Pomegranate Ripening And Storage Guide

As a Certified Health Coach many people ask me about pomegranate ripeness and storage. Therefore, when picking one at the market you’ll need to know, will pomegranate ripen after picking?

Pomegranate fruit does not ripen after picking because a non-climacteric fruit. Non-climacteric fruits cannot ripen after its picked. A pomegranate must remain on the plant until the opportune moment of ripeness for the best results.

Now that you know how pomegranates ripen1, we’ll look at a couple of essential things. I’ll inform you what makes an excellent ripe pomegranate so you can choose the right one at the grocery. We’ll also look at how to increase the shelf life with the best storage techniques. Are you ready to maximize your pomegranate experience? Let’s dive in.

a whole ripe pomegranate.
A ripe pomegranate

The Perfect Ripeness For A Pomegranate

Knowing which pomegranates to choose from at the grocery is a critical choice for making the best use of your money. Due to the high cost of pomegranates, combined with the fact they won’t ripen once picked, the best pomegranate choice is critical.

Pomegranates are perfectly ripe when the color has reached a deep dark red. The outer skin becomes soft and can scratch easily under gentle pressure. 

In addition, the shape of the fruit tells you the amount of ripeness. The pomegranate will almost appear to have a boxed-like shape, rather than smooth-rounded like an apple. It’s due to the seed ripening process and how the seeds push against the fruit’s sidewalls.

Pomegranates not yet ripe will be lighter in color, have a more smooth round shape and the skin will be challenging to scratch with gentle pressure ((Pomegranates: FAQ)). It’s the scratch test that gives away the ripeness.

Increasing The Shelf Life Of A Pomegranate

Pomegranates are such an incredible superfood and quite expensive to purchase. Therefore, it’s essential to maximize your stored pomegranate fruit’s shelf life.

There are several ways one can maximize the shelf life of a stored pomegranate. Here are some great storage tips for the longevity of the fruit in storage.

  • Don’t cut the fruit until the last possible moment before consumption.  
  • For uncut pomegranates, store them in a dark, cold and dry location. Typically, this will give the fruit several weeks.  
  • Storing your whole pomegranates in the refrigerator will allow them to last for up to a month.
  • You can also freeze pomegranate seeds. They will last for several months being frozen. 
a bunch of ripe pomegranates.
A bunch of ripe pomegranates

How To Freeze Pomegranate Arils

To freeze the fruit, line a baking sheet with wax paper and spread out the seeds (arils) in a single layer. Place the sheet in the freezer for a few hours until the arils are frozen. 

Once frozen, transfer the arils into a freezer bag. The bag of frozen pomegranate arils can last for up to a year while frozen in your freezer ((Utah State University: Preserving The Harvest: Pomegranates)).

Make sure to remove as much air as possible and follow this method for freezing them on a tray first. It will allow the arils to be frozen separately and not mashed together into one solid frozen clump.

Storing Cut Pomegranate

Let’s say you cut open a pomegranate but you only wanted to eat half. It’s often the case with pomegranate fruit as the fruit is rather expensive. Therefore, what’s the best way to store cut pomegranate?

The arils removed from the fruit you don’t want to freeze can be stored in a sealed container. Place it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.  

Once the pomegranate has been cut open, the following is the best storage method. The method includes taking the arils out of the remaining skin and storing them in a sealed container in the fridge.

However, if long-term storage is preferred, then freezing them by the method mentioned above is the best option.

Refrigerating Pomegranates

Being such an incredible superfood that costs much more than other fruit, it’s essential knowing how to store it. So, do pomegranates have to be refrigerated?

Pomegranates have to be refrigerated once they are cut open. As soon as you the skin is cut, the arils are exposed to the outside air. This accelerates the fruit’s breakdown process. 

Therefore, storing the cut pomegranates and removing the arils in the refrigerator or freezer are critical for pomegranate storage success.

Fresh Pomegranate Juice In The Fridge

Pomegranate is known as a superfood, and therefore, the juice is widespread and often sought out. So the question often arises as to how long fresh pomegranate juice will last in the fridge. Let’s take a look.

