This beautiful red fruit usually has seeds that are sometimes referred to as arils inside them that contain sweet, juicy nectar. Most pomegranate fruits will have deep ruby red seeds or arils however, sometimes you will come across some that are pale pink or even white at times.
Like any other fruit, once you cut open a pomegranate, the time on its shelf life begins to tick away so it would be wise to know just how to preserve their freshness for longer.
This article will help you navigate on how to select the best pomegranates, how to deseed them, how to properly store the seeds and so much more.
Can you freeze pomegranate seeds? Without a doubt, you definitely can. In fact, freezing pomegranate seeds is the most recommended method to ensure they stay in mint condition for longer.
How to Freeze Pomegranate Seeds
The process of freezing pomegranate seeds is pretty straightforward.
What you will need for this process is a sharp knife to cut open the fruit with, a spoon to help in deseeding the pomegranate, a baking pan, plate or ice cube tray, some plastic wrap or lid to cover the seeds.
You also need resealable plastic bags or containers with lids and a marker that you will use to label the pomegranate seeds as you store them away.
All you need to do to freeze the pomegranate seeds are:
- Starting off with the selected best pomegranates and using a sharp knife, cut open the pomegranate fruit and deseed the seeds into a separate container or plate.
- Next, you want to take your ice cube tray from the refrigerator and fill each of the compartments with the seeds. In the alternative, you can choose to first let the seeds dry then lay them out on your baking pan.
- After filling the compartments of the ice cube tray or the baking pan, cover them with a lid and place them in the freezer for flash freezing.
- Once the pomegranate seeds have started to freeze, remove them from the ice cube tray or baking pan and transfer them into a resealable freezer friendly container and then return them into the refrigerator.
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Defrosting frozen pomegranate seeds
Unfortunately, frozen pomegranate seeds usually end up being just slightly less crunchy and juicy than their fresh counterparts.
The key to defrosting pomegranate seeds is to leave them in the refrigerator to soften up until when you need to use them in a recipe or for a dish.
Ideally, once thawed, pomegranate seeds should be continuously refrigerated and used up within three days of thawing.
How to choose the best pomegranate fruits
When you are in the market for pomegranates, there are a few pointers that we can give to ensure that you go home with the very best. Choose a pomegranate that has a deep, vibrant, and bright color. This is because a brighter color in some cases indicates superior quality.
Another thing is that when it comes to size, go for the larger pomegranates. This should not just be the case when you look at them but you should definitely lift the pomegranates and go for the heavier ones as they are likely to have more pulp in them.
Further to the feel of the pomegranates, go for the smooth and shiny ones as this suggests maximum freshness.
However, it should be noted that the lumpy pomegranates may be a sign that the seeds inside the fruit are developing well and are quite juicy. Scrapes and bruises on the fruit are also quite welcome.
How to deseed pomegranate seeds from the fruit
First, I would advise you to have on an apron when doing this, or an old t-shirt that you do not mind staining. It is for this reason that pomegranates are best deseeded while underwater. This process is really quite simple.
Using a sharp knife, cut open the pomegranate fruit into two halves or however many pieces you would like.
Place these pieces in the water and while they are submerged in the water, gently nudge the seeds out using your fingers or carefully with the knife.
Once out, the seeds tend to sink to the bottom of the water while the remaining mush stays afloat. You then proceed to collect the mush left floating at the top and strain the remaining pulp.
How to juice a pomegranate fruit
There are many things and recipes that need the use of pomegranate seeds. Our focus shall however be on attaining the juice from these sweet fruits. Once again, all you need is a sharp knife, a Ziplock bag, a rolling pin, a sieve, a glass, and of course a pomegranate or two.
Simply thoroughly clean the pomegranate fruit with clean running water and proceed to deseed it. The next thing to do is place the seeds acquired into the clean Ziplock bag of good quality and ensure that you have squeezed out as much air as you can from the bag.
After this, place the sealed Ziplock bag on your kitchen top counter or on any sturdy flat surface. Next thing is to take your rolling pin and either roll or smash the seeds using some force albeit gently.
Once you notice the juice has started to fill in the bag, keep going until you are satisfied that most if not all the juice is now in the bag.
Once you are satisfied that you have gotten all the juice out, place your sieve on top of the glass and proceed to strain the juice from the Ziplock bag into the glass. The final step, sit back, relax, and enjoy your well-deserved glass of fresh pomegranate juice.
How to store pomegranates
To narrow down on the storage of pomegranates, they are usually categorized into whether they are whole pomegranates or cut and seeded pomegranates.
For fresh whole pomegranates, the most ideal way to store them in order to keep them fresher for longer is to leave them at room temperature either in your pantry or on the kitchen counter for just a few days.
They should be kept in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place, out of direct sunlight. On the other hand, you can choose to have them stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag.
For cut and seeded pomegranates, the wisest way to store them is in a resealable container in the refrigerator or frozen. The case is different for store-bought pomegranate seeds.
Typically, they should carry an expiration date printed on the label which is in most cases an estimation by the manufacturer on the duration within which the seeds will have optimum value.
These in most cases can keep well unrefrigerated for five days at most.
What is the shelf life of pomegranate seeds?
How long pomegranate seeds last in essence and as a general rule, depends on how well they were prepared for storage and ultimately stored.
Properly stored pomegranates will last for up to three weeks in the refrigerator, while pomegranate seeds will only last for between five and seven days in the refrigerator.
However, it is worth noting that storage in the freezer keeps the pomegranates and pomegranate seeds fresh for a much longer time. When it comes to pomegranate seeds, they can last for between three and four months in the freezer.
The key to storing the pomegranates and pomegranate seeds is to ensure that they are stored in airtight, resealable containers.
This will ensure that the pomegranate seeds retain their ultimate quality and value. Also, hold off on washing the pomegranates until you actually have to use them.
How to tell if pomegranate seeds have gone bad
Instead of wasting your time deseeding a pomegranate only to find out that they are of no good, it would be wise to be able to point out when the pomegranates themselves are bad.
When you lift the pomegranate, it should not be light because ideally, it ought to be filled with juice and thus a bit heavy.
It should also not be squishy when you touch this. Any form of tenderness of the pomegranates usually indicates a sign of spoilage.
As for the pomegranate seeds, if you smell them or taste them and they just feel “off” then there is no need to go the step further and use them in a recipe or dish. This is also the case if their color has changed from the lovely bright red to more of brown.
Another key way to determine the freshness of the pomegranate seeds is if it appears soft and mushy. If this is the case, as much as it would suck, you just have to throw them out.
The responsible thing when you realize that the pomegranates or pomegranate seeds that you have with you have gone bad is to throw them out.
Risking to use them would open you up to suffering consequences ranging from mild stomach cramps to symptoms like dehydration brought about by excessive vomiting or diarrhea and if severe, can even lead to death.