great grandma had a tree and she said never pick or eat a pomegranate until after the first frost of the season.
That sounds like very wise wisdom. I say the same with Brussel sprouts as they will be sweeter after a light frost.