Pomegranates are revered worldwide for their refreshing and delicious flavor, which is somehow both perfectly sweet and perfectly tart at the same time.
And what’s more, pomegranates are classified as a superfruit, which means they are packed with vitamins and nutrients that are infinitely beneficial for humans.
These beautiful fruits, which are most commonly available between October and January, are also renowned for how well they keep, which in some cases can be for up to two months.
In this article, we’ll look at how to store pomegranate seeds, whole pomegranates, and preserved pomegranates to keep them tasting fresh and lovely for as long as possible.
A Little More About Pomegranates
Pomegranates are the fruit of the pomegranate plant (Punica granatum), a deciduous shrub native to the Middle East.
Usually pink or red in color, they have a hard outer rind protecting a multitude of membrane-covered seeds, which form the edible part of the fruit.
A single pomegranate can contain anywhere from 400 to 1000 seeds, which are sweet-tart and juicy.
Botanically, pomegranates are classified as berries. Their seeds, known as arils, are either eaten fresh or used in various culinary dishes, drinks, and preserves.
Pomegranates do not continue to ripen once they have been harvested, and therefore should not be picked before they’re ready. If you’re not sure how to go about selecting a pomegranate, you may find this article helpful.
How to Store Whole Pomegranates
If you’ve found yourself in possession of some fresh, whole, ripe pomegranates, you may be wondering how to store them.
Fortunately, these fruits are easy to preserve, and you can keep them for a surprisingly long time before they start to perish.
Whole ripe pomegranates can be kept in one of two ways.
At room temperature, you can store your pomegranates by spreading them out on a counter or shelf, or hanging them on strings, away from direct sunlight. Exposure to sunlight will spoil your pomegranates faster.
Wherever you choose to keep them, whether in your kitchen or pantry, make sure they are in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated spot.
Alternatively, you can store them in the fridge, which will also keep them fresher for longer.
Avoid the crisper drawer, as this is a more humid spot and will cause them to deteriorate faster.
Furthermore, avoid wrapping them in anything. The hard outer skin of the fruit is more than sufficient to protect the pomegranate arils inside.
At room temperature, the shelf life of pomegranate is about one to two weeks, whereas, in the fridge, they can last for up to two months.
How To Store Pomegranate Seeds
The real treasure of the pomegranate is its juice-filled arils, and if you’ve ended up with pomegranate in bulk, you’re going to want to preserve these for as long as possible.
Wasting fresh seeds would be an absolute pity.
Luckily, you can keep them for up to five days in the fridge.
Of course, before you can store the seeds, you’ll need to remove them from the fruit, which can be a messy business, so use an apron. Their vibrant color stains fabric easily, which is why pomegranate enthusiasts advise submerging them in cold water to avoid splatter while deseeding.
Alternatively, you can score the pomegranate into quarters and carefully remove the seeds from the membranous walls lining the inside of the rind.
To retain your arils’ flavor in storage, it is advisable to keep them in an airtight container. This will also prevent any fridge smells from attaching to the fruit. Your seeds will stay fresh in the container and will sweeten over time. However, if you notice that they have started to deteriorate, rather dispose of them.
Bad or bruised pomegranate seeds will take on a brownish color and an unpleasant odor, usually indicating they’ve reached their expiration date.
How to Freeze Pomegranates
If for some reason, you have excess leftover pomegranate seeds, you’ll be pleased to hear that you can freeze this delectable fruit too. Properly stored, frozen seeds can retain their fresh quality for two to three months.
To freeze pomegranate arils, start by spreading them out on a cookie sheet. Place them in the freezer for an hour or two to flash freeze them.
Then, remove them from the baking sheet and transfer the frozen arils into an airtight storage container or a zip-lock freezer bag.
Frozen pomegranate seeds can be used straight from their freezer containers in smoothies or as a garnish in fruit cups and salads.
What To Do With Unripe Pomegranates
Sometimes, luck is not on our side, and we may pick up a pomegranate that is not completely ripe.
Never fear. There is still plenty you can do with unripe pomegranates. They may have more of a tart flavor, but they’re still lovely in salads, baked goods, as a garnish, or used in smoothies.
In fact, one of the best ways to use unripe pomegranates is to juice them or turn them into jam or jelly.
The important thing to know about unripe pomegranates is that they will taste slightly different than when they are fully ripe.
For this reason, it’s not wise to eat them on their own. But, unless they are completely green, they’ll complement other, sweeter fruit quite nicely.
Other Ways to Preserve Pomegranates
With their deep flavor and vibrant color, it’s no surprise that pomegranate is a hit in the culinary sphere. If you have pomegranate in bulk, and you know you won’t be able to consume it all, you have plenty of options in terms of storing it in a preserved form.
Pomegranate juice, for example, can also be extracted from the juice sacs of this fruit and frozen for later use. Adding lemon juice will keep it fresher for longer.
If you mix this juice with sugar, you can create grenadine syrup, which can be used in any number of drinks or baked goods.
Pomegranate jelly and pomegranate jam are easy to make and can be canned and stored for months at a time.
How To Tell If a Pomegranate Has Gone Bad
As much as we try to avoid it, from time to time, our fruits go bad before we have a chance to use them. To tell if pomegranate has gone off, look for signs of bruised skin, discoloration, or a reduction in weight (dried out fruits).
In terms of pomegranate seeds, expiration indicators include mold, black spores, or brownish coloring.
If any of these signs are present, you can try to save what you can of the fruits, but it’s usually better to err on the side of caution and discard or compost them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long do pomegranates last?
A: In their protective skin, pomegranates can last for up to two weeks at room temperature and up to two months in the fridge. Pomegranate seeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator should be used within five days, and frozen pomegranate seeds should be used within three months.
Q: How can I extend the shelf life of pomegranates?
A: While it’s perfectly fine to keep pomegranates at room temperature, the best way to extend their lifespan is to keep them in the fridge. Alternatively, you can extract your arils and freeze them to use when you need them.
Q: How do I tell if a pomegranate is ripe?
A: Various indicators can be used to tell if a pomegranate is ripe. Ripe pomegranates are weighty, as they are full of juice, a deep crimson or pink in color, and they have a firm outer shell. Read this post to find out exactly how to tell if a pomegranate is ripe.
Undoubtedly, one of the greatest benefits of pomegranate is the fact that they are among the longer-lasting fruits. Fans of pomegranate will tell you that this delicious fruit is a must-have in smoothies, salads, and baked goods, making it an ideal freezer or pantry item.
A bunch of pomegranates carefully looked after can bring you joy and tastiness for weeks from the date of purchase, as long as you know how to store pomegranatescorrectly.
How do you store your pomegranates, or what are your experiences in this regard? Leave us a comment below.
You can also find out more about these beauties by reading some of our other pomegranate articles.