It feels like a miracle suitable to the season that pomegranates come into the marketplace just when the color red is most in vogue. I love to arrange a big bowl as a centerpiece in lieu of flowers since they’re not just beautiful to look at, but delicious to eat. They’re also mega-nourishing, like tiny antioxidant bombs that are high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
That said, pomegranates can be a little intimidating. A lot of folks pass them by because they’re not quite sure how to get those tiny seeds out of there. Plus, that gorgeous pink juice can ruin a good blouse faster than a toddler with a chocolate bar.
So, after playing around with a few techniques for cracking into a pomegranate, I’ve settled on a practically painless approach that minimizes the mess. Here’s how:
Set a large bowl in the kitchen sink and fill it with water. Take a sturdy, sharp knife and cut an X about two inches into the top of the pomegranate. Immerse the pomegranate in the bowl of water, wedge your thumbs into the fruit and crack it open into several chunks. Use your thumbs to loosen the seeds from the pith. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the pith and skin will float to the top. Once all the seeds are extracted, scoop up the pith and discard. Pour the seeds into a strainer. An average size pomegranate will yield about one cup of seeds.
Now, what to do with all those bright red beauties? Here are a few ideas:
Enjoy as a snack — My kids eat them like popcorn. They’re a lunchbox favorite packed in little containers with a spoon.
Toss in a salad — Throw a handful in a fall salad. The color is set off particularly well amongst the dark leaves of spinach or arugula along with toasted