1. Food
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

All About Pomegranates

Buying, Storing, and Cooking With Pomegranates

By

Pomegranates have a short but utterly and completely delightful season. The seeds are sweet, tart, and fun to eat out of hand, plus they're a great addition to salads and other dishes. Get tips on buying, storing, and using pomegranates below.

Pomegranate Season

Photo © Molly Watson

Pomegranate trees need plenty of heat to grow and ripen fruit. Most pomegranates grown in the United States come from California and are in season from the end of September through November. Luckily, they store well and are often available through December and even into January some years.

Live someplace hot? See how to Grow Your Own Pomegranates.

Buying Pomegranates

Pomegranates
Photo © Molly Watson

Look for plump, rounded pomegranates (they dry out as they're stored, and older specimens will have started to shrink a bit) that feel heavy for their size and are free of cuts, slashes, or bruises. While you don't want cuts or soft spots, pomegranates that have naturally occurring splits are fine!

Pomegranates do not ripen after they're picked, and yet bruise relatively easily when ripe. This means a lot of commercial pomegranates are picked a bit under-ripe. You are much more likely to find truly ripe, fresh pomegranates at farmers markets, co-ops that get deliveries directly from farmers, and farm stands.

Storing Pomegranates

Pomegranate Seeds
Photo © Molly Watson

Pomegranates store beautifully. Keep them on a countertop for up to a week or two or wrapped loosely in plastic and refrigerated for a few weeks or more. You can easily dry pomegranates to use as decoration by simply leaving them in a well-aerated, cool, dry spot for a few weeks.

The seeds (really arils - flesh-covered seeds) can be kept in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week, and frozen up to a year. Note: defrosted arils are a bit mushy so they work in cooked recipes, but aren't great to eat out-of-hand.

Preparing Pomegranates

Pulling a Pomegranate Apart
Photo © Molly Watson

The edible part of a pomegranate is its arils (flesh-covered seeds). Separating the 800 arils that average in each pomegranate from the peel and internal white membrane is a bit of a task, but not a complicated one:

Each pomegranate yields about 3/4 cup of arils or 1/2 juice.

Pomegranate Nutrition

"Open" Pomegranate Sections
Photo © Molly Watson
Pomegranates have come into dietary favor recently for their high antioxidant levels. They are also full of vitamin C and potassium. See more at Pomegranate Nutrition Information.

Cooking With Pomegranates

Pomegranate Bruschetta
Photo © Molly Watson

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.