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How to Tell if Pomegranates Have Gone Bad (with photos!)

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Pomegranates are a beautiful and delicious fruit with jewel-like seeds, called arils. A whole pomegranate can keep for up to two weeks, but they can rot so it's important to know what a rotten vs fresh pomegranate looks like.

Pomegranate is one of my absolute favorite fruits - and is featured in some of the most popular posts on this site, including our Citrus Pomegranate Salad and Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Bites.

Be sure to check out our helpful guide on How to Peel a Pomegranate as well!

Whole fresh pomegranates will have tough, thicker skin that's largely blemish-free and should be a deep red color. Fresh pomegranate seeds have a bright, fresh flavor and are quite juicy. Rotting pomegranate may have an acrid smell and will have bitter seeds.

Pomegranate with mold on arils.
Moldy arils on a pomegranate.
Pomegranate with miscolored flesh.
Discolored skin on a pomegranate.

Signs of Rot in Pomegranates

Look for these signs to see if your pomegranates have gone bad.

  1. Mold - If there is exterior or interior mold on the pomegranate it should be discarded.
  2. Soft Spots - darker brown, black, or yellow soft spots may form on your pomegranate. This is a sign the pomegranate is likely rotten.
  3. Discolored Skin - yellowing or brown skin on the pomegranate is a sign it is likely too old.
  4. Smell - if the pomegranate seeds have a strong smell that's acrid or ammonia-like, they are past their prime and shouldn't be eaten. They will be very bitter.
Pomegranate with mushy arils.
A fresh pomegranate with bright red arils.

The Best Way to Store Pomegranates

Whole pomegranates can be stored on the counter or in the refrigerator. They'll keep for up to 2 weeks at room temperature and up to a month in the fridge.

If you plan on eating them soon, I recommend keeping them outside the fridge as the seeds stay a bit juicier when they aren't cold.

If you buy pomegranate arils or remove them from a pomegranate, they can be saved in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Store them in an airtight container.

Pomegranate FAQs

How long do pomegranates keep?

If you plan to use them soon, whole pomegranates will keep for one to two weeks at room temperature when stored on a countertop, out of direct sunlight.

If you'd like to keep them longer, store whole pomegranates in the refrigerator - they will save for several weeks to a month.

Pomegranate seeds will keep for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Can you cut moldy parts off pomegranates?

If there is mold on the interior or exterior of the pomegranate, you should discard it. Because pomegranates have a high water content, it's very easy for mold to spread throughout the fruit - even if you can't see it.

Do you need to store pomegranates in the fridge?

No, you don't have to store pomegranates in the refrigerator. You can, but they will keep at room temperature for up to two weeks (for best results, eat them within a week).

Are pomegranates with a bad smell okay to eat?

Pomegranate that has an acrid or strong smell should not be consumed. It will be bitter and unpleasant.

How long do pomegranate seeds last?

Pomegranate seeds can keep for 4 to 5 days in the fridge. Do not keep seeds at room temperature.

Can you freeze pomegranates?

Yes, you can freeze pomegranate seeds in a freezer-safe container for up to 6 months. I do not recommend freezing a whole pomegranate.