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.

Now 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.

Pomegranates on Tree

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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Showing 4 of 15 Comments

  • nm

    One way we like to eat pomegranates is to seed them in a bowl and eat them with a spoon.

  • Annette

    Our first pom bush was planted in 1996…and only gave us 4 the first year. Each year since, it has multiplied by 3. Some years have been somewhat scant, because windstorms blew off the blossoms, but the poms that held on were much bigger in those years. I have 4 pomegranate bushes trees, now. Two of the Wonderful variety and two of the Sweet variety. We harvest anywhere from 30-400 pomegranates a year, depending on when the blossoms come and the winds blow. I’ve learned many things about pomegranates. The best way to know when they are ripe is that they just start to split the outer skin (not necessarily all the way through.) This year was cooler much longer in the San Joaquin Valley (Tracy CA), so our crop was fairly late this year. I usually pick them from Halloween to Veteran’s Day…and then work on them till Thanksgiving. I’ve gathered up lots of recipes for jelly, pom ginger muffins, syrup and even pomegranate curd, over the years. I do have “pom clothes” black shirts/stained pants. To process them, we cut off the ends and score the outer skin. Soak them in a basin of water and break them apart under water, after about 10 minutes. This year, I put up a vinyl tablecloth underneath and behind the cutting board and heavy duty citrus press juicer I use. I also had dishwashing gloves that I used just for working on the pomegranates – so my hands wouldn’t get stained. This year, we have about 15 qts of juice from 350 poms. I freeze the juice in 3.5 cup rations…so it’s enough to make a batch of jelly – or enough to use in recipes for other things. You can also boil it down…and use it in marinade.

  • latisha

    wow. you’ve done it again. topped my google search.

    we recently bought a flat of poms too (lemon cukes were my other purchase) from the same farmer here in AZ.

    love all these ideas. thank you!

  • Fred Bozarth

    Pomegranate trees are available from Star Nursery. Should find them in California or Nevada.

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