Pomegranates are an exotic addition to any meal and a joy to grow in your own backyard or kitchen garden. But how do you know when a pomegranate is ripe? While color may not be an indicator of ripeness, there are some other indicators to look for. We recommend evaluating the fruit’s texture, weight, shape, and sound to determine if it is ripe enough to enjoy.
Inspect the skin texture: The pomegranate’s skin will change as it ripens. It will become rough and leathery, which helps to contain the weight of the ripening arils and juice. Usually, you should be able to scratch the skin of a ripe pomegranate and leave a mark – not with much force though!
Weigh the pomegranate: The pomegranate will feel heavy for its size, since the plump arils have filled the interior. A ripe pomegranate should also have a dull, metallic sound when it’s gently shaken.
Check the crown: The top of a ripe pomegranate will have a slight inward bend. A lopsided crown is another indication that the pomegranate is unripe.
While you may be tempted to harvest the first pomegranates that show up in your market or garden, it’s important to wait. The longer a pomegranate is on the tree, the sweeter and more intensely flavored it will be. Commercial growers track timelines and use specific indicators for their varieties to ensure their pomegranates are fully ripe and ready to be harvested. It takes some trial and error to get to know the signs of a ripe pomegranate, but be patient – it’s worth the wait!