Pomegranates are a beautiful red fruit that is native to Iran, but they have made their way around the world because of their tangy-sweet taste, not to mention the fact that they are loaded with antioxidants. If you have never tasted a fresh pomegranate, you are in for a delicious treat.
If you have recently discovered them or want to know how you can extend the life of your pomegranates, you need to know how to store them properly. Depending on whether you have cut the fruit or not will determine the best method for storing them. Whole pomegranates can be kept on the counter, but once they are cut, they need to be stored in the refrigerator or the freezer.
Pomegranates may be a bit difficult to open, but they are well worth the work. Plus, there are some pretty cool kitchen gadgets to make opening a pomegranate a lot easier now (you’ve probably never seen one of these)! Grab yourself a bowl full of pomegranate seeds and keep reading for more information about how to store them, tell if they have gone bad, and mistakes to avoid when storing them.
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How to Store Pomegranates Properly
Pomegranates have many small bits inside called arils. They are essentials, the seeds with bits of fruit around them. If you have removed all the arils from the outer part of the pomegranate, you need to keep them in a cold place to keep them fresh.
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If you want to keep them in the fridge and plan to eat them pretty soon, you need to keep them in an airtight container. There are several really cool options that you can use, like reusable snack bags for something to grab quickly and run out the door or eco-friendly glass containers big enough for the arils of multiple pomegranates.
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Pomegranate arils can also be stored in the freezer if you want to keep them for longer periods of time. Frozen pomegranate arils can also be used in smoothies or as healthy ice cream toppings as well.
To freeze arils, you should completely separate them from the outer layer of the pomegranate. Then take a baking sheet that has been lined with baking paper to prevent the arils from sticking to the pan and lay the arils in a single layer on the baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the freezer until the arils are completely frozen. This should take about two hours.
Once your pomegranate arils are frozen, you can take them and put them in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. You may want to label the container or bag with the date so that you can more easily track how long they have been there for better freshness. You can also use vacuum seal bags to help lock in additional freshness.
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How Long Can You Store Pomegranates?
Thanks to their hard outer shell, whole pomegranates can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge for up to a month usually. If you have cut into a pomegranate, do not leave it on the counter because it will spoil quickly and likely attract unwanted pests like flies and ants.
You can also choose to keep whole pomegranates in the fridge if you prefer for them to be cold when served, but that does not necessarily help to extend their shelf life.
If you keep your pomegranate arils in the fridge in an airtight container, they should remain fresh for up to two weeks as long as the temperature stays constant.
For frozen pomegranate arils, if they are in a container or bag that helps to prevent freezer burn and they are stored at a constant temperature of at least 0 degrees Fahrenheit, they should remain fresh for up to a year.
It is important to note that even though frozen arils are still fresh to eat after they are thawed, they will likely be a little mushier and not have as crispy of a pop when you bit into them as freshly removed arils would have.
How to Tell if Pomegranates Have Gone Bad
There are several ways to tell if a pomegranate has gone bad. Since pomegranate is a fruit, it is susceptible to mold and will eventually show obvious signs of rot and decay.
If you pick up a fresh pomegranate and it feels very light, it is possible that it has gone bad, and this inside of the fruit has dried up and is no longer good to eat. Pomegranates should have a bit of weight to them if they are fresh and filled with juicy arils.
If you have a whole pomegranate that has not been cut open and there is mold on the outside, it does not mean that the fruit on the inside has spoiled.
Since the outside of the pomegranate is so thick and hard, it is possible the fruit inside is still good. Wash off the outside of the fruit with soap and warm water before cutting into it to see if the arils are still good.
If the arils appear to be black, moldy, or brown and mushy, they are probably not good to eat. But if only some of them have mold on them, you can try to wash off those that do not have mold and taste them. If they do not taste rotten due to the acidity level of pomegranates, they are probably still good to eat.
It is not a good idea to eat the moldy ones, but the others should be safe. If the fruit tastes rotten, do not eat it. If it has a funny or rotten smell, do not eat it. If the whole thing is moldy, do not eat it.
Mistakes to Avoid when Storing Pomegranates
Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
Storing Them in Crisper Drawer
Crisper drawers in the fridge are designed to hold more humidity, which can cause pomegranates to mold and spoil faster. Do not store them in the crisper drawer; opt for a middle shelf instead.
Leaving Them on the Counter
Once you have cut into a pomegranate, whatever you want to keep for later needs to be put in an airtight container in the fridge immediately to prolong its shelf life for as long as possible. Before you enjoy your snack, dump the arils you want to save in an airtight container and stick it in the fridge.