Pomegranate trees were cultivated in Egypt during the 18th Dynasty, at the beginning of the second millennium BC. Pomegranates were introduced to Europe by the Arabs.

There are 1,200 pomegranate varieties, sometimes cultivated for the beauty of their flowers, sometimes for the fruits. Each variety is linked to a specific region and a producing country, however the market-leading pomegranate variety is the Wonderful variety.

India is the largest producer of pomegranates, ahead of Iran, the United States, Turkey and Spain.

Pomegranates are increasingly consumed around the world for their antioxidant properties.

Pomegranates do not ripen after harvesting, which means that they must be picked when fully ripe to ensure the best taste quality.

For harvesting, different indicators are used.

Maturity indicators

  • Colour
  • Juice colour
  • Juice acidity

Quality indicators

  • Appearance: absence of cracks, cuts, wounds and rot
  • Skin colour
  • Texture
  • Flavour
  • Low tannin content (-25%)

AC storage reduces the cold damage of the grenades. They can be kept for up to six months under optimal O2 and CO2 levels.

Storage conditions :

  • Optimum temperature: depends on the length of storage
    • 5°C for more than 2 months
    • 7.2°C for long term storage, to avoid cold damage.
  • Relative humidity: 90 to 95%.
  • Ethylene: exposure of the fruit to ethylene concentrations of 1 ppm or more stimulates respiration and the rate of ethylene production, without affecting the internal quality components.

Cold damage :

  • Brownish discoloration of the skin
  • Increased susceptibility to rot
  • Pale colour of the seeds (pulp around the kernel) and a brown discolouration of the white partitions separating the lodges on which the seeds are fixed
  • Scalding of the bark
  • Brown discoloration of the skin

Diseases :

  • Heart rot: The disease develops when the fruit is on the tree

  • Controlling O2 and CO2 levels and temperature during storage
  • Controlling relative humidity levels and storage methods to avoid softening: Pomegranate is a fruit subject to softening when it loses water. It is advisable to store the fruit in plastic film, or to apply wax to cover it to counteract this effect.
  • Maintain an ethylene concentration of 1 ppm or more to stimulate the respiration of the fruit

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