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Pomegranates: Simplified

12 Jan

When I was young, long before I knew of the various health benefits of pomegranates, I loved to eat them. 

I have not eaten many poms in adulthood, however, because of the hassle of opening them. I guess I’ve gotten lazy.  Or, maybe it has something to do with the fact that adults have to clean up their own messes…

If you have never tried to separate one yourself, and have only bought the bottled juice or the ready-to-eat arils, you may not know how messy and awkward opening a pomegranate can be, or about the dark juice staining your fingers and clothing… and, oh, whatever else it may touch.

Then again, perhaps you have heard about it, and that is why you never bothered to attempt it.

Once, I cheerfully bought a package of ready-to-eat pomegranate, cleverly saving myself the trouble.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to eat the entire package on my own, and I don’t like to waste food, so I encouraged one of the children to try some.  Well, he tried some alright, but unbeknownst to me the arils had been in the refrigerator too long by then, and they had fermented.  Pomegranate wine, anyone?

This wasn’t the first time a child in this house acted like I had poisoned him.  I am a good cook — a safe cook! —  don’t worry.  There is simply a flair for drama around here.  But, you never can tell when it might be a legitimate response, so I ate an aril myself, just to prove that I think they are very tasty, and it wasn’t some kind of mean trick I had played on the kid.

The taste was similar to the smell of rubbing alcohol.  Just…so awful.  I probably made the same pained face that he did.  Another lesson learned.  Now I always taste things before offering them.  Oh, and I don’t eat pomegranate arils if they are purple instead of red.

Oops!  Now I’m making pomegranates sound very unappealing with my anecdote.  Normally, poms are great, I promise.  I especially enjoy them in salads, but I’ll eat them straight. 

Someone recently told me about an underwater method of preparing pomegranates and I decided to try it out.  I was quite pleased with the results.

If you have ever been tempted by the sight of a whole pomegranate in the market, but felt intimidated by it, you might be interested in trying this method.

Basic directions: Cut off the top or crown of the pomegranate and make shallow cuts in the outside peel, following the natural sections of the fruit.  Fill a large bowl with water.  (I used a pot.)  Pull apart the sections and loosen the arils in the water.  The white membrane will float and the arils will sink.  Remove the membrane and strain the arils.  Enjoy.

Readers who prefer to SEE the process can find some illustrated directions here.  (Thanks to eHow.com)

I tried it with a hardened, older pomegranate which is why I didn’t take pictures of it myself.  Mine had lost its luscious red color and looked dry and highly unsuitable for promotional material.  Opening my particular pomegranate was a bit tricky because the skin was no longer flexible.  Ideally, I think the peel should bend back.  It was more of a breaking apart process with my hardened peel, but I was still able to remove the arils underwater without a mess.  I’m sure it would be even easier with a fresher pomegranate.

I tested an aril just to be safe (like I said, lesson learned), but truthfully, I didn’t have a use for so much pomegranate today.  Since I had opened an older fruit to begin with, I was obviously concerned about repeating the fermentation incident.  Luckily, pomegranate arils can be frozen or dried.  I decided to freeze the arils to toss into some muffins at a later date.

Persimmons are pretty good, too… but, I haven’t figured them out yet!

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15 Responses to “Pomegranates: Simplified”

  1. Magnificent Minimalist January 12, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    Oooooh The underwater method of peeling pomegranates sounds actually useful! I get poms in my produce boxes, and always look at them longingly as they age and then decompose in my fruitbowl. I’ll try this next time!

    • acleansurface January 12, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

      They do make a nice centerpiece, but eating them is even better.

  2. somethingnewplease January 12, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    I may try this. For the same reason you cited, I have not ate many in the last however many years. They are a hassle. Somewhat like lobster, which I have ate a little of, but which I usually make some smaller, younger person pull apart for me first.

    I would use the same method for pomegranates, only the juice stains things and would be a bigger mess to clean up.

    • acleansurface January 12, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

      Smaller, younger people can be useful. I wouldn’t give one a pomegranate, though.

  3. Currie Rose January 13, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    Thanks for the tip. I don’t eat them because they are messy and more of a hassle than I would like… and I’m a grown up and have to clean my own messes now… Very interesting tip indeed. 🙂

    • acleansurface January 13, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

      Currie, I guess my feelings about pomegranates are pretty universal. =)

  4. notesfromrumbleycottage January 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    I have messed with persimmons before. It is best to have a sieve with a mortar in order to render their delicious meat. The pits are too numerous in my opinion to get out the most of the fruit by hand.

    • acleansurface January 16, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

      Hmm. I think the persimmons I have tasted have been sliced. I know there are different kinds. I will have to do some research on what to do with them.

      • notesfromrumbleycottage February 1, 2011 at 9:58 am #

        Persimmons are very tart unless they are ripe. The way to know they are ripe from the tree is that they fall to the ground easily, especially if you give the tree a shake. I have never had sliced persimmon, only rendered into pie or muffins.

      • acleansurface February 1, 2011 at 10:07 am #

        I had it in a salad, RumblyCottage. I may need to ask the hostess about it. I like tartness.

  5. melodydemone January 17, 2011 at 2:50 am #

    Excellent, I would agree, the problems seem universal, thanks for this method, cos I am too lazy to have figured that out myself!

  6. whathappensafter5 February 1, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    I’m so glad to know this! I adore pomegranates!!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog – I hope you’ll come back!

    • acleansurface February 1, 2011 at 10:04 am #

      Poms are pretty special. I hope YOU will come back, WhatHappens. =)

  7. idiosyncraticeye March 3, 2011 at 4:16 am #

    Arils?! Now that’s a cool word. 🙂

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