Don't let the bland exterior of a pomegranate fool you – there is an exciting interior inside the fruit that features a white flesh, along with a cluster of ruby red arils that are often referred to as the jewels. This exotic fruit can be eaten with meats, tossed in salads, made into a juice or enjoyed on its own as a tasty and nutritious snack. You can drink pomegranate juice, which comes loaded with lots of health benefits; pomegranates contain more than 100 phytochemicals that help lower blood pressure and provide anti-inflammatory effects.
To enjoy this exotic fruit at its best, learn how to tell when a pomegranate goes bad. Store it properly to keep it fresher longer and save yourself the disappointment of opening up a pomegranate only to discover that it's gone bad.
Pomegranate arils are the seeds of the pomegranate fruit, but only the juicy, ruby red fresh surrounding the seed is edible. Extracting the arils can actually be a pretty difficult process if not done right, and can result in pomegranate juice leaking from the arils. This is why Pom Poms is a popular brand since they sell ready-to-drink pomegranate juice and pomegranate arils that are already extracted for your convenience.
If you've never eaten pomegranate arils before, you might be wondering, "What do pomegranate arils taste like?" The answer to this question is they are tart and even a little bit sour, depending on the level of ripeness. Their taste has been compared to that of ripe cherries.
Pomegranates in the Fridge
The best place to store your pomegranates is in the fridge. If you haven’t cracked open the fruit yet, wrap it in a plastic bag or in plastic wrap to create an environment of ultimate freshness. When doing so, pomegranates will last three weeks in the fridge, while pomegranate arils only last for five to seven days.
This is in comparison to the three to four months that pomegranate arils can last in the freezer. In all cases, ensure that the pomegranate arils are stored properly in airtight containers.
Pomegranate juice can also be stored in the fridge. Once opened and exposed to air, pomegranate juice will last seven to 10 days and eight to 12 months when frozen.
How to Tell When a Pomegranate Goes Bad
Before you waste time removing the arils from a pomegranate, it helps to know these signs of whether or not the fruit has gone bad:
- It feels light: Since ripe pomegranates are full of juice, the fruit should feel heavy when you hold it in your hands. The outside should be firm, not soft to the touch. If it’s soft or feels light, toss it.
- It has an off-taste and odor: If pomegranates have fermented for too long, there may be an alcohol-like smell and taste. While there hasn't been a lot of research done on why this is, trust your gut and toss if necessary. Overall, though, the best way to know if a pomegranate has gone bad is if there is a rotten smell or taste.
- The inside of a pomegranate is brown: If you notice browning inside of the pomegranate, it has gone bad. You may also find that the arils are mushy – a far cry from how juicy and plump they are when ripe. When this happens, it's not worth taking the chance to eat it; toss instead.
Sarah is a multi-platform writer and editor. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Vital Proteins, Healthline, Diply, and more. When she's not writing, she's trying to keep up with her border collie, Emmy.