Do pomegranates need to be refrigerated?
In this brief guide, we will address the query, “do pomegranates need to be refrigerated?”. We will also discuss how long pomegranates last, how to store them and how you can tell when pomegranates have gone bad.
Do pomegranates need to be refrigerated?
No, pomegranates do not need to be refrigerated. If you will consume these fruits within the next following days, you can leave them on the counter without any problem! But, if you want to preserve pomegranates for a longer period, refrigeration is the way to go! (1).
Your pomegranates need to be stored according to certain recommendations, it needs to be a cool, dry, and away from sunlight place (2).
So, you can use the fridge to store them, as most of these features are met by this place, or you can also leave them in the pantry as long as you do not live in extremely hot places!
How long do pomegranates last?
When the whole pomegranate is stored in the refrigerator, it can last for up to 5 months. Fresh pomegranate seeds only can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days (1).
You can also store your pomegranate on the counter, and it can be preserved for up to 1 to 2 weeks, both whole fruit and seeds. However, it is important to constantly check for any spoilage signs to prevent side effects (1).
If you want to extend the shelf life of pomegranates even more, you can freeze for up to 12 months (3).
What is the best way to store pomegranates?
Pomegranates can be stored in the pantry when consumed in the following days, and in the fridge for larger shelf life. The optimal temperature to store them is at 5 °C (41 °F) and relative humidity of 92 to 98% (1,2).
For best storage you need to attend to several steps to guarantee the best storage (1,2):
- Pomegranates need to be cut into quarters. Once you have bought the whole fruit and want to try its flavor, it is time to try the seeds. For this, you need to cut the fruit into quarters, this will let you see all of the seeds.
- In a bowl with water, separate the seeds. When you place a pomegranate in a bowl with water, the seeds will go to the bottom of the bowl, separating both membrane and seeds.
- Now, remove the seeds from the bottom of the bowl. You can use the help of a strainer, or even with your hands!
- Decide where you need to store pomegranate seeds. You can place the pomegranate in the pantry, fridge, or freezer, without any problem!
What affects the shelf life of pomegranate?
The shelf life of pomegranates can be shortened by a number of circumstances. The fruit’s shelf life can be significantly affected by storage conditions, such as temperature and humidity regulation.
Because skin desiccates easily at low relative humidity, producing in hard, black rinds, relative humidity control is essential during storage (1,2).
The shelf life of pomegranates can also be affected by physical bruising or damage sustained during harvesting, processing, or transportation since it speeds up spoiling (4).
Finally, pomegranates can ripen more quickly when exposed to ethylene gas, which is produced by several fruits and vegetables. Consequently, removing pomegranates from foods that release ethylene, such as apples and bananas, can help them retain their freshness for longer (5).
How can you tell when pomegranates have spoiled?
You can easily determine when pomegranates are no longer appropriate for human consumption by checking both on the outside and inside of the fruit (2,6,7).
On the outside
- Lightweight. Pomegranates are a natural heavy fruit, so whenever you feel them lighter, it means they might have dried out.
- Large dark spots. This sign will let you know when your pomegranate has passed its best quality, avoiding consuming mushy pomegranates.
On the inside
- Mold growth. When you notice mold is covering the surface of your pomegranate seeds, it should not be consumed or smelled.
- Black spores. Noticing this sign in your seeds means that they do not have to be consumed.
- Black or brown seeds. When pomegranates are fresh, the seeds exhibit a vibrant ruby red color. When they have spoiled, they will become brown or black, so avoid eating them!
In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “do pomegranates need to be refrigerated?” We have also discussed how long pomegranates last, how to store them and how you can tell when pomegranates have gone bad.
Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.
1. 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.
2. The Commercial Storage of Fruits, Vegetables, and Florist and Nursery Stocks. Agricultural Research Service Agriculture, Handbook Number 66, 2016, 501.
3. Silva, C.L.M. Home Freezing of Fruits and Vegetables. In book: Frozen food science and technology, 2008.
4. Opara, U.L., Pathare, P.B. Bruise damage measurement and analysis of fresh horticultural produce – A review. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 2014, 91, 9-24.
5. Jin Gao, et al. Role of ethylene response factors (ERFs) in fruit ripening. Food Quality and Safety, 2020, 4, 15–20.
6. Porat, R. Fallik. E. Production of off-flavours in fruit and vegetables under fermentative conditions. Fruit and Vegetable Flavour, 2008, 150-164.
7. Mincuzzi, A., et al. Postharvest Rot of Pomegranate Fruit in Southern Italy: Characterization of the Main Pathogens. Journal of Fungi – Open Access Mycology Journal, 2022, 8(5):475.