Pomegranate has a long and storied history, with the fruit having been used in various cultures throughout the world for centuries. The pomegranate is an incredibly nutritious fruit with a variety of health benefits, including its antioxidant content. As such, it’s no surprise that many people enjoy growing their own pomegranates and harvesting the seeds.
When to Harvest Pomegranate Seeds
The best time to harvest pomegranate seeds from your tree or bush depends on the variety of pomegranates you’re growing. Generally, mature fruits are ready for harvest when they reach their full size and when the skin color shifts to a rich red hue. After the fruits have been harvested, you’ll need to separate the seeds from the fruit.
Harvesting the Seeds
When harvesting the seeds, be sure to use caution. The arils (the seed covering) can be damaged easily and this affects their quality when stored for extended periods of time. Pomegranates can also contain a large number of seeds, so it’s important to handle them delicately to avoid damaging any that may still be inside the fruit.
- Start by cutting the top off of the pomegranate, so that a small portion of the seeds is exposed.
- Carefully peel away the skin, making sure not to damage any arils as you go along.
- Once the majority of the skin has been removed, use your fingers to gently pull apart the sections of the pomegranate, exposing more seeds.
- Separate the arils from any white membranes or other debris by hand and place them in a large bowl or container to be washed later.
- Next, rinse the arils with cool water and allow them to dry completely before storing them.
Shelf Life and Storage Conditions
When stored properly, pomegranate seeds can last for several months. To maximize the shelf life of your seeds, store them in an airtight container in a cool and dry place, such as the refrigerator or freezer. If freezing the seeds, be sure to allow them to thaw completely before use. Additionally, make sure that the container is kept away from direct sunlight, as this can cause the seeds to spoil faster.
When storing pomegranate seeds, it is important to keep in mind that they are highly perishable. If stored at too high of a temperature or if exposed to moisture, the arils may become moldy and should be discarded. As such, it is important to check the container frequently for signs of spoilage and discard any seeds that don’t appear fresh. Additionally, it is best to store pomegranate seeds in small batches as larger batches can decrease their shelf life.
Health Benefits of Pomegranate Seeds
Pomegranate seeds are extremely nutritious and offer a variety of health benefits. They contain high levels of fiber, vitamins C and K, iron, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as polyphenols. Pomegranate seeds have been linked to reducing inflammation in the body and helping with cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol. The antioxidants found in pomegranate seeds can also help protect against certain cancers and promote healthy skin.