Pom Pom

My favorite blog contributor (and dear friend), Katie, is here to take it away! Katie always has gems, treasures and stories to share with us, and we are all so lucky to have her contribute to this blog. I always learn so much from her — bits and pieces I never knew I needed to know — thank you so much, Katie! Read more to find out all about pomegranates! Promise you will learn so much!

 

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Winter is not exactly known for incredible produce, but that is part of what makes pomegranates so special.  Only in season from late October through February (in the northern hemisphere), pomegranate seeds are a perfect balance of sweet n’ tart that pop in your mouth in a satisfyingly juicy way.  Plus pomegranates are one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

 

Chock full of fiber, nutrients and antioxidants, pomegranates are a “super food” known for their anti-inflammatory effects and are believed to help prevent a wide range of ailments and disease.   The fruit’s delicious seeds are called arils. They add brilliant red color and dimension to salads, they are delicious topped on yogurt, cottage cheese or even ice cream, or you can simply enjoy them plain by the spoonful.

 

There are a few things that prevent some people from enjoying them at home more regularly though: they are expensive to buy pre-seeded, it’s tricky to know when they are ripe if you buy them whole, and they are intimidating to de-seed.  Plus, the juice stains everything.  But don’t let any of that prevent you from enjoying these amazing fruits this winter.  Below is all you need to know about how to enjoy winter’s best bounty, that is the all-powerful pomegranate.

 

Determining the ripeness of these amazing fruits is step one, and it’s somewhat counterintuitive.  A bright red, shiny, and unmarked pomegranate is actually one to avoid. It may look pretty, but it is not ripe.

 

You want one that is slightly dull in sheen with the brownish discoloration happening evenly across its skin as seen here: perfectly ripe.

Turn the pom over and look at its bottom – you want to see “scratches” that are greyish brown in color and look like scrapes in the skin coming from its core, up along the sides of the fruit like this one. However, avoid ones with any palpable soft spots or obvious bruises.

Now, deseeding is the fun part! All you need is a knife and cutting board, a large bowl, and a strainer.

Cut the fruit into quarters. Cut slowly so that you don’t cause juice to spray everywhere; you might want to wear an apron and be ready to wipe up any sprayed droplets right away with a paper towel.

Quarters.

Fill a large bowl with tepid (ie room temp) water.  Too cold will be hard on your hands and too warm isn’t good for the fruit.

Take each quarter and submerge it in the water and start breaking it apart with your fingers to free the arils.  I’m holding it out of the water here to show you, but do all of the pulling apart UNDER the water so you prevent the juice from spraying out.

Massage gently to find the arils in every nook and cranny of the pulp.  Toss the empty rinds.

Empty rinds to be thrown out. You will have to separate some individual arils apart from the pulp with your fingers to get every last one of them.  If you notice some in patches that are discolored or deep brown in color just leave them in the fruit and toss them (those are bruised and icky ones).

 

You can scoop out the big pieces of pulp and pluck out any little pieces that you can catch.  But the other great thing about pomegranates is the pulp is not bitter at all and is totally edible and really good for you.  So, if some small pieces of the pulp remain, don’t worry about it – it’s just more  healthy fiber for you.

Then simply strain the fruit.

 

Put the arils in an airtight container and refrigerate.  Note that the arils start to ferment in about five (5) days, so you want to eat them promptly.  This is also why if you buy them de-seeded from a store they often have already started to ferment by the time you open their packaging…they smell like nail polish remover when they start to go bad. Eww.

 

Eat them plain, top them on anything, but enjoy some pomegranates now while you still can before Spring arrives.

 

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Thank you, Katie, for teaching us so much on the art of peeling and eating pomegranates. So much better than spending $10 for a tiny jar that is already seeded and smells like nail polish! I personally love eating pomegranates in green salads or by the handful!

 

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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