The deep red juice of the pomegranate is a tasty addition to fruit drinks, while the pulp makes delicious preserves for your toast, or you can enjoy it British style with a spoonful over vanilla ice cream. The proper way to store pomegranates varies on your storage space and how you plan to use the fruit. Whether you choose to can, freeze or dry the pomegranates, you can enjoy the fruit year-round in a variety of dishes, desserts and beverages.
Storing Fresh Pomegranate Seeds
Pomegranate are harvested when ripe; no further ripening is necessary. You can use the fruit immediately or store the fresh, uncut pomegranate in the refrigerator for up to two months. Once removed from the rind, fresh seeds and juice should be used within five days.
Removing the Pomegranate Seeds and Pulp
Put on an apron and gloves before you begin to remove the seeds and pulp from the pomegranate. The juice tends to spurt out and stain everything it touches. Use a glass bowl; metal may darken the juice.
Cut off the crown of the pomegranate and score it along the sides, lengthwise, in three or four places. Hold the pomegranate under water in the bowl. Separate the sections; then remove the seeds from each section, still holding the fruit under the water. The seeds will sink to the bottom. Allow the inedible peel and membranes to float to the top and remove them. Pour the seeds into a colander to remove the water.
Juicing the Seeds
After removing the seeds and juice sacs from the rind, press the seeds through a sieve or use a food mill to separate the juice from the pulp. You can also use a blender or food processor to liquefy the seeds. After blending the seeds, strain the pulp through cheesecloth or nylon netting. Place a double layer of the fabric in a colander, set the colander over a glass bowl and pour the liquefied pulp into the colander. Allow the juices to drain into the bowl.
Preserving as a Syrup
To preserve pomegranate syrup, place the juice of seven large pomegranates, or about 5 cups of juice, 1/2-cup lemon juice and 1-cup sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer slowly until the syrup is reduced to half the original amount.
When the syrup is ready, pour it into hot canning jars. Process the jars for 10 minutes at a rolling boil. If any of the jars fail to seal, store them in the refrigerator and use them within a week to two weeks. You also can simply ladle the syrup into jars, and once cooled, store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Put the juice or pulp into a large saucepan with lemon juice and sugar, according to your favorite recipe. If making jelly, bring to a boil and add powdered or liquid pectin. Stir constantly while you bring it back to a full boil and boil for 30 seconds. Immediately remove from heat and pour into canning or jelly jars. Process in a hot water bath or store in the refrigerator once cooled.
Preserves are similar, except you add the seeds, and, depending on the pomegranate recipes in your cookbook, you may or may not need pectin. Bring the pomegranate juice and sugar to a boil. Stir continuously while at a slow rolling boil for 30 minutes. Skim off foam. Add the seeds and lemon juice; then stir and cook for 10 minutes. Drip a spoonful of the preserves on a chilled plate. If it runs, continue cooking the preserves.
If it stays mounded, ladle the preserves into jars and process in a hot water bath or cool and store in the refrigerator.
Freezing Pomegranate Seeds
After removing the seeds from the rind and membranes, spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place in the freezer until frozen. Scoop the frozen seeds into plastic containers or freezer bags and store in the freezer.
If you prefer a syrup pack, put the pulp and juice into freezer containers. Boil a scant 1/3 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water to make a syrup. Allow the syrup to cool; then pour over the pomegranate pulp. Seal the containers and freeze.
Drying Pomegranate Seeds
To dry the pomegranate seeds, spread in a single layer on the dehydrator tray. Place the seeds in the dehydrator for 12 to 14 hours at 125 degrees Fahrenheit. The dehydrated seeds will feel dry to the touch and should not clump together. Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry location.
- UCCE Master Food Preservers of Orange County: Pomegranates
- UF/IFAS Citrus Extension: Pomegranate Fruit Uses, Recipes and Storage
- Fresh Preserving: Pomegranate Sauce
- Pomegranates: Pomegranate Jelly
- Cafe Fernando: Pomegranate Jam
- National Center for Home Food Preservation: Freezing Pomegranates
- Dehydrate2Store: How to Dehydrate Pomegranate