What Does Pomegranate Taste Like? Is It Sweet or Bitter?


Pomegranate is a truly unique fruit, from the way it looks to the way it tastes. When it comes to its health benefits, pomegranate is a superfood as it contains vitamins C, B6, and B12 as well as trace elements, including iodine, iron, sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. If you have never tried this super fruit before and wondering what pomegranates taste like, read our pomegranate taste in-depth review.

What does pomegranate taste like? Pomegranate has a refreshing, citrusy sweet, and tart flavor with slightly sour hints. Pomegranate taste depends on the ripeness of the fruit – ripe pomegranates are sweet, juicy, and refreshing, while unripe are sour, firm, and bitter. Pomegranates taste the best when in season.

What does pomegranate fruit smell like? Pomegranates have a subtle peculiar smell reminiscent of red wine with hints of tartness and citrus. Some pomegranates have an earthy smell with notes of sweetness. Ripe in-season pomegranates have a rich winey smell, while unripe will barely have any aroma at all.

Pomegranate Flavor – All You Need to Know

People have always been eating pomegranate due to its peculiar winey taste and, of course, health benefits. Pomegranates come from Persia but are now cultivated in many regions of the world, including the Mediterranean, Central Asia, India, and tropical Africa. As for the USA, pomegranates are mainly grown in Arizona and California. Pomegranates are exported worldwide, so it is not a problem to find the fruit when it is in season. In the US, it is better to buy pomegranates between October and January to get the best texture and flavor.

How do you describe the taste of pomegranate? Most describe the taste of pomegranate as bold, sweet, juicy, and slightly tangy. However, some highlight the sour nature of pomegranates and compare them to cranberries and sour grapes. High-quality fresh pomegranates are always juicy, refreshing, and citrusy. If pomegranate is bitter, it is unripe.

Pomegranate is a truly versatile fruit that goes well with anything! Let’s see how pomegranate is used in cooking:

  • Decorate desserts
  • Make sauces to add to meat and fish dishes
  • Add to salads
  • Make marinades
  • Make beverages and syrups
  • Make jam and marmalade
  • Add to confectionery and baked goods

What flavor is similar to pomegranate? Red currants, raspberries, and cranberries’ flavor is most similar to pomegranate – they are all juicy, refreshing, and slightly tart with notes of pleasant sweetness. Some compare the flavor of ripe pomegranates to ripe cherries – sweet, rich, with pronounced acidic notes.

These acidic and refreshing notes make pomegranates a perfect choice for meat, fish, and game dishes. Pomegranates make them juicy, tender and give balanced notes of sweetness and sourness. Pomegranates go well with seafood, for example, crab and prawns, giving them a more refreshing and bold flavor. Pomegranates are often added to hot sauces bean and vegetable stews.

Pomegranate flavor also depends on the tree variety. It is thought that pomegranates appeared during the Cretaceous period, over 66 million years ago. Since the fruit has such a long history, it is not surprising that there are over 500 pomegranate varieties. The most common are Red Silk, Texas Pink, Angel Red, Al Sirin Nar, and Eversweet.

In addition to the tree variety, pomegranates taste different depending on how ripe they are and whether they are in season. When choosing pomegranates in the shop or market, ensure it has dark pink or red skin with no brown or white spots or cracks. Ripe pomegranates feel heavy and have shiny skin. On the other hand, unripe pomegranates have pink or even green skin and are very firm to the touch and not as heavy.

See also: What Do Macarons Taste Like? Learn Today!

Is pomegranate sweet or bitter? Ripe in-season pomegranates are never bitter. Instead, they are sweet, slightly tart, and juicy (similar to ripe cherries). Pomegranate can be bitter or have a sharp taste if it is unripe or bad due to improper storage or transportation.

People love pomegranates not only for their immense health benefits but also for their peculiar taste and juicy texture. You can eat pomegranates as it or buy juice. When buying juice, we recommend opting only for 100% pure pomegranate juice without added water or sugar to get the most health benefits and the best flavor.

Do not buy unripe pomegranates as they will not ripe in your kitchen (pomegranates are one of those fruits that only ripe on the tree). You should also avoid buying overripe pomegranates as they have already started rotting and will be bitter and sour. Let’s dive into the reasons why a pomegranate tastes bad.

