Pomegranate season is upon us, and fans of the world's oldest-known fruit are getting ready to enjoy these tart, tannic red globes. Whether you're already into antioxidant- and vitamin C-rich pomegranates or trying the jewel-like fruit for the first time, there's plenty you should know about buying, preparing, and enjoying pomegranates ahead.
When Is Pomegranate Season?
Depending on the harvest, pomegranate season typically runs from September through December. The majority of pomegranates are grown in California's San Joaquin Valley, where almost 40 million pounds of the fruit were shipped from in 2018.
How Do You Know If a Pomegranate Is Ripe?
When selecting pomegranates, look for a deep-colored fruit with a red to reddish-brown outer rind that is heavy for its size. The fruit, when stored in the refrigerator, will last three-to-four weeks unopened. But, once seeded, pomegranates should be enjoyed within two or three days; they can also be frozen in a sealed bag for up to a year.
What's the Best Way to Open a Pomegranate?
Pomegranates don't offer the most instant gratification of all fruits. The tough, leathery shell opens up to reveal clusters of seeds, or arils, that are plump with juice, but covered in inedible pith. Since they can be a mess to seed, the best way to open a pomegranate is to submerge it in water to avoid splattering juice. Conveniently, you can also buy just pomegranate arils - no extra work necessary!
How Should I Eat Pomegranates?
Aside from snacking on the satisfying seeds out of hand, you can also:
Add bites of tart, juicy crunch into a dip of mango guacamole. Enjoy eating the seeds in a butternut squash salad. Garnish soups with pomegranate seeds to counterbalance texture. Add a handful to your Fall smoothie. Pucker up to a seasonally appropriate pomegranate sangria.