The pomegranate, a fruit that is native to Persia, only recently has come into vogue among health-conscious Americans. Pomegranates are a rich source of both vitamins and antioxidants, touted for lowering cholesterol and preventing such diseases as cancer and heart disease. The fruit, now widely grown in California, is available at most large supermarkets and health food chains. It is eaten by slicing it open, separating and discarding the bitter white tissue and then eating or sucking on the interior sacs, which contain sweet reddish pulp and a seed. Selecting a ripe pomegranate takes a bit of practice but is well worth the effort.
Be prepared to do a lot of touching. Pomegranates that aren't fully ripe can be bitter so it's best to feel your way around the produce section to find one that's just right.
Look for fruits with a distinctive dark or bright red color. Any hint of green indicates the fruit is not yet ripe, although some fruits that are pinkish on either end and red in the middle are perfectly ripe.
Look for any abrasions or cracks. A cracked pomegranate, even if it is red, may be past maturity.
Weigh the pomegranate in your hand. The heavier the fruit, the more full of juice it is--another indicator of ripeness.
Rap the fruit on the side with your knuckles. Ripe pomegranates tend to make a metallic sound.