Pomegranates make a welcome addition to winter salads, charcuterie boards and smoothies. Their crimson exteriors add color and their juicy arils deliver a combination of sweetness and tartness to any meal. But how do you know if the ones on display in your grocery store or at the farmers market are ripe? Using size, weight, texture and sound to guide your selection can help you become a pomegranate sleuth in no time.
Inspect the skin color for a deep red or near-red shade. The deeper the hue, the closer to ripeness. Avoid any fruit that is pale or yellowish in color, as this indicates immaturity and less juice.
A ripe pomegranate will feel heavy for its size and will emit a dull, hollow sound when tapped on the outside. The skin of a ripe pomegranate will also have a leathery quality and will easily resist scratching with your fingernail.
Ripe pomegranates will also have flatter shapes at the stem and blossom ends, with sides that deviate from a perfectly round appearance. And while it may seem counterintuitive, the best way to tell if a pomegranate is ripe is to actually weigh your options on the scale at your grocery store. A ripe pomegranate should be heavier than an unripe one due to the buildup of juice and arils. Then, select those that pass the fingernail test and the weight test. With a little practice, you’ll be an expert at spotting the perfect pomegranates for your next scrumptious snack.