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How to Freeze Pomegranate Seeds and Juice

One of the easiest ways to reap the health benefits of pomegranate seeds and juice is to use them in smoothies, but fresh pomegranate fruit can be quite expensive when it is not in season. The good news is that both pomegranate seeds and juice freeze well, so next time your local grocery store has a special on fresh pomegranate, you might want to buy some extra pomegranates and freeze their seeds and/or juice for later use. Below, we provide step-by-step instructions on how to freeze pomegranate seeds (aka arils) and juice.

Pomegranate Seeds

Equipment Needed for Freezing Pomegranate

Gather the equipment before you start. You will need:

  • A sharp knife for cutting the fruit
  • A spoon or a pomegranate deseeder to get the seeds out
  • A rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or an ice cube tray
  • Plastic wrap (unless you intend to freeze your pomegranate seeds or juice in an ice cube tray that has a lid)
  • Zip-lock bags or containers you can put in the freezer (glass freezer containers with tight-fitting lids are a good option if you are trying to reduce your exposure to BPA)
  • Permanent marker and labels

How to Freeze Pomegranate Seeds (Arils)

  1. Select pomegranates that have a deep red color and that are heavy for their size.
  2. Open the pomegranates using a sharp knife, and transfer the juicy red seeds, also known as arils, into a bowl.
  3. Fill the compartments of an ice cube tray with the pomegranate seeds. Or, allow the seeds to dry and then arrange them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Cover the ice cube tray or baking sheet, and place it in the freezer.
  5. Once the pomegranate seeds are frozen, remove the ice cube tray or baking sheet from the freezer.
  6. Put the frozen pomegranate cubes or seeds in freezer-safe bags or containers, and pop them back into the freezer.

How to Freeze Pomegranate Juice

  1. Pick pomegranates that are heavy for their size— they are the juiciest.
  2. Juice the pomegranates. One way to do this is to break fresh pomegranate arils by pulsing them in a blender and then use a rubber spatula to push the juice through a fine sieve.
  3. Fill the sections of an ice cube tray with the pomegranate juice, cover the tray and place it in the freezer.
  4. Once frozen, transfer the pomegranate juice cubes to freezer-safe containers or bags, leaving as little air inside as possible, and return to the freezer for storage.

Fresh vs Frozen Pomegranate

Fresh pomegranate is an excellent source of antioxidants. In one study, researchers compared the antioxidant activity of pomegranate juice and green tea, along with red wine, and found that the tested pomegranate juices had significantly higher antioxidant activity than green tea and red wine (1).

But what happens to the antioxidants in pomegranate seeds and juice when they are frozen? A study published in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of Food Science and Technology provides interesting insights into the effects of freezing on antioxidant compounds in pomegranate juice. After 20 days of frozen storage at -25°C, or -13°F, the anthocyanin content of pomegranate juice had dropped by 11 percent, the level of phenolic compounds had decreased by 29 percent, and the amount of ellagic acid had gone down by 15 percent. What's more, the overall antioxidant activity of the juice had decreased by 50 percent. (2) So, the bottom line is, when it comes to antioxidant properties, fresh pomegranate appears to be better than frozen pomegranate.

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