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!