Pomegranates are delicious fruits that many people across the world love. This fruit is used in many different recipes, from sweet to savory dishes. But pomegranates are not available throughout the year, which can put your cooking plans on hold. So, when are pomegranates in season?
- When Are Pomegranates In Season?
- How Do You Correctly Store Pomegranates?
- How To Test If A Pomegranate Is Ripe?
- How Long Do Ripe Pomegranates Last?
- Can You Eat Unripe Pomegranate?
- Can You Ripen Pomegranate At Home?
Unfortunately, pomegranates have a short season compared to most other fruits. They are in season between mid-September and late December, but there can sometimes be a late harvest in the first weeks of January, although you should try to avoid the late harvest fruits as they taste sourer.
Related: 18 Lovely Pomegranate Tree Varieties
When Are Pomegranates In Season?
Pomegranates have a pretty short season, which is sad for most pomegranate lovers out there. Pomegranates are generally ready for harvest from mid-September to late December, and sometimes you may get a late harvest from the early weeks of January.
However, you should try and avoid buying these late harvest pomegranates as they are usually sold when they are slightly under-ripe, which, even though they are still okay to eat, does affect the taste of the fruit.
How Do You Correctly Store Pomegranates?
There are three ways you can store your pomegranates. First, you can store your pomegranates are room temperature on your kitchen counter in a fruit bowl. However, you should only store the fruit like this if you are going to eat the fruit within the next few days as it will not stay fresh for long being stored this way.
The best way to store your pomegranates is by placing them in a plastic bag and then into the fruit drawer of your fridge. You can freeze the pomegranate if you want to have pomegranates out of season.
Ensure that the pomegranate is in an airtight container in the middle of your freezer to avoid freezer burn.
How To Test If A Pomegranate Is Ripe?
Whether you are buying your pomegranates from a store or growing your own, it can be challenging to determine when the fruit is ripe and ready to eat. This is because pomegranates are pretty different from other fruits in how they are composed and act.
There are methods you can use to help determine if your pomegranates are ripe or not. These methods will be looking at the color, texture, and weight of the pomegranate. So, let’s go through these in more detail.
1. The Color Hues Of The Pomegranate
We all know and love the bright crimson color that the pomegranates take on when ripe and juicy. Unfortunately, this color can sometimes be a saving grace to you when it comes to determining the ripeness of a pomegranate you brought from the store.
When you examine the pomegranates at the store, if a pomegranate is unripe, it will still show some green on its skin. If the pomegranate is fully ripe and ready to eat, it should be uniform in color.
However, you should not rely on the color of the pomegranate alone to determine its ripeness, but you should use this method with one of the other methods below.
2. Use The Texture Test
One of the methods that commercial and hobby pomegranate growers use to test if their pomegranates are ripe and ready, or if you need more time on the plant, is by the texture of the fruit’s skin. They often describe the texture of ripe pomegranate skins as leathery.
For your own pomegranates, you can use a texture test as you may not be as accustomed to the changes in textures of the pomegranates as those that work with the fruit every day.
To conduct this test, run a sharp object or your fingernail over the pomegranate’s skin. If your fingernail or the sharp object leaves a scratch on the fruit’s skin when little pressure is used, then your pomegranate is probably ripe.
3. Test The Weight Of The Pomegranate
One of the most dependable ways to test if a pomegranate is ripe or not is by the pomegranate’s weight. As the pomegranates begin to mature and ripen, they become heavier as the fruit and juice inside the pomegranate begin to develop.
So, if you are trying to determine if a pomegranate is ripe or not, you can cup the fruit in your hand and feel if the fruit has some weight to it or not. If the fruit feels hefty, then it is likely that the fruit is ripe.
This technique can be used when the pomegranate is still on the tree or when it’s sitting in your local grocery store.
How Long Do Ripe Pomegranates Last?
If pomegranates are harvested when they are ripe, they generally have quite a long shelf life. The length of their shelf life may shock you as it’s far longer than most other fresh fruits you can buy at your local store.
The length of time your pomegranate will last depends on how you store the pomegranate. If you store your pomegranates at room temperature, then they will only stay fresh and good to eat for between 5 and 10 days.
If you store your pomegranates in your refrigerator, then they can last for up to 3 weeks, and if you freeze your pomegranates, they can stay in your freezer for about a year, though you should try and use them early into this year timeframe.
Can You Eat Unripe Pomegranate?
There are occasions when you are in a rush while shopping, and you do not fully inspect the pomegranate you pick from the shelf, only to find out when you get home that the pomegranate is either not ripe at all or is only partially ripe.
So, now you have this unripe pomegranate sitting in your kitchen, and you have no idea what to do with it. Well, let’s see what your options are.
If the pomegranate is still fully green, it is not wise to eat it, and you should probably throw it away. Unripe pomegranates will have a higher acidity level and can be pretty sour, depending on how unripe it is.
So, you can eat an unripe pomegranate as it will not cause you any harm, but it is not recommended because the fruit is extremely sour when unripe.
Can You Ripen Pomegranate At Home?
So, it’s not recommended to eat a pomegranate that is not ripe, which can lead you to a different question – could you ripen this pomegranate at home, so you can eat it and not have to throw your pomegranate away?
Unfortunately, pomegranates are a non-climacteric fruit, which means that once a pomegranate has been picked from its stem, it will stay at the ripeness it was harvested at until it eventually expires.
So, you will not be able to ripen the pomegranate at home, which is why it’s best to take the time to examine the fruit before you purchase it to ensure it is ripe and ready to eat.