There are a couple of ways to remove pomegranate seeds, but no matter which method you try, getting all those tiny seeds out of the giant fruit is a lot of work. And since it's so much effort, and whole pomegranates are fairly expensive, you really want to make sure your pomegranate is ripe and the seeds are ready to be picked before you go through all that trouble. So how can you tell when a pomegranate is ripe, and the seeds inside are juicy and ready to eat?

Unfortunately, you're not going to learn much by looking at the color of a pomegranate, since it can vary from pink to dark red. Even scratches on the surface of the pomegranate aren't necessarily a sign to avoid a piece of fruit or that the seeds inside have gone bad. According to the experts at the Pomegranate Council, the best way to tell if a pomegranate is ripe is to hold it. "A good, ripe pomegranate should feel heavy, as if it’s very full of juice (which it is!)," they explain, adding, "and the skin should be firm and taut." Ripe pomegranates should be "heavy for their size," say the editors of the Los Angeles Times.

If you're having trouble figuring out which pomegranate is heavier, and therefore juicier, pick up a few to compare. Don't be afraid to take your time. After all, you're going to be spending a while taking out those seeds, so you might as well be sure you're getting the best ones possible before you start whacking away.

Once you've picked your pomegranate, the best way to store it so it stays fresh is to refrigerate it. If you keep it whole and in the fridge, the fruit will last for three to four weeks. Once you've deseeded the fruit, store pomegranate seeds in an airtight container in the fridge. The editors of Cook's Illustrated have found they'll stay fresh for up to five days—which is plenty of time to add them to everything you're eating.