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ingredients and techniques

Mastering the Pomegranate

meg's picture


Pomegranates are easy to love in theory. Beautiful ruby-colored orbs that promise flavor and abundant red flesh, pomegranates are a tart and lovely addition to salads (leafy salads as well as chicken and tuna salads), rice pilafs, fruit compotes, and as a topping for ice cream or custard-based tarts. As one of the few fruits that you can find in season during the winter months, pomegranates are also a welcome change from bananas and apples. Loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin C, wouldn't you know that these fruits are good for you, too?
The problem with pomegranates is really a matter of logistics. You, the fruit-hungry diner, are on the outside of the pomegranate and the juice-filled seeds are on the inside. All that stands between you and your tasty snack is a seemingly impossible, though deceptively innocent-looking hull. However, as anyone who has tried to eat a pomegranate will know, each of those delicious, jewel-like seeds is really a miniature explosion waiting to happen, and the same bright red juice that makes the fruit look so appealing in salads and the like can also stain your clothing and prove to be generally troublesome to the keeper of a clean kitchen.
The solution to this problem, however, is disarmingly simple. Before cutting into the pomegranate, fill a large bowl with cold water. Cut the pomegranate in quarters and place one quarter at a time in the bowl of water. Separate the seeds (which will sink to the bottom of the bowl) from the white pith (which will float), throw away the pith and the skin, and pour the water through a sieve to catch the seeds. Store the seeds, refrigerated, for up to a week. 


Dario's picture

Pretty cool I've previously used the Nigella Lawson mtheod with great success: cut in half, turn upside down over a bowl, whack with a wooden spoon until all seeds have fallen out :] Will make sure to try this out at some point!

meg's picture

I've tried the whacking-with-a-spoon method and been disappointed. Maybe the pomegranates I've been getting are tougher to seed.

Becky P's picture

This works very well. It's still more work than most fruit but it tastes so good that it's worth a little effort.

erica ragusa's picture

I just purchased Louisa Shafia's cookbook the New Persian Kitchen which contains many savory recipes containing pomegranate as an ingredient, so I am looking forward to trying out some new dishes using pomegranate seeds. My question is, do people actually eat the whole seed? Or is it meant to be spit out?

meg's picture

I believe the whole seed is meant to be eaten (in any case, it is certainly harmless!), but I'm sure it's also a matter of preference and politesse. I always swallow the seeds, but I can see the texture being an issue for some. If that is the case, just have a small bowl at the ready. Happy cooking!

jerseysuek's picture

I just couldn't use the water method! All that lovely juice lost. Whacking the back of the fruit works perfectly for me. I cut it in quarters, put a bowl in the sink, hold the quarter face down in my hand over the bowl and then gently, but firmly give the skin a couple of whacks. I remove 90-95% of the seeds this way then pick out the rest. Just finished a bowlful waiting for a pie to bake. Couldn't be easier!!

jerseysuek's picture

you eat the whole thing. sometimes though the juice is only wanted and then it would be filtered to remove the seeds. Eating them whole is rather crunchy but delish!

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