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Pomegranates are red, relatively large fruits that have a seedy interior. The rind is inedible, as is the yellow-to-white pith inside that holds the seeds. Choosing the best organic pomegranate relies on most of the same factors used for finding the best non-organic pomegranate. A relatively heavy weight, firm feel and deep-red rind color are the most important aspects to look for when trying to determine if a pomegranate, regardless of organic status, will be good to eat.
Generally speaking, any pomegranate you choose should feel heavy for its size, and it should be firm. As most of the weight is from the juice — the rind and yellowish pith don’t contribute much heft at all, just bulk — a pomegranate that feels heavier than it looks like it will have a good amount of juice. Organic pomegranates may be as small as two inches (5.1 cm) in diameter. A small pomegranate will have less room for seeds than a larger pomegranate, but relative weight and color will be better indicators of an organic pomegranate’s quality. In other words, a bin full of heavy, firm, deep-red organic pomegranates that are three inches (7.6 cm) in diameter are not necessarily of worse quality than non-organic pomegranates that are four inches (10.2 cm) in diameter.
The rind of an organic pomegranate should be very dark pink to deep red — the closer to deep red, the better — and it should not have any yellowish or very pale areas. Some variegation, or a mix of shades, is normal. Also, it should be relatively smooth. A little texture is normal, but it should not feel very rough like an orange.
There should be no cracks or bug damage in the rind, and this is something that you have to pay more attention to with organic pomegranates. The lack of pesticide use in organic farming means more insects can get at crops, so check all over the pomegranate carefully, including the stem end. The pointed tips at the end of the column of rind at the other end where the flower used to be, also called the calyx, may be a little smashed or even missing after shipping, but that will not affect flavor.
Mold is an issue inside the calyx. You should see no white, gray or blue coloring whatsoever. In non-organic fruits, food-grade waxes applied to the skins of the fruit often help prevent mold formation. While some organic food waxes exist, not all organic fruit will have a layer of food-grade wax, meaning mold formation is more likely. If mold forms in the calyx, it means the pomegranate has been sitting around for a while.
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