How To

The Seedy Goodness of Pomegranates

One of the things that gets me out of my winter funk is the promise of pomegranates. These ruby globes are ready for harvest just when it starts to get cold outside (October-ish) until around February.

I’m a total pomegranate fangirl. They’re tasty, pretty, and a powerhouse of antioxidants. Of course I didn’t know the last bit of detail when I was chomping down on the juicy arils (the edible stuff inside) as a kid. In case you were wondering, it’s okay to eat the seeds with the arils.

As kids, we ate it like a snack along with some of the rind and membrane (not by choice), stained our hands, faces and clothes, and tried to follow along as we sat with the women in our family for the latest installment of family gossip.

Aside from its tasty virtues, it’s also a symbolic fruit. In Chinese tradition, which my family maintained with some fusion of local Malay customs, pomegranates (石榴 – pronounced shí liú) symbolize fertility. Just look at the clusters of arils – luscious, red and many…well, you get the idea.

Maybe you’ve not had a pomegranate before. I admit, they are a little intimidating; how on earth are you supposed to get to the good stuff inside? I’ve been asked so many times, I decided to make a video about it.

Why not kick off your new year with this delicious dare: crack open a pomegranate (somehow!), pick the arils out, and contemplate life for a minute as you munch on hundreds of those sweet arils.

It’s easier than you think. Let me say now anyone who’s ever opened up a pomegranate has their favorite technique. That’s okay – there’s more than one way to skin a…er, pomegranate.

Unless you’re after pomegranate juice, here are some ground rules:

One: Avoid cutting into the seeds

Two: Do not cut into the seeds

Three: Don’t murder the seeds. (They will bleed and stain you.)

What I’m saying is, avoid cutting straight through the fruit if you want nice, intact seeds. So here goes:

  1. With a paring knife, make a shallow cut to remove the “crown” from the fruit. Be careful not to cut too deep into the seeds.
  2. Using the tip of the knife, cut out the top inner core of the fruit.
  3. Make a shallow cut at the bottom of the fruit.
  4. Look for ridges on the fruit and lightly score along each ridge, from top to bottom. (The ridges signal the natural segments of the fruit.)
  5. With both hands on the fruit, pull the fruit open. It will naturally open along the scored segments.
  6. Immerse the segments in a bowl of water and gently “roll” the arils away from the segments. The water will help to gently ‘float” them away.
  7. Lift out any floating membrane (white stuff) from the water then pass the contents through a sieve.
  8. And there you have it, your hard-earned reward of sweet, scrumptious pomegranate arils.

Dig in and enjoy the fruits of your labor (bad pun here), or sprinkle some of those gorgeous arils on salad or even rice.  Well done! Let me know how it turns out for you !

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