How To Store Pomegranates: Whole, Seeds, And Arils?


Have you been wanting to learn how to store pomegranate seeds during the fall? If you want to have your own supply of pomegranate all through winter, here is a good tip:

The best way to store pomegranates is in the refrigerator. While whole pomegranates can be kept on the counter, they can be stored longer in the refrigerator. Once removed from their protective skin, the seeds should be refrigerated in an airtight container.

When picking pomegranate for storage, look for the largest, shiniest, and firmest available. It should feel heavy for its size, so you know it is full of seeds. The skin color can vary from deep red to reddish-brown color.

Best Way To Store Pomegranates

Pomegranates are considered autumn fruit, and you can find the ripest ones at the end of the season. Unlike eating other fruits, you can eat the seeds or the arils of the pomegranate. When planning to store pomegranates for long-term storage, you have to choose the pomegranates carefully.

pomegranate
Image credit: Canva

How To Choose A Pomegranate

While at the grocery store or market, choose the heaviest pomegranates to purchase. The weight of the pomegranate signifies how juicy it is. Lighter pomegranates do not contain as much juice as the heavier ones.

Aside from the weight, a good pomegranate must have a deep-colored rind. The rinds can vary in shades from bright red to a more brownish or even pink. The rind must also be glossy. While the shade of the rind does not signify anything about the ripeness and flavor, the deeper the color, the better the pomegranate.

Meanwhile, unripe pomegranates are round like apples. However, the shape changes slightly as the fruit ripens. The juice-filled seeds begin to expand outward and press against the insides of the pomegranates. A ripe pomegranate will have more of a square shape, because the sides are flattened, instead of rounded.

Once you have selected the best pomegranates, it is now time to prepare for their storage.

How To Store Pomegranate Seeds

Grab the pomegranates, and cut them into quarters. The rind of pomegranates is hard and you cannot really peel a pomegranate because the seeds are nested and attached to the internal membrane. To get the best part, you need to cut and through the rind. Cutting the pomegranate into quarters will give you the best access to the seeds.

To remove the seeds of the pomegranate, place them in a water-filled bowl.

Since the seeds are heavier than the membrane that surrounds the seeds, they will sink to the bottom of the bowl, and the membrane will rise to the surface. Removing the seeds underwater can lessen the risk that you may drop part of the pomegranate onto your countertop and stain it.

Once you have removed all the seeds, you can skim off the membrane from the top of the water with your hands or using a strainer. Remove the seeds from the bottom of the bowl in the same manner, then ready for storage.

Refrigerating the pomegranate rather than leaving it on the counter or in your fruit basket can help it keep fresher and longer. You can expect the pomegranate to last for about two months if you keep it refrigerated.

Be sure to seal the container tightly or place them in a plastic bag before storing them in the refrigerator. If you store the pomegranate in a dry, cool place, it can last for about a month. At room temperature, it can last for a week.

If you don’t plan on eating the seeds within a few days, you can prolong the freshness by storing them in the freezer. Make sure they are completely dry before freezing them.

Otherwise, they will clump together.

You can also flash freeze the seeds before freezing them in a storage bag. After drying any remaining water off the seeds, you can place them in a single layer on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze the seeds on the baking sheet for two hours before storing them in a freezer bag.

The pomegranate seeds can be stored in the freezer for about a year, but it is best if consumed within the year.

How Long Do Pomegranates Last

Fortunately, pomegranates can last quite a long time and do not need special requirements for storage.

At 41 F which is the standard temperature in the fridge, pomegranates can last up to two months. If you leave the fruits at room temperature, the period can shrink to about a week and a half to two weeks. When it comes to pomegranate seeds, they can last for about 5 to 7 days.

How To Choose A Pomegranate At The Store

To find the perfect pomegranate at the store, you can pick a pomegranate based on visual and tactile clues. Look for the one that has the best red color. Make sure that it is not round and glossy, but with ridges.

You don’t want a pomegranate with sides that are too flat or indented ( a sign that the seeds in that section have gone bad). Make sure that it is the heaviest ones that meet the color and shape criteria.

Here are some good tips when choosing pomegranates:

  • A larger pomegranate means juicier seeds (arils). Choose the biggest one.
  • A heavier pomegranate contains more juice. Compare the sizes, and choose the heavier one.
  • Look at the skin of the fruit. Dry skin means the fruit is drying out. The skin should be leathery in appearance but glossy and not dry.
  • Check the skin if there are no blemishes, because a damaged exterior may signal a damaged interior.
  • The color should be deep red. Usually, lighter skins do not taste as good.
  • The shape must also be considered. They will never be perfectly round, but any flat spots mean that the arils in the inner membrane have dried out.

How To Tell If The Pomegranate Is Bad

Telling if the pomegranate is spoiled or not is simple, and usually, you will know right away if yours is or not. Nevertheless, here is a list of signs that pomegranates have gone bad:

Weight

The fruit should feel heavy for its size. If it feels light, then it has probably dried out. It is still worth opening to make sure, though.

Dark and soft spots

Some small ones are okay, especially if they are not mushy or sunken. If that is the case, cut-open the fruit and assess the situation. Large sunken spots indicate that the pomegranate is past its prime.

When it comes to pomegranate seeds and the inside of the fruit, here are some things you should look for:

Mold

If you see any signs of mold growth inside, then discard the seeds.

Black spores

When you see black spores, it is obvious that the fruit is not suitable for consumption.

Seeds that have turned brown or black

Pomegranate seeds are usually dark red. If the color has changed and has turned brown, it is obvious that the seeds are no longer in good condition. Unless, there are only a few brown ones, and the rest is okay, you can remove that part and save the rest.

How To Cut A Pomegranate

Ready to cut open a pomegranate, and here is what you need to do:

First, use a sharp knife to cut off the top of the pomegranate, then, score the sides of the pomegranate when you are holding the fruit, you might notice that there are gentle spots in its ridges. Use your knife to make thin slits along the ridges. Start by cutting along the fruit’s white pith, and be careful not to slice any of the arils.

After you make cuts successfully, use your hands to peel the fruit open and gently divide it into segments.

Then, fill a large bowl with water.

Submerge the segments, and use your hands to remove the seeds from the skin and membranes. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, while the white membranes will float on the top. Skim off the white, spongy bits, and drain the seeds.

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