The growing demand for pomegranate has recently pushed to evaluate strategies to improve the shelf-life and extend the sale beyond the ripening period of the fruit. The goal of the producers is to have the pomegranate available everyday.
The delicate point of departure is the maturation process. By nature, the pomegranate is a non-climacteric fruit, i.e. it does not complete maturation once severed from the tree.Therefore it is essential to harvest the fruits after they have fully ripened, when they reach the pinnacle of their organoleptic, nutritional and functional properties. In fact, a late harvest leads to the rapid deterioration of the fruit, that does not tolerate long-term storage.
How to harvest? It is essential to proceed with care because vigorous manipulations could cause abrasions and cracks on the skin, affecting the nutrients. Inevitably, these lesions would increase the proliferation of bacteria responsible of mold during storage. Therefore, it is recommended to cut the fruit from the tree, using shears for pruning the leaves.
During the phase of post harvest it is important not to alter the nature of the fruit, as the pomegranate has reached the optimum degree of moisture in order to be preserved. It Will be ready for fresh consumption (the same day or within 4-5 days), but refrigeration will be required for longer storage.
At home, it will be kept in plastic bags at the usual refrigerator temperature, while specialized companies will wrap pomegranates containers with specific plastic films or in special envelopes, adjusting the thermostat depending on the months of storage and the characteristics of the variety (degree of sugars, maturation etc.).