The pomegranate—a fruit with a crown—has played a role in human history for millennia, and we still love them today. Some of us look forward to indulging in these fruits all year long, while others are just beginning to explore their unique flavors. The big question: How do you know when these gorgeous fruits are ready to eat?
Farmer Al says he looks at the color of the fruit, but the best sign of a ripe pomegranate is a cracked skin. That’s when you know it’s ready. When a few pomegranates on the same tree are showing cracks in the skin, he picks the whole tree. Farmer Al says pomegranates don’t ripen much more once you pick them—they should be ready or very close to ready. While we love them for their bursting sweet seeds, pomegranates also have incredible nutritional properties. The University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center reports that pomegranates are high in polyphenols, which work as antioxidants, reducing oxidation in our bodies and protecting our cells from certain kinds of damage. Experts say these chemicals can also reduce inflammation and may even have anti-aging properties. Pomegranates are a source of folate, potassium and vitamin K, and they are rich in vitamins E, B6, and pantothenic acid. To learn more about pomegranates’ amazing attributes, visit the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center here.
The challenge with pomegranates is separating the sweet-tart seeds from the white pith. Ask your kids to take the job—it’s super messy and fun! Give them a special “pomegranate-eating t-shirt” to commemorate the season. This shirt is just for the gloriously delicious and messy task of cleaning and eating pomegranates.
Be sure to have them work on a clean surface that is easy to wipe clean. Vibrant red pomegranate juice can stain!
Did you know?
Frog Hollow Farm grows the Wonderful variety—it’s the most popular variety around. Farmer Al is currently experimenting with 19 different pomegranate varieties that should be ready to produce fruit in about three years. Stay tuned!