Do you know how to tell if a pomegranate is ripe?
It’s all about the color, shape, and even the weight! Once you know that, you’re all set.
Enjoying a pomegranate is no easy feat. But it’s just as hard to figure out if it’s good to eat when you buy one!
And with so many factors to consider, I understand how daunting it can be.
But today, I’m here to take some of the guesswork out of selecting a fully ripened fruit.
So keep reading, and you’ll soon know exactly how to tell if a pomegranate is ripe.
How to Tell If a Pomegranate Is Ripe
Finding a ripe pomegranate takes more than just picking the one with the prettiest color.
In fact, color is the least helpful factor in selecting a ripe fruit.
That said, it is kind of important, along with the following:
Let’s take a closer look so you know what to watch out for.
The only time color will help you find a ripe pomegranate is if you pick one straight from the tree.
When they get to the store, all pomegranates are similarly colored.
They can range from pinkish to dark red. However, the richer the red doesn’t mean the riper the fruit.
Some pomegranates never darken past their pinkish stage and can still be mature.
Still, if you are picking fresh pomegranates, avoid those with any green on them. They are definitely not ripe.
Now, let’s examine the truly important factors in selecting a ready-to-eat fruit.
Weight plays a significant role in determining a pomegranate’s ripeness.
So if you pick up a pomegranate that feels heavy in your hand, it’s likely ripe.
Unfortunately, this isn’t accurate 100% of the time. However, it is true often enough that weight is a good determinant of ripeness.
Fruits that feel light or hollow are probably still underdeveloped. And a seriously hollow-feeling fruit may have passed ripe and gone bad – drying up inside.
So be sure to look for pomegranates with a bit of heft to them.
Additionally, you can tap on the pomegranate and listen for the sound. Unlike bread, it should sound solid and dense when you tap it.
If it sounds hollow, it’s no good.
A pomegranate’s shape is another indicator of how ripe it is:
- Unripe pomegranates are round.
- Ripe pomegranates are flatter around the blossom and stem areas.
That flattening gives them a more angular shape overall, so they no longer look truly round like an apple or orange.
However, it can be tricky to notice until you’ve seen a few ripe and unripe pomegranates side-by-side. Once you do see it, though, it’s impossible to miss.
As noted, color isn’t a great way to know if pomegranates are ripe. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look at the skin.
As pomegranates ripen, their skin gets less shiny and more rugged. It may even crack or split in some places and look wrinkly in others.
In many fruits, skin that looks like that would mean the fruit is going or has gone bad.
That’s not the case with pomegranates. When ripe, pomegranates should look a little rough on the skin.
The skin’s texture will also change as the fruit ripens.
That means you should be able to scratch a ripe pomegranate with your fingernail and make a visible mark.
Doing this doesn’t take much force, either. Gently scratch the skin with the sharp side of your nail.
(Don’t press down, though. Any fruit will scratch if you press hard enough, right?)
If a gentle scratch leaves a mark, your pomegranate is likely ready to eat.
Do Pomegranates Ripen After Picking?
Pomegranates do not ripen after picking, which is why they are harvested on strict timelines and schedules. Most farmers keep a close eye on the trees, testing them for acidity and juice color to determine when they’re ready to eat.
So if you purchase an unripe fruit, you won’t be able to eat it.
No amount of sitting around on the counter or in a paper bag will help. The fruit will remain unripe until you trash it.
It’s important to note that the arils will get sweeter over time, though. Just don’t wait too long, or they’ll turn rotten.
How to Store a Pomegranate
Storing pomegranates is simple: if you haven’t cut the fruit, just place it somewhere cool and dry.
You can also pop it in the refrigerator for a slightly longer storage option.
Once you’ve cut the fruit, you’ll only need to store the seeds.
Place them in a Ziploc bag, and remove as much air as possible. Then, place the bag of arils in the fridge.
They should remain fresh for up to 5 days.
How to Use a Pomegranate
Besides eating the arils raw, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy pomegranate.
You can add them to salads, sandwiches, or drinks and cocktails.
Or they add terrific color to bruschetta and other appetizers. You can even turn them into pomegranate juice or sorbet!
Finally, you can use them in a ton of different recipes, including:
- Pomegranate muffins
- Brussels sprouts
- Orange pomegranate cheesecake
- Fesenjan stew
- Chickpea pomegranate salad
- Tomato and pomegranate salad
- Persian jeweled rice
- Pomegranate pancakes
- Roasted carrots
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