Pomegranates—A Labor of Love & Health
By Matthew J. Blackburn, Food Genius
Despite the abundance of articles and posts claiming there is an easy way to liberate pomegranate seeds from their pith (aka fake news), it is still a labor-intensive task. Do not let that deter you from enjoying the sweet “seed-apple” gems. With a little practice, you will master the process and reap the health-intensive benefits and delectable flavor of the pomegranate.
This Persian and Sub-Himalayan (North Indian) native shrub is known for being one of the most nutritionally rich fruits in the world. Pomegranates, and its juice are known for containing extremely powerful antioxidants—punicalagin and punicic acid.
Although more research is needed, pomegranate’s anti-inflammatory properties have reduced disease symptoms, improved brain function and aided in overall body health in study subjects.
If all this sounds too good to be true, trust that just a cup of pomegranate seeds contains 24 grams of sugar and 144 calories rich in vitamin K (36% RDA), vitamin C (30% RDA), folate (16% RDA), potassium (12% RDA), and have 7 grams of fiber and 3 grams protein.
Pomegranates are found at California farmers’ markets from August through December. Select a pomegranate that is heavy for its size and not split or bruised. Store your pomegranate in the refrigerator if you do not plan to eat or process it right away—the chill not only extends the life of your super fruit, it also makes the seeds, or arils, easier to remove. Keep in mind, the fresher your pomegranate, the easier it will be to collect the seeds.
Don an apron or a shirt that you won’t mind sacrificing to the pomegranate gods—this could get messy. Expect to invest five to 20 minutes per pomegranate. Remember, this is a labor of love—and health. Put your favorite playlist on shuffle, breathe deeply and trust the process.
Place your pomegranates in a bowl of ice water for 5 to 10 minutes to make the skin firm.
Quarter the pomegranate from the flower end (stamen cluster) to the stem over a cutting board with a quarter-inch deep slit. Resist making a mess in your kitchen by slicing all the way through the pomegranate. The splash zone could be severe—hence the apron.
Over a clean bowl, press your thumbs into the flower and pull apart the fruit, letting the seeds fall into the bowl.
Take a quarter of the pomegranate in one hand and gently pull, flick, rub and jiggle the seeds out from the cold white pith.
Continue allowing the seeds to fall into the bowl by inverting the skin to expose more and more seeds. Discard of the white membrane and flesh into the compost or trash.
Cover the bowl and store your gems in the refrigerator for up to 4 or 5 days. Freeze any pomegranate seeds to don’t plan to eat within that time.
ADD TO YOUR FAVORITE FOODS!
Add pomegranate seeds to plain yogurt for an added burst of
flavor and a nice crunch. Garnish salads, dishes and desserts, or
eat a handful of them plain. Pomegranates also serve as a tasty
little flavor packet or sweetener when squeezed and added to
drinks for a touch of color and zing. Like lemon or lime, they
brighten up a glass of water or seltzer. Share your bounty of
tedious adoration with a loved one.