Friday’s food: Pomegranates

A Pomegranate
Open and ready for eating

Best not wear white.  OK, you can…but be prepared for splatters…and every one is so worth it! Since ancient times, this nutritious Middle Eastern fruit has been enjoyed in both sweet and savory preparations but pomegranates really shine when eaten out of hand – sort of.  Click here for more historical details.

Pomegranates also fit easily into the “Mediterranean Diet” style of eating: lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, olive oil, you know…stuff you’re already supposed to be eating regularly.

Why all the talking in riddles?  Well, getting those little seeds (arils) out intact for enjoyment can be a bit of a riddle in itself.  To reduce the chance of ruby-red juice stains, some people cut it in half, submerge in a bowl of water and pick out the arils.  Another effective method is to:

  • Over a bowl, score the peel into four sections from blossom to stem.
  • From blossom end, gently pry the fruit open following the cut edges.
  • Place the section peel side up in your palm and “spank” it firmly with a wooden spoon.
  • Continue with remaining sections and pick out any bits of membrane.
  • Be careful – spanking your hand can sting a bit!

Add arils to salads, use as a delicious garnish or recipe ingredient, or just eat them straight out of the bowl.

Juicing a pomegranate is quite another situation altogether.  You could use a reamer if you don’t mind looking like you escaped some gruesome murder scene.  Here is what one author suggests:

Place the whole, unpeeled pomegranate on a hard surface.  Press the palm of your hand against the fruit, then roll gently to break all the juice sacs inside…prick a hole and suck out the juice; or poke in a straw and do the same.
Elizabeth Schneider – Uncommon Fruits & Vegetables

Or you can buy a bottle of juice.

For more info, suggestions, and recipe ideas, visit the POM Council.

Grocery store bins are full to overflowing since fall to early winter is pomegranate season (juice is available year round in most stores).  Get yours today.

Image attribution

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