Mastering pomegranates

Pomegranate

One way to add holiday color (and great flavor) to a dish is to sprinkle some pomegranate seeds (actually, technically, they're "arils" not seeds) on top, especially along with some minced parsley or mint. (Try it on cauliflower - it's positively beautiful.)

Of course that may be easier said than done, given that you need to have the pomegranate seeds on hand and pomegranates do pose a challenge in seeding (talk about spraying juice everywhere) and storing (refrigerate or no?). So here are three tips about pomegranates, courtesy of the Food Republic's 11 Things You Didn't Know About Pomegranates and Real Simple, that might make things easier:

1) There are two conventional ways to seed pomegranates. The violent way to remove pomegranate seeds involves whacking: "Cut a pomegranate in half horizontally. Hold one half, cut side down, into a relatively deep bowl. Smack the uncut side of the fruit with a spatula, meat pounder or other blunt object. Watch the seeds fall out. Repeat with second half. Enjoy."

Alternatively, you can score the pomegranate and then submerge it in a bowl of water and gently pry it apart into sections. Working in the water, pick out the seeds from the membrane. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the surface.

Both these methods are demonstrated in this video at Real Simple.

2) Pomegranates freeze easily: "The average pomegranate can contain anywhere from 200 to 1,400 arils - which can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, arils can be frozen for up to three months. Here's how: spread arils in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and leave them, uncovered, in the freezer for about two hours. Then, transfer them to an airtight container or Ziploc baggie of your choice."

3) Whole pomegranates store easily: "Pomegranates do not continue to develop sugars after they're harvested, so, once picked, they remain ripe. Keep them in your refrigerator and they are good to go for up to two months."

Enjoy!

6 Comments

  • manycookbooks  on  12/16/2013 at 12:23 PM

    Until a severe freeze a in 2010, I had been harvesting pomegranates from our tree for nearly 20 years. We lost most of the main trunks, but new shoots sprang up about a year later and it is stable now, but probably won't be bearing any more fruit in my lifetime! The 'under the water' method I find the easiest, but it helps to wear rubber gloves because the acids in the fruit will turn your fingers a strange colour of yellow! Pomegranate juice is also wonderful and after juicing and straining, can be poured into ice cube trays for later use in drinks and sauces, etc. I do wish I had frozen more instead of eating them before our big freeze. They are very expensive in the store, the larger ones going for upwards of $2.00 per piece.

  • rivergait  on  12/16/2013 at 2:28 PM

    I also have home-grown pomegranates...about 300 huge ones this year. I have used the suggestions above, but prefer to just "core" the top, cut lightly into the hemisphere skin, pry apart, and score lightly about 5 times around the resulting rims. Oh...and wear an old long-sleeved T-shirt. I drop a cup into a baggie and freeze. One cup defrosted makes a nice serving, and I entice the grandkids to eat these healthy fruits by serving a custard-cup-full as a "salad" or snack. It becomes a challenge to eat last year's before this year's come in.

  • boardingace  on  12/16/2013 at 3:57 PM

    Very informative! @ Manycookbooks, thanks for the tip about wearing gloves - I work with pomegranates only a few times a year, so this is a good reminder! I also use the under water method because that's just how I was taught. What a pretty fruit!

  • bookpoet  on  12/17/2013 at 9:47 AM

    Thank you or the tip about freezing the seeds! I never would have thought of that.

  • Suirauqa  on  12/20/2013 at 3:47 AM

    If you roll the pomegranate and apply a little pressure at the same time the arils/seeds will drop out easily when you cut the pomegranate open.

  • Jane  on  12/20/2013 at 9:41 PM

    rivergait - I'm so jealous that you have an "excess" of pomegranate seeds. I'm obsessed with them but in Massachusetts I have to pay $2 each. I'm currently steeping Jamie's spiced pomegranate gin, which we have on EYB.

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