Why Does a Pomegranate Taste Bad?

Have you bought pretty-looking pomegranates for $7 each only to find out it tastes disgusting? There is a reason why a pomegranate tastes bad!

What does a bad pomegranate taste like? Bad pomegranates acquire a very sour, bitter, and acidic taste with notes of acetone and alcohol. Bad pomegranates also get a rotten smell, a mushy texture, and a brown color. Decaying pomegranate seeds is another sign that the fruit is spoiled.

But why does pomegranate taste sour? Pomegranates taste sour when they are not in season or are unripe. However, a sour taste can also indicate that pomegranate is bad due to improper storage or transportation. If a pomegranate has signs of rotting, throw it away.

Since pomegranates are quite pricey, the last thing you want to do is to pay $7-$8 per piece, only to throw them out later.

Luckily, you can avoid buying sour and bitter pomegranates by doing a few checks in the shop. Here is what you need to examine:

  1. Color – Ripe pomegranates vary in color from dark pink to dark red. Avoid brown, light pink, green or yellow pomegranates with cracks.
  2. Skin – Ripe pomegranates have smooth, shiny skin with no cracks, spots, or blemishes. Skin must be semi-hard – If it is too mushy, the fruit has started to decay; if it is too firm, the pomegranate is unripe and bitter.
  3. Weight – A fruit must feel heavy but not too much – if the pomegranate is too light, it is unripe and sour.
  4. Smell – Ripe grapefruit has a pleasant winey aroma. Unripe fruit will have no smell at all, while overripe pomegranate will have a rotten aroma.

If you check these 4 factors, the chances of getting a sour or a bitter pomegranate will be extremely low. Ideally, you should buy pomegranates at a local fruit market to get the freshest and highest-quality fruit.

Keeping Pomegranates Fresh – How to Store a Pomegranate?

To preserve fresh pomegranates for longer and keep the taste rich and sweet, you need to store the fruit properly. Luckily, if you buy a high-quality pomegranate, you can keep it fresh for 1-2 months!

So, how to store pomegranate? Keep pomegranate in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place (balcony, basement, closet, fridge) for up to 2 months. Pomegranates can be refrigerated (up to +5°C), and arils can be frozen. Pomegranate juice must be refrigerated (up to 3 days). Wrap each fruit in a paper towel to prevent moisture evaporation. 

Luckily, with the right temperature, pomegranates last for up to 2 months. Do not wash the pomegranates before storing them. All you need to do is wrap the fruit in a paper towel to prevent moisture evaporation and put it in a cool, dark place. If you live in an apartment, you can place the fruit on the balcony or closet. If you live in the house, consider putting the fruit in the basement.

We like storing pomegranates in the fridge as it maintains the best temperature for the fruit and prevents them from drying out. Even though pomegranates can stay fresh for 2 months, it is better to eat the fruit as early as possible to prevent it from decaying.

Fresh pomegranate juice can only be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Once the juice is opened, we recommend drinking it right away as the juice can go bad very quickly. Pomegranate arils can be frozen for up to 6 months.

Pomegranate Flavor FAQ

What fruit does pomegranate taste like? Pomegranate most tastes like cranberries and ripe cherries. They all have an invigorating, bold flavor with hints of acidity and pleasant sweetness. Some say pomegranate tastes like raspberries and red currants. However, the taste depends on the season and ripeness of the fruit.

What does pomegranate juice taste like? Pomegranate juice has a tangy, slightly sour, rich winey flavor with hints of sweetness. 100% pure pomegranate juice (not diluted) has a rich tart flavor with a perfectly balanced acidity level. However, low-quality pomegranate juice can be bitter or too sweet because of added sugar.

Do pomegranates taste like grapes? Some say that pomegranates taste similar to grapes since they are both slightly sweet juicy, and have notes of tartness. Pomegranates also have that winey taste and aroma, just like grapes. Both grapes and pomegranate can be sweet, sour, or even acidic.

Why does my pomegranate taste like nail polish? Pomegranates taste like nail polish and acquire acetone or alcohol notes when yeast breaks down the sugars. When it happens, pomegranate becomes mushy and changes its color to dark red or even brown. Throw the pomegranate away immediately if you notice these signs.

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