Fresh pomegranate juice that doesn’t contain any additives will have a shelf life of about 7 to 10 days. 

The store bought pomegranate juice I buy made by the company POM, claims their juice is good for two weeks after it’s opened. If the long-term storage of fresh pomegranate juice required, is freezing the only other option?

Pomegranate juice can indeed be frozen and makes fantastic popsicles as well as flavored juice ice cubes. Why not try freezing some pomegranate juice in some ice cube trays and try it for yourself? In addition, it works very well with orange juice.

For more detailed information on pomegranate juice storage, I wrote a whole blog post on the topic which you can check out right here, A Guide To Pomegranate Juice Storage And Shelf Life.

What if you have the seeds but no refrigeration like on a camping trip? Let’s take a look at that scenario as well.

Pomegranate Seeds

If you’re anything like me, you probably cut open a pomegranate about halfway through and decide to save the rest for later. There’s nothing wrong with doing this, but sometimes it means the second half goes bad if you don’t put it in the fridge. But how long do pomegranate seeds last unrefrigerated?

Pomegranate seeds removed from the fruit will only last at room temperature for about a day. If placed into a sealed container in the refrigerator, the pomegranate’s arils can last for up to 5 to 6 days.

Remember temperature will play a big role in how long they last. Speaking of temperature, what about juice? Let’s see if the same rules apply to juice, as does the fruit itself.

pomegranates cut in half on the counter.
Cut pomegranates

Unrefrigerated Pomegranate Juice

Have you ever wondered why you can buy some juices in a sealed carton outside of the fridge section? Or wondered why they have to go to the fridge after opening? Well, pomegranate is no exception to this phenomenon.

Pomegranate juice goes bad if left unrefrigerated. It is why the best practice for not only pomegranate juice but juice, in general, is to keep it refrigerated after opening. 

Many types of pomegranate juice for sale at your local supermarket is only found in the store’s cooler section. There aren’t too many pomegranate juice forms sold as a fresh product and never frozen.

Suppose pomegranate juice is purchased as an unrefrigerated product from the store. In this instance, the juice’s shelf life will likely be somewhere in the vicinity of 12 months.

However, as soon as pomegranate juice is exposed to the outside air, it should be kept in a refrigerator and consumed in about seven days.

The Shelf Life Of Pomegranate Juice

There are three conditions to consider when asking about the shelf life of pomegranate juice. These conditions and their respective shelf life considerations comprise the following:

  • As was just discussed above, pomegranate juice sold unrefrigerated in a sealed carton or container will likely have a shelf life of approximately 12 to 18 months. Always check the expiration label for the manufacturer’s recommendations. 
  • One may typically find fresh pomegranate juice at the supermarket in the refrigerated section of the store. The shelf life of this sort of pomegranate juice is typically 7 to 10 days after opening. 
  • Typically, the juice can last in a refrigerator before opening for up to one month.
  • For refrigerated bottled pomegranate juice sold by a company like POM, says the juice is good for two weeks after opening. Unopened, you have to go by the expiration date.

Freezing The Whole Pomegranate

If you love pomegranates and eat them regularly, you’ll want to know if you can freeze them. As mentioned earlier, freezing the arils after removing them from the fruit is an excellent choice for a long-term storage solution for pomegranate.

One of the best ways to store pomegranate is by freezing the entire fruit. Place the whole fruit in the freezer without cutting it.

Frozen whole pomegranates will be slightly different to cut into than one never frozen. For best results, a frozen pomegranate should be allowed to thaw in the refrigerator.

Keep in mind that a previously frozen pomegranate will be much softer than one which was never frozen. The arils will become juicier. 

One should note the seeds will be softer and not have the typical crunch a fresh non-frozen pomegranate seed will have.

If you have any questions to ask me about this article don’t hesitate to comment below or email us. You can find an email on our contact page.

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  1. Michigan State University: All fruit and vegetables are not created equal when it comes to proper storage conditions []

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