The pomegranate fruit is a hard and circular fruit that can be colored yellow to dark ruby red. When people say they are eating a pomegranate, they’re actually eating the seeds and the arils (seed covering that encapsulates the liquid inside). These arils are delightful little bombs of flavor that explode when you bite on them. The flavor released could be sweet, tart, or a combination of the two, depending on the variety of the fruit.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Order: Myrtales
- Family: Lythraceae
- Genus: Punica
- Species: P. granatum
- Binomial name: Punica granatum
- Pomegranate trees can live for over two centuries
- “Pomegranate” means apple with many seeds
- In many cultures, the pomegranate was considered a symbol of prosperity and fertility
- The average pomegranate can have anywhere from 400 to 1,400 arils
Pomegranate Buying Guide
First of all, color has nothing to do with the ripeness of the pomegranate. Color is simply an indication of the variety of the fruit. Choose pomegranates that feel heavy for their size. For pomegranates, size does matter. The bigger the pomegranate, the juicier it is and the more arils inside.
Avoid pomegranates that have cracks on the surface or have soft spots on the skin.
There are also farms in Texas that allow you to pick your own pomegranates. Picking your own pomegranates is an excellent way to purchase them as this will almost ensure that you’re buying organic fruit, as well as something that is ripened on the tree.
Pomegranate Production & Farming in Texas
While pomegranates have a long history in Texas, it is surprising to find out that there is virtually no large-scale production of the fruit in the state. Pomegranate production in Texas is limited to home growers and small farms that offer “pick your own” services and provide the fruit to farmers’ markets.
Most of these farms are located in central, southern, and southeastern parts of Texas. There are now studies being conducted by Texas A&M to see which variants of pomegranate will thrive in the other parts of Texas.
Due to its tough leathery skin, the pomegranate arils are relatively pesticide residue-free. While the edible part is free from pesticides, it is worth noting though that pesticides are still being used in the commercial growing of this plant, which may contaminate the air, waterways, and land being used.
There are a lot of organic pomegranate growers in Texas. So even if you don’t need to go organic to be safe while eating a pomegranate, it’s still best to do our part.
Pomegranates thrive in USDA hardiness zones 7-12, providing that winters are short and mild. While pomegranates are adaptable to many soil types, they grow best in loamy soil with good drainage and a pH level of 5.5-7.0.
Because of their leathery skin, pomegranates require no special packaging protection for transport. They are simply piled into boxes before being shipped to customers/stores.
The best way to open a pomegranate and enjoy the arils inside is to take a paring knife and run it around the middle of the fruit, separating the skin into two halves. After this, you can twist the pomegranate in half, and you now have access to all of the arils inside.
You can then scoop out the arils with a spoon, or you can take them out by holding the sliced part over a bowl and giving the pomegranate a few good whacks with a wooden spoon to separate the arils from the flesh and into the container.
You can store whole pomegranates at room temperature for about a week. If you have a pantry or somewhere dry and cool, whole pomegranates can be stored for up to a month. For even longer storage, you can store whole pomegranates inside the fridge for up to two months.
If you’ve removed the arils already, they can be stored in an air-tight container inside the fridge for up to five days, and inside the freezer for up to a whole year.
Pomegranate arils are best enjoyed raw and fresh, both for their flavor and the popping experience you get when munching on them. Pomegranate arils can also be used as toppings for cakes, sundaes, and other desserts.
Pomegranates make for excellent juicing and can be added to other juices as a sweetener and flavor enhancer.
Heated applications for pomegranates include sauces and braising liquids.
- Pomegranate contains a lot of sugar but is balanced by also having relatively high fiber levels.
- The glycemic load of fresh pomegranate is at around 18, which means that people with diabetes should take care when consuming pomegranates as this might cause a spike in their blood sugar levels.
- While pomegranates have a lot of sugar and has a moderate glycemic load, this is balanced by also having a high fiber content. High fiber slows down the sugar absorption in your body so that your blood sugar levels don’t spike up that much.
- Vitamins and minerals:
- A research review has shown that pomegranate juice may be beneficial to people with hypertension, as regular consumption has been shown to reduce blood pressure.
- Pomegranates provide a healthy amount of Vitamin C.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps combat oxidative stress.
- Vitamin C also helps prevent or, at the very least, delay the development of some types of cancer.
- Vitamin C also promotes cell and wound healing.
- Pomegranates also contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals such as folate, copper, thiamin, vitamin B6, and potassium. All of which provide various health benefits.
When Are Pomegranates in Season in Texas?
To find out when Pomegranates are in season in Texas, please check the seasonal chart below. Why is this important? We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas now.