Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants, a fantastic source of Vitamin C and have been known to help prevent serious illnesses. So if you want to know if a pomegranate is ripe and ready to eat, these simple steps will give you a checklist to always get the best-tasting fruit packed with goodness.
You can tell if a pomegranate is ripe by looking for a more angular shape, a skin that is taut and starting to show signs of cracking, and a fruit that feels heavy. Unfortunately, a pomegranate’s color doesn’t tend to change when ripe.
Please note that this article may contain affiliate links. That means that if you buy something, I may earn a small commission. You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
How To Tell if a Pomegranate Is Ripe in Three Easy Steps:
There are three main things you should look for if you want to know if your pomegranate is ripe.
Check the Shape
A pomegranate will slightly change shape as it starts to ripen. First, they tend to start round, and then as they get ready to pick and eat, they will become slightly more angular and flatter on both the stem and the blossom.
The change is subtle – they don’t suddenly become a cube – but you should be able to see the difference between a more spherical one and one that looks to have flatter edges and bulges.
Check the Skin
As the pomegranate starts to ripen, the skin will begin to change too. First, the skin will start smooth. Then, as it ripens, the skin will begin to take on more of a rough, taut texture as it dries and even start to split. This is a good sign: don’t be put off by pomegranates with split skin.
Check the Weight
Pomegranates will feel heavy when they’re ripe because they’ve produced the most juice. There’s no way to definitively say, “if it weighs X, then it is ripe” because they vary in shape and size. But if the pomegranate feels quite hefty in your hand, it’s likely to be ready to eat.
Some people also suggest tapping your pomegranate and listening to the sound – it’s believed to sound more metallic when it’s ripe.
Unlike many other fruits, color doesn’t really matter when judging a pomegranate’s ripeness. The fruit will vary from pink to dark red and will not change too much to indicate that it has ripened. So, you’ll need to use these other steps.
The fruit will vary from pink to dark red, and won’t really change too much to indicate that it has ripened. So, you’ll need to use these other steps.
Check out this video on how to tell if a pomegranate is ripe:
Should Pomegranates Be Soft or Hard?
Pomegranates are generally a firm fruit – they should feel hard in your hands as they grow, with a little more give when they’re ripe, but still quite robust. They’re packed with seeds and full of juice when ripened, which gives them a pretty tough feel, although you should be able to squeeze them slightly. If your pomegranate has gone soft in places to the point that it is almost mushy, it has gone bad, and you should throw it in the trash to be safe.
Do Pomegranates Ripen on the Counter?
While many fruits will ripen further when left on the counter, a pomegranate will not. A pomegranate will only ripen while attached to the tree and should only be harvested when ready to eat. If pomegranate is harvested too early, or if you’ve bought one from a store that needs to be ripe, you should throw it away. It won’t get any better.
Related Pomegranate Reading:
- 5 Benefits of Pomegranate White Tea
- Pomegranates Stops Prostate Cancer Cells
- Pomegranates in Beauty Products
What Month Do You Pick Pomegranates?
Pomegranates are ready to pick in September or October each year. Once a pomegranate tree has been planted, it takes 3-4 years to bear fruit, and they usually flower early in the year. However, the fruit only ripens 6-7 months after the tree has flowered, hence the late-summer or autumn harvesting season. Pomegranate trees prefer a semi-arid climate and can cope with drought, thriving in areas with cool winters and hot summers.Pomegranates tend to be ready to pick in September or October each year.
How Do You Tell if a Pomegranate Is Bad From the Outside?
There are three main signs to look for outside of a bad pomegranate. When asking what a rotten pomegranate looks like, the first thing to check is the color.
While ripe pomegranates can vary from pink to deep red, a rotten pomegranate will have started to turn brown. As soon as the color changes to brown on the outside, it’s time to get rid of the fruit, as it won’t taste good, nor will it be good for you.
The second thing to check is whether the pomegranate feels soft. A pomegranate should be firm – there’ll be a slight amount of give if you squeeze a ripe one, but it won’t feel spongy. If it does or has particularly soft patches, you need to throw it out.
Finally, the pomegranate skin started to splinter a little, but the fruit should be firm and solid. Bad pomegranates are more brittle, as they’ve dried out and the juice is gone. If it feels lightweight and easy to damage, then that’s a bad pomegranate, and you’ll need to dispose of it.
Should Whole Pomegranates Be Refrigerated?
If you intend to eat your pomegranate within a couple of days, then there is no need to store it in a refrigerator. They’re similar to apples in that if they’re kept out of direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place, they should be fine to eat for up to a week or so.
If you want to keep your pomegranate for longer, then the fridge is the best place. You can store a whole pomegranate for up to two months if refrigerated at the proper temperature. First, however, keep checking it using all of the steps above. Whole pomegranates can also be frozen and are best used within a year.
If you’ve cut your pomegranate, the seeds will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days.
So, if you’re trying to decide whether your pomegranate is ripe to eat, remember to look at the shape, the skin, and the weight in your hand.
If it’s round, smooth, and feels light, wait a bit longer, but if it’s started to get angular, the skin is cracking, and it feels heavy, it’s time to tuck in.
Do you have any other tips on how to check a pomegranate is ripe or on how to make the best use of a pomegranate? Leave a comment below.