Pomegranates (photo)

Pomegranates

One of my earliest memories is that of using money my grandmother had given me to buy candy to buy a pomegranate instead. Oh, I loved them. I loved the fact that we kids had to dress up special in our worst clothes in order to eat them. We had to eat them outside, too (it’s still pretty warm in November in Los Angeles where we lived when I was a kid), and spit the seeds out into the shrubbery. Messy, juicy, sweet food that involves sanctioned spitting? We were in heaven.

pomegranate-tree.jpgNow we have our own pomegranate tree and we get to hang out in pom heaven come every November. (No more seed spitting, we grown-ups eat them whole.) Here’s the thing to know about pomegranates (other than the juice stains) – just because the fruit is red doesn’t mean that the seeds inside are ripe. We don’t pick our pomegranates until they begin to burst at the seams. This usually happens a few days after a rain. The seeds absorb the moisture and the skin cannot contain them anymore. Once the skin has cracked to reveal the seeds the pomegranates must be picked immediately, and used up quickly, or they will get moldy.

The best way to get to the seeds is to carefully cut out the crown. Score the pomegranate with a sharp knife from crown to stem end in several (5 to 8) lines, following the soft ridges of the side of the pomegranate if you can see them. Then place your thumbs in the hole left by the crown and pull the pomegranate apart. Tear away the connecting membranes and remove the seeds over a large bowl. You can do this over a bowl half filled with water if you want. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the membrane will float on the top. Skim off the membrane and strain the seeds of water. To juice them, put the seeds in a blender and pulse a few times, just enough to break up all the seeds. Let the mixture sit for a minute for the hard seed bits to settle and pour through a strainer. Add sugar to taste. (See step-by-step photos in How to Cut and De-Seed a Pomegranate.)

Here are a few pomegranate recipes you’ll find here on Simply Recipes:

Here are some terrific food blogs with recipes, tips, and discussions regarding pomegranates:

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