Since pomegranate seeds aren’t available year-round, many people wonder if they can freeze them and if so, what does the freezing procedure look like. If you’re one of those people, read on!
Hard skin, pith, and jewel-like seeds all form together into the deliciously tart pomegranate. It’s not the most inexpensive type of produce on the grocery shelves, but it’s rich in antioxidants. Those unique red seeds also spruce up any dish or salad. Unfortunately, they’re not available year-round.
Can You Freeze Pomegranate Seeds?
While it may be difficult to find pomegranates outside of the period from September to January at your grocery store, it’s fortunate that pomegranate fans can freeze this treasure to enjoy during its off-season. As you’re perusing the produce section, choose fruit that has a tight red skin. Don’t pick ones with bruises or squishy spots.
Image used under Creative Commons from Rebecca Siegel
Why Should You Freeze Pomegranates?
With a short growing season of late fall to early winter, pomegranates aren’t always available on the produce shelf. Freezing this fruit makes sense, because if you blink, the fresh fruit could be off the store shelves until next year.
Many recipes don’t call for an immense amount of seeds. In fact, you may just want a handful to add an extra kick to a salad. If you don’t like to waste food, then you’ll be happy to know that pomegranates — whole or seeded — freeze surprisingly well for later enjoyment.
If you’re thrifty or have a long commute to the store, you probably look for sales so you can buy in bulk. When sales do come around, buy up all the pomegranates you need, and freeze them back.
How Do You Freeze Pomegranates?
Pomegranates can be frozen either whole or seeded. The easiest way to freeze them is to simply place whole fruits in a plastic freezer bag. Make sure you get as much air out of the bag as possible to prevent freezer burn.
If you’re not familiar with pomegranates, extracting their seeds seems daunting. Fortunately, collecting their gorgeous red seeds isn’t as complicated as you imagined. (No, it’s not as easy as peeling an orange, but the task isn’t too difficult.)
- Cut off the crown (which is a little protrusion that looks similar to the top of an onion) and discard it.
- Cut the fruit in quarters (with the skin on).
- Soak the quarters in a bowl of cold water for up to 30 minutes.
- Scrape the seeds from the submerged pith out with your fingers over or in the bowl of water. The pith (the white material enveloping the seeds) will fall off and rise on the water’s surface while the seeds separate to the bowl’s bottom. (The pith is edible, but it’s usually so bitter most people throw it away.)
- Strain out the pith and drain the water.
Freezing pomegranate seeds is much like freezing blueberries. After collecting the seeds, you put them on a paper towel. Pat them dry. Put them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place that in the freezer for about 20 minutes so the seeds get firm and won’t clump together when you put them into a labeled freezer container or bag. If you’re using a plastic bag, get all of the excess air smoothed out.
How Do You Thaw Pomegranates and How Long Will They Last?
Whole pomegranates must thaw in the fridge so they’re soft enough that you can cut them and extract the seeds. The frozen seeds will be slightly less crunchy and juicy than fresh ones. Pomegranate seeds may be dropped into recipes while they’re frozen, but if you need thawed seeds, it won’t take long. Put them in their plastic bag into the fridge, and use them all up within three days. (Don’t freeze them a second time!)Frozen pomegranates and seeds taste freshest within 6 months of the date they were frozen.
Now, throw those seeds into your salads or a grenadine for some pep in your step. Eat them in lieu of a processed, sugary snack. The minimal amount of work it takes to freeze them is definitely worth it!