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Pomegranates are popular fruits that have a tough, leathery skin on the outside and hundreds of edible seeds on the inside. A pomegranate should be tart-sweet and juicy and is thought to be full of health benefits. The fruit can be bought in juice or frozen form but is also popularly eaten in its natural state. Choose the best ripe pomegranate based on season, color, and skin quality as well as size, shape, and weight.
If pomegranates are grown in the area you live, then choose to eat them when they are in season. In areas where the fruit is not naturally grown, it must be transported, and thus, the season for availability is usually later. In the Northern Hemisphere, for example, pomegranates are considered in season from around October through December. If you buy the fruit outside of these months, they may be under or overripe.
It is best to choose a pomegranate that has a deep, rich color. Deep red ones are usually recommended, but colors can vary from yellow-orange to purple-red. You want to choose the ripest one available as the fruits are picked before they are quite ripe if they need to be transported and will not get riper once they have been picked.
The skin of the pomegranate should be firm and tight. Rub your finger over the skin; it should not move or wrinkle. Although the skin can have superficial scratches and marks, it should not be broken in any way because this both lets out the juice and creates an entrance for bacteria. Cracks can also indicate overripeness. You should choose a fruit with skin that is leathery and looks like it is just beginning to lose its shine.
If the skin is dull with no shine, then the fruit may be overripe, and if the skin is very shiny, the fruit may not be ripe enough. The skin should also feel supple. If the skin is dry, then the fruit inside is likely dry as well. Try also to choose a fruit with a skin that is tough but not too thick — this can make the pomegranate more difficult to peel. The pomegranate should not have a strong smell or be wet or sticky.
Choose a pomegranate that is large as these tend to have juicier seeds. You also want it to be plump, round, and firm. Do not choose a fruit with any flat or soft spots — this can indicate a bruised, crushed, or dried-out area. You can squeeze the top of the fruit to help determine ripeness. If it is very hard, then the fruit is not ripe, too soft and it is too ripe, and if it releases a dusty puff, it may be moldy. Finally, choose a pomegranate that feels heavy for its size, which indicates a very juicy fruit.