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Pomegranates – the fruit of late summer

If you are in Crete in October, you are lucky enough to experience the harvest time of one of the most delicious fruits. You probably have passed one of the fruit-laden pomegranate trees on a walk and wondered when is the best time to pick?

The pomegranate tree originally comes from Iran and the Himalayas in northern India, but has long been cultivated in regions with a Mediterranean climate, including Crete.
In general, the pomegranate harvest season continues in September for early ripening varieties and through October for later ripening varieties. Unlike most stone fruits, pomegranates are not climacteric, which means that they will not continue to ripen after harvesting, so it is important not to pick the fruit until it is ripe.

pomegranate, Crete

Here are a few tips for checking the ripeness of pomegranates:

As pomegranates ripen, the seeds and arilles (seed sacks or husks) swell. Ripe pomegranates change from round to slightly angular, with the sides becoming more square and the stem and flower end flatter.

Skin structure
The skin of pomegranate fruits changes from smooth and hard to slightly rough and softer as they ripen. The skin on ripe fruit should be easy to scratch with a fingernail. Ripe fruits often crack when the arilles swell or when rain and high humidity occur. Ripe fruits with cracked skin are usually ready to be picked. When the peels of several fruits on a single tree are cracked, most or all of the fruits are usually ready for harvest.

Fruit weight
Pomegranates become juicier and heavier as they ripen. Pomegranate tree branches, usually the outer and newer branches, are often pulled down by increased weight as the fruit ripens.

The color is an indicator of pomegranate ripeness but varies depending on the variety. Most varieties are light red or deep red to purple red with no trace of green when ripe.

Sound when typing
As with color, the tone is a difficult display when typing. When knocked, a ripe pomegranate sounds different than unripe fruit. Ripe fruit can sound a bit thin, hollow, or have a slightly metallic sound.

And here’s another video that shows the easiest way to open the pomegranate without splashing much of the red juice.

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