All About Pomegranate
Pomegranates are bulbous red fruits loved for their juicy, antioxidant rich seeds. Inside these leathery scarlet orbs are chambers of plump, crunchy seeds coated in a ruby colored juice pulp called “aril”. The aril covers the soft, edible pomegranate seed in a nectarous juice with a flavor reminiscent of sweet cranberry.
If you’ve ever wondered how to eat a pomegranate, you’re in the right place! Preparing pomegranate seeds is very easy once you know how. We’ll teach you how to prepare a pomegranate like a pro so that you can start sprinkling their seeds into salads, drinks, juices and more.
The rind of a pomegranate has a smooth, deep red skin on the outside, with a dense, spongy pith inside that gives the fruit its leathery texture and hearty structure. Inside, the pith is shaped into chambers with a payload of hundreds of individual, droplet shaped seeds coated in a smooth sack of red juice.
In this article we’ll show you how to make quick work of the pomegranate so that you can get to snacking on those wonderful little seeds, pronto.
Slicing A Pomegranate
There’s more than one way to slice a pomegranate, and everyone has a favorite method. Each includes making cuts to the pomegranate peel so that you can easily retrieve the seed bunches from the labyrinth inside.
Here are the most common ways to slice a pomegranate:
- Water Bowl: Cutting open a pomegranate takes a little practice, and this is a great way to start. First, prepare a bowl of cold or tepid water. Then, cut pomegranate in half with a sharp chef knife and place one half in the bowl. Use your hands to gently break open the rind and release the seeds. This allows the seeds to gather at the bottom of the water bowl while easily removing the pieces of inedible pomegranate rind that float to the top. Pour the remaining water and pomegranate seeds through a colander or sieve, and store the seeds in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Score: Using a sharp knife, make an incision most of the way through the pomegranate skin, around the entire lengthwise circumference of the fruit. Then, pry the fruit in half with your fingers to reveal the seeds inside and gently scoop them out with a small spoon. Another way to do this is to begin by cutting the pomegranate in half with a chef knife, then score the skin of each half four or five times. Hold the half, open side down, over a bowl and give the pomegranate a firm whack. The seeds should dislodge easily and land in the bowl. Some pomegranate fans believe freezing the pomegranate makes seeds dislodge easier when using this method.
Pomegranate’s tart, earthy and sweet seeds are welcome in countless dishes from breakfast to midnight snacks. Here are just a few of the most popular ways pomegranate is used in cooked recipes.
- Marinades + dressings: Use juicy pomegranate seeds for flavorful acidity in meat, tofu and vegetable marinades or in homemade vinaigrettes for flavorful dressings.
- Baking: pomegranate can be baked into muffins, scones and pastries.
- Confection: The unique combination of bitter, sweet and tart of pomegranate is delicious in jams, jellies and candy making.
- Salads: sprinkle raw pomegranate seeds on fruit, vegetable, pasta, lentil and rice salads.
Pomegranate seeds add complex sweetness to beverage recipes. Not only do their seeds impart their signature red hue to drinks, pomegranate adds a pleasant bitter note to drinks that’s similar to cranberries and currants, but with more tart sweetness.
Here are some easy ways use pomegranate in your drinks:
- Juicing: Feed pulpy pomegranate seeds into your juicer for a healthy dose of omegas from the crunchy, edible seeds. Pomegranate pairs well with less tart fruits like pear, strawberry, raspberry, apple and sweet citrus.
- Cocktails: Particularly around the holidays, pomegranates shine in festive cocktails based in just about any spirit you can think of. Pitcher and delicate mixed drink recipes include pomegranate for a bitter and tart component with complex berry flavor
- Smoothies: Fresh or frozen pomegranate seeds are a popular addition to smoothies and blended drinks.
- Water: Make your everyday water more interesting by stirring in heaping spoonfuls of pomegranate seeds. Use frozen pomegranate seeds to keep the water in your bottle colder (and tastier) for longer!