Picking and Choosing Ripe Pomegranates from Trees Stores and Fruit Stands
By: R. Renee Bembry
Knowing when a pomegranate is ripe can be a bit tricky if you have never picked one from a tree or bought one from a fruit stand before. Chances are you know what they are supposed to look like but just like buying bananas or watermelon selecting fruit that is hidden beneath non edible shells sometimes boggles the mind.
Loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and the antioxidant polyphenol—which happens to be one of the most powerful and effective antioxidants—pomegranates, unlike fruits that are picked prior to ripening in order to sustain their freshness while in transport to market, are actually picked when they are ripe. This means that when you go to the store or to a fruit stand to purchase a pomegranate; you actually do not need to worry about whether the fruit is ripe.
How to know when a pomegranate is ripe because you want to pick it from a tree, however, is a different ballgame altogether because you must pick the fruit before the shell hardens too much. Fruit left on trees too long become susceptible to splitting even from the force of raindrops.
At the same time, however, you do not want to pick pomegranates from trees before the edible seeds inside have actually ripened because then you may end up with fruit that is too tart and does not possess the tangy sweet flavor pomegranate lovers crave.
Therefore, when determining when pomegranates are ripe before picking them from trees, consider their coloring which anyone acquainted with the fruit knows should be bright red.
If the color looks red enough, listen to the fruit. This may sound a bit strange, but you have probably seen or heard of people tapping fruits and veggies at some point in your life. If you have not, well here you go. When you tap pomegranates, if they are ripe enough for picking, you hear a “metallic” or ringing sound coming from the fruit.
So… there, you have it. Despite the inability to squeeze pomegranates as you would bananas, oranges, peaches, or pears, you can tell if pomegranates are ripe in their own distinct way. You can use the tapping indicator in stores or at fruit stands just to make sure the ripeness theory holds true or to practice pomegranate testing in case you ever find yourself preparing to pick pomegranates from trees.
While anticipating pomegranate ripeness, do not let mars or discolorations mislead you. Size, outside coloring, and shininess are the major factors to consider when deciding if pomegranates are ripe. Mars and discolorations do not indicate the maturity or freshness of the fruit safely encased beneath the fruits’ strong protective shell.
Like apples, pomegranates have long storage lives. They stay fresh for months and months!