The other day I stopped by my friend Britanie’s house to borrow a book and she also sent me home with some beautiful pomegranates that she got from Bountiful Baskets. (Those of you in the Boise area, my friend is also the coordinator for a new pick-up location right here! I believe it begins mid November in Meridian.) I thought this would be the perfect time to take some pictures and do a quick tutorial.
Pomegranates show up in stores right about now, and I know a lot of people who don’t buy them because they have no idea what to do with them. If that’s you, then I challenge you to pick one up next time you’re at the store and just eat it for fun! I love introducing fun, seasonal foods like this to my kids. The fact that it’s a “superfood” is a bonus. My boys had never tried a pomegranate before and they loved it. If you’ve never tried one, basically you break it open and pull out the little seeds (called arils) that are surrounded in a translucent, ruby colored coating that bursts with juice when you eat it. If you don’t like straight up pomegranate juice (like me) then know that the fruit itself is sweeter.
Now you can just cut the thing in half and have at it, but you might end up with bright red juice all over you. Here’s some easy steps to what I’ve found to be the easiest and cleanest way to handle a pomegranate.
1. Cut the top
Take a sharp knife (serrated works best) and slice off the top of the pomegranate, just below the stem. You’ll see there are distinct sections:
2. Score the skin
Using those segments as your guideline, just score the outer skin of the pomegranate, from top to bottom. You don’t want or need to cut all the way through the fruit, just the skin.
3. Break apart
Now you can easily break the segments apart with your fingers. Since you didn’t cut all the way through the fruit, all of the arils should be in tact and it shouldn’t be too messy. Aren’t those gorgeous?
4. Remove the arils (seeds)
The fleshy arils will easily come out with your fingers. Just bend back the skin and pull them out with your hands. Or as many mentioned in the comments you can just whack the back with a wooden spoon and they fall out easily as well.
I like to use the water method. Fill a medium sized bowl with water and remove the seeds right over the bowl- or even under the water. The seeds will fall to the bottom and any white parts will float to the top. Any juice that comes out will go straight in the water and wash off.
Remove any white pith that is floating in the water and discard. Pour the remaining contents of the bowl into a strainer over the sink.
Give them a quick rinse with cold water and they’re all ready to eat!
Honestly, my favorite way to eat them is just like this:
Plain, with my fingers. But you can also think of them as sprinkles of sorts! They’re delicious sprinkled into salads, especially in place of recipes that use dried cranberries. Try them in this Candied Walnut Salad, or this Summer Strawberry Salad, or this Sweet and Salty Salad Wrap. They also work great sprinkled on top of desserts. Try sprinkling on top of your whipped cream over pumpkin or apple pie, or even on ice cream! Since Pomegranates are so trendy right now you can find tons of recipes on the internet for both sweet and savory dishes.
How Top Pick a Ripe Pomegranate: Unlike fruits such as bananas and mangoes that are picked when unripened, pomegranates aren’t picked until they’re ripe and ready to eat, so technically if it’s in the store, it should be ripe. That being said, sometimes you get ones that are better than others. Definitely feel for weight, a heavier fruit means the more juice inside. Also avoid any fruits that are shriveled, bruised, or have super soft spots.
Freezer Instructions: Lay arils in a single layer on a flat plate or baking sheet. Place in freezer 1-2 hours. When completely frozen, place in freezer safe container or zip top bag. Frozen seeds are especially great added to smoothies for an icy nutrient boost!
Juicing Instructions (From pomegranates.org)
It will take 2-3 Pomegranates to yield about 1 C juice
Cut the fresh pomegranate in half as you would a grapefruit. We recommend using a hand-press juicer to juice a pomegranate. If you use an electric juicer, take care not to juice the membrane, so that the juice remains sweet. Strain the juice through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Caution, pomegranate juice stains.
Place 1-1/2 to 2 cups seeds in a blender; blend until liquefied.
Pour through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Caution, pomegranate juice stains.
On a hard surface, press the palm of your hand against a pomegranate and gently roll to break all of the seeds inside (crackling stops when all seeds have broken open). Pierce the rind and squeeze out juice or poke in a straw and press to release juice. Caution, pomegranate juice stains. NOTE: Rolling can be done inside a plastic bag to contain juice that leaks through the skin.
Nutrition Information: Pomegranates are loaded with nutrients and are a great source of fiber!
What do you guys do with Pomegranates?
And if you’re looking for some Halloween fun this weekend, check out this great post on Easy Halloween Party Food!