Can you eat an overripe pomegranate?
In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Can you eat an overripe pomegranate?” and tell you how long pomegranates last. We will also discuss how to properly store pomegranates to make them last longer and tell you how to tell if a pomegranate has gone bad.
Can you eat an overripe pomegranate?
Yes, you can eat an overripe pomegranate. There is no harm in that but you should always distinguish an overripe pomegranate from a spoiled or rotten one.
The seeds may turn brown from ruby red when overripe and may be a little more softer than usual so might not be enjoyable on their own (1). You can use this type of pomegranate to make desserts or jams etc.
Alternatively, if only a few seeds are brown and mushy and the rest are fine, then you can discard the brown ones and eat the red ones.
What can you do with an overripe pomegranate?
There are a lot of things that you can do with an overripe pomegranate as its texture may not be appealing or enjoyable to eat on its own.
You should make sure that the pomegranate is not spoiled or rotten before having it.
You can make jams, desserts or a toast with it. You can also use the seeds as a topping for your pudding, pie or yogurt. You can also make smoothies with it or juice the seeds and enjoy that (9).
How long do pomegranates last?
The shelf life of pomegranates depends on how you store them. Pomegranates stored at room temperature on the countertop or in your pantry will last for about a week or two (1).
If you want to extend their shelf life then you should store them in the fridge. When stored properly in the fridge, they can last for about one to two months (2).
If you have taken out the seeds already, then you should not leave them out on the countertop for more than 2 hours as they can get spoiled and contaminated with bacteria.
Instead, you should put them in an airtight container or a ziplock bag and then store them in the fridge. Doing this will make them last for about a week (2,3).
How to store pomegranates?
Pomegranates can be stored at room temperature on the countertop or in your pantry away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight (1).
It is ideal to store them inside the fridge at 5 ºC and relative humidity above 92% in order to extend their shelf life. You can place them inside an airtight container and then place them in the fridge (2).
Seeds, when removed, should also be stored in an airtight container or a ziplock bag inside the fridge. You can also store them inside the freezer for them to last even longer (4).
How to tell if pomegranate has gone bad?
Here’s how you can tell if a pomegranate has gone bad (1,5).
- Look for any discolorations and bruises. Small, tiny spots are ok and can be ignored but if you see large brown/black spots or bruises then the pomegranate has gone bad.
- You should also look for any soft or sunken spots on it.
- If the seeds feel overly mushy or have a brown/black color then it means that they have gone bad.
- You should also for any mold growth on the pomegranate. If you see any mold, immediately throw out that pomegranate as eating it could make you sick.
- You should also give it a sniff test to see if it smells fresh. Rotten or spoiled pomegranate will smell really bad or rotten.
- If all else looks fine, you can taste it just a little bit and see if it tastes fine. Spoiled pomegranate will have a bitter or bad taste.
What happens if you eat spoiled pomegranate?
Consuming spoiled pomegranate may lead to harmful consequences to human health. If it appears that the pomegranate has gone bad, you should thoroughly inspect it before eating it since eating spoiled or rotten fruit can cause food poisoning (6).
Food poisoning signs and symptoms include (7):
- stomach cramps
Molds can also lead to harmful consequences producing mycotoxins which can cause allergic reactions or even cancer. Common pathogens of pomegranate fruit include Botrytis cinerea, Penicillium implicatum and Aspergillus niger (8).
When in doubt, trust your instinct and discard the pomegranates because it’s always better to be safe than having bad symptoms after eating spoiled fruit.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “Can you eat an overripe pomegranate?” and told you how long pomegranates last. We also discussed how to properly store pomegranates to make them last longer and told you how to tell if a pomegranate has gone bad. References
1. The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Stocks. Agricultural Research Service Agriculture, Handbook Number 66, 2016, 501.
2. Fawole, O, A., Opara, U.L. Effects of storage temperature and duration on physiological responses of pomegranate fruit. Industrial Crops and Products, 2013, 47, 300-309.
3. What is the “2 Hour Rule” with leaving food out?. USDA, 2023.
4. Gil, M.I., et al. Minimally Processed Pomegranate Seeds. LWT – Food Science and Technology, 1996, 29, 708-713.
5. Nouri, B., Mohtasebi, S.S., Rafiee, S. Quality detection of pomegranate fruit infected with fungal disease. International Journal of Food Properties, 2020, 23:1, 9-21.
6. Collignon S, Korsten L. Attachment and colonization by Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium, and Staphylococcus aureus on stone fruit surfaces and Survival through a simulated commercial export chain. J Food Prot. 2010, 73(7):1247-56.
7. What You Need to Know about Foodborne Illnesses. FDA, 2022.
8. Munhuweyi, K. Major diseases of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.), their causes and management-A review. Scientia Horticulturae, 2016, 211, 126-139.
9. Kandylis, P., Kokkinomagoulos, E. Food Applications and Potential Health Benefits of Pomegranate and its Derivatives. Foods, 2020, 9(2):122.