Pomegranates are a seasonal fruit. They are also one of the healthiest fruits you can buy. Thus, you should never miss the chance of eating those ruby-red juicy seeds.
But how long do pomegranates last? Compared to many other fruits and vegetables, the shelf life of pomegranates is quite long. You can leave them at room temperature or store them in the fridge or the freezer depending on how long you need the fruit to last. Pomegranates keep well for 7 to 14 days at room temperature so long as you provide proper storage conditions. The fridge and the freezer extend the shelf life of pomegranates to up to 2 and over 6 months respectively.
In this article, you will learn not only the right way of storing whole pomegranates but also how to store pomegranate seeds and how to freeze them for later use.
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You can find the best and the juiciest pomegranates in autumn and winter. If you find some really good pomegranates at your local farmers market or supermarket, you can surely grab a few of them. If stored properly, pomegranates last long enough for you to have time to eat them while they are still at their best.
But before you learn how to store pomegranates, it is important to know how to select good ones in the first place.
These are the key rules for picking juicy and ripe pomegranates.
- When picking pomegranates, keep in mind that the heavier they are the better. This means that there is a lot of juice in the fruit which is exactly what we want with pomegranates.
Look for pomegranates with a bright color. The color of pomegranates ranges from pink to red and brown. The color itself doesn’t matter. What matters is the deepness of it. The deeper is the color of the pomegranate skin, the riper it is.
Make sure the pomegranates have a glossy rind. Who chooses dull fruits?
Look for the right shape. While most people will assure you that pomegranates are round, when it comes to ripe pomegranates, there is a catch. Perfectly round pomegranates aren’t typically the ripe ones. Fully ripened pomegranates develop as a slightly square shape as a result of the tension created in the fruit.
Make sure there are no soft spots on the pomegranate. The fruit should feel firm and have no mushy areas.
Avoid buying pomegranates with cracks. While the splits indicate that the fruit is ripe and the seeds are juicy, cracked pomegranates don’t last long.
You can store pomegranates both at room temperature and in the fridge. Which storage area you should give preference to depends on how long you need the fruit to last.
If you know you will be eating the pomegranates within the next couple of days, you can leave them at room temperature, somewhere cool and dry. Don’t leave pomegranates under direct sunlight or near heat sources.
Don’t leave pomegranates at room temperature expecting to get them ripe. Pomegranates are not like bananas or pineapples that ripen after being picked.
The best place to store pomegranates is in the fridge. There is no need to wrap the fruit tightly in a plastic paper. Put pomegranates in the fridge as is.
As it is best to store pomegranates in a dry area, avoid putting these fruits in the crisper drawer. The humidity level is higher in this drawer compared to the rest of the fridge. Humidity may be good for a number of fruits and vegetables but not for pomegranates.
Pomegranate seeds should be refrigerated at all times. Put the seeds in an airtight container making sure it is tightly sealed. Otherwise, the seeds will absorb other odors from the fridge.
Zip-top bags will also work well for refrigerating pomegranate seeds.
Pomegranate seeds freeze quite well. And it is quite a good idea to freeze the arils of pomegranates as stocking up on these vitamin-packed seeds for the entire year is certainly worth it.
Never try to freeze whole pomegranates. Dong this will result in poor-quality seeds texture-wise once you try to thaw and use the pomegranate.
To defrost pomegranate seeds, simply leave them at room temperature for a few minutes and they will quickly come back to life.
If you want to use the seeds to make a smoothie or to bake, there is no need to thaw them. The frozen arils will make your smoothie even better. And in the case of baking, they will quickly thaw in the oven.
The shelf life of pomegranates is quite long compared to some other fruits.
Pomegranates stored at room temperature will last 14 days if you provide proper storage conditions. The fridge, on the other hand, extends the shelf life of pomegranates to 1 to 2 months.
Refrigerated pomegranate seeds should be consumed within 7 days.
Pomegranates stored in the freezer will keep well for at least 6 months. The seeds will remain safe for consumption longer. But if you want to get the best flavor and texture, it is best to eat them sooner rather than later.
If you want the best out of your pomegranates, always try to eat them soon after buying them. Keeping these fruits for too long increases their chances of going bad.
If it is not obvious that the pomegranate is bad just by looking at it, it is best to cut it open to see what is really going on.
But there are two signs to make you lower your expectations before opening the fruit. First, if the pomegranate feels light, it is most likely either dried out or not juicy at all. And second, if there are mushy spots on the fruit, the chances are high that it is bad inside. In some cases, you can get away with cutting out the soft spots and eating the rest. The same goes for dark spots.
Once you cut the pomegranate open, it becomes much easier to detect whether it is still safe to eat or not.
If there is mold inside the pomegranate, you should certainly avoid eating it, even if you can easily remove the affected parts. Spores on the seeds are another indication of the fact that the fruit should be discarded.
If there are only a few brown arils that you can easily remove, the rest of the pomegranate seeds can still be enjoyed. But if the brown or black seeds prevail, discard the fruit.
As for pomegranate seeds that have been stored in the fridge in a container or plastic bag, the only thing you should know is that even if the above mentioned signs (mold, dark arils) are missing but the seeds smell or taste weird, discard them.