Pomegranates are a fruit native to the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Southern Asia. They have deep pink skin and when cut open, reveal ruby gems of juice. These pomegranate seeds are also known as arils.
Pomegranates are seasonal fruits. Most US pomegranates are grown in California and are in season from late September to November. You will be pleased to learn that you can freeze pomegranate seeds so that you can have ripe pomegranate all year round.
In Greek and Persian mythology, pomegranates have been used for millennia to symbolize beauty, fertility, and eternal life.
It is believed that the many seeds inside a pomegranate are what led them to be representative of fertility. There are many other religions that place significance upon the humble pomegranate.
In modern Greek homes, many citizens welcome the New Year by opening a pomegranate as it is believed to bring good luck for the upcoming year. Pomegranate is an aphrodisiac and helps to fight against erectile dysfunction in men.
There are many other health benefits such as anti-inflammatory effects, help with your digestion and they have many overall benefits for your body.
If stored correctly, pomegranate seeds can last for up to 6 months in the freezer.
How to freeze pomegranate seeds
Your first step is to cut the pomegranate open and remove the seeds.
Many people cut the pomegranate in half and place the cut side down on the palm of your hand. Gently but firmly hit the rounded side of the pomegranate until the seeds fall out. This is effective but messy and can cause the arils to bruise.
An alternative method is to slice the bottom of the pomegranate off about ¼ inch in. This will provide a flat surface to help stabilize the pomegranate.
Cut around the top of the pomegranate in a circle at a slight angle and remove this section. Make cuts in segments around the outer edges of the pomegranate. We advise making 6 cuts, being careful not to pierce the delicate pomegranate seeds.
Gently peel apart the segments over a large bowl, to catch any loose seeds. Place the segments into a large bowl of cold water for half an hour. This will soften the skin and membranes, making it easier to remove the pomegranate arils.
Pull the arils away from the white membrane and the peel. Do this in or over the bowl of water. This is because the pomegranate seeds will sink to the bottom and the white membrane will float, making them easier to separate. Drain the pomegranate seeds.
Dry the pomegranate seeds gently with kitchen paper. Place in a flat, single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 2 hours to allow the pomegranate seeds to freeze fully.
Once frozen, transfer to a ziplock freezer bag or a rigid airtight container. Ensure it is labelled with the contents and the date frozen.
You can also freeze pomegranates whole, although we do not recommend this. This is because there is a lot of natural air and moisture in the fruit that can increase its susceptibility to freezer burn.
How to defrost pomegranate seeds
To thaw the frozen pomegranate seeds, simply remove from the freezer and place on your countertop. Allow them to return to room temperature. This process takes between 30 minutes and 1 hour, depending on the fullness of your container.
Alternatively, you can place the airtight container of pomegranate seeds in a bowl of lukewarm water to thaw a little faster.
If you are using the pomegranate seeds for baking or blending them in a smoothie, there is no need to thaw. Many people also eat frozen pomegranate seeds as a cooling snack in the summer.
Once thawed, pomegranate seeds will keep for up to a week in the fridge in an airtight container.
If you have frozen an entire pomegranate, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator. Allow to thaw until you can cut into the skin and pull the seeds out. These seeds will be mushier and less appetising than ones frozen separately from the rest of the fruit.
Factors to consider before freezing pomegranate seeds
When choosing a pomegranate, look for fruits that have a tight and smooth skin. It should be a deep pink or red in color. Do not choose fruits with lots of bruises or soft areas.
Pomegranate juice will stain your clothes quickly so it is wise to take care when cutting and removing the seeds. We recommend wearing an apron or old clothes to do this. There are many different ways to cut a pomegranate and remove the seeds. Use whichever method you find easiest.
When laying the pomegranate seeds on a lined baking sheet, try to ensure they are not touching each other. This will prevent them from sticking together once they freeze. This will make it easier to use the pomegranate seeds when frozen.
If you are storing the arils in a ziplock bag once frozen, press all of the air out of the bag before placing in the freezer. This will help to prevent freezer burn forming on the arils.
Pomegranate seeds are a great thing to have on hand.
They are delicious morsels of nutrition when in season, and by freezing you can have consistently high-quality pomegranate arils year-round.
We recommend throwing a few on the top of a salad, blending in a smoothie or simply snacking on them as they are.