Picking Pomegranates – Learn About Harvesting Pomegranate Fruit
The fruit of the pomegranate tree (Psidium guajava) are not only delicious but also very nutritious. They contain high amounts of vitamin C, potassium, calcium and other minerals such as manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.
Besides being tasty they have many health benefits too! A good way to enjoy them is in juice or smoothies.
There are two types of pomegranate: the fleshy green ones which look like miniature grapes and the skinless red varieties. Both types have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s best to choose one according to your taste preferences.
How To Pick Pomegranates?
The first thing you need to decide is whether you want to pick the ripe fruits from the trees or cut off the top part of a mature tree before eating them. If you’re going to pick the fruit, then there are some things you’ll need to consider first.
Much Will You Be Able To Eat?
If you plan on cutting off the top part of a pomegranate tree, then you will be able to eat just a few of these juicy little fruits. However if you’re planning on eating the whole fruit, then it might take several attempts before your stomach gets used to digesting them completely.
Big Are The Trees?
Are the trees large, medium or small sized?
If you’re picking the fruits from a large tree then you could pick for yourself an entire season! If you’re picking from a smaller tree, then you might need to keep going back to get more. Even if there are many small trees, you may not be able to pick enough to satisfy your taste buds.
Much Time Do You Have?
How long does it take a single pomegranate fruit to ripen?
If you’re planning on eating it right away, then you might only have to wait 1-2 days. In this case, you won’t need to bring them home since you can enjoy them immediately. But if you want to pick pomegranates for the purpose of making juice or jam, then you’ll have to wait until they turn bright red before picking them. In this case, you will need to bring a bag or box with you when you go picking.
How To Pick Pomegranates From A Tree
1. Find A Tree With Fully-Matured Fruits
If you choose to pick pomegranates from a tree instead of waiting for them to ripen on the branch, then you will want to make sure that the fruits are fully-matured. Look for ones that are big enough for your liking and have a deep red color.
Avoid picking the fruits that are green or half-ripe since these won’t taste as good.
2. Climb The Tree
If you’re not wearing flip-flops or sandals, then take them off before climbing the tree. You don’t want to fall and hurt yourself!
3. Grab A Fruit And Attempt To Pull It Off The Branch
The trick is to pull the pomegranate off the branch versus trying to twist or snap it off. If you try to twist or snap it, you might end up breaking a few of the seeds inside and that would be a real pity!
4. Give It A Good Shake
Once you’ve managed to pull the pomegranate off the branch, hold it in your hands and give it a good shake. As you’re shaking it, listen carefully and you’ll hear the seeds moving around inside.
This is a great way of telling if a pomegranate is ripe or not.
5. Break It Apart
The next step is to break the pomegranate apart. You can do this by holding it over a large bowl and giving it another firm shake.
As you’re doing this, be careful since the juice from the pomegranate might squirt into your face!
Once you’ve broken the pomegranate in half, hold it in your hands and give it another few shakes until all of the seeds fall out into the bowl below.
6. Pick Out The Inner Core
At this point, you should have a bowl full of pomegranate seeds. Pick out the inner core since this part is not edible.
You can now enjoy your fresh bowl of pomegranate seeds. Be sure to eat them soon since they do not keep for very long.
You can also try making pomegranate juice or jelly if you want to preserve them for later.
Where To Buy Pomegranates
Most grocery stores carry pomegranates during certain times of the year. They may also sell small potted pomegranate trees at this time as well.
If you can’t find them at your local store, try looking for a local fruit market or go online to buy them.
Before You Eat Them…
Pomegranates have become more popular over the last few years.
They are used in many drinks and other food items, but nothing beats a bowl of fresh pomegranate seeds right?
Before you chow down though, it’s important to keep a few things in mind…
1. Be Sure They’re Ripe
As you already know, pomegranates don’t ripen on the tree. They actually get sweeter after they’ve been picked and will turn a bright red color when they’re ready.
So if you buy a pomegranate that’s bright red or even a dark red, you’ll most likely be able to enjoy them much more than one that is green.
2. Check For Soft Spots
As with most fruits, the seeds are encased in a skin that is meant to be eaten. This skin is covered with tiny little hairs that help it to repel water and give it a bit of a tart flavor.
With this in mind, you’ll want to pick out any pomegranates that have soft spots on the outside skin since they may be starting to rot on the inside.
Sources & references used in this article:
Vapour treatments with methyl salicylate or methyl jasmonate alleviated chilling injury and enhanced antioxidant potential during postharvest storage of pomegranates by M Sayyari, M Babalar, S Kalantari, D Martínez-Romero… – Food Chemistry, 2011 – Elsevier
Prestorage heat treatment to maintain nutritive and functional properties during postharvest cold storage of pomegranate by SH Mirdehghan, M Rahemi, M Serrano… – Journal of Agricultural …, 2006 – ACS Publications
Innovative treatment of pomegranates from harvest to market by O Nerya, A Levin – … on Pomegranate and Minor Mediterranean Fruits …, 2013 – actahort.org
Harvest discrimination of pomegranate fruit: postharvest quality changes and relationships between instrumental and sensory attributes during shelf life by OA Fawole, UL Opara – Journal of food science, 2013 – Wiley Online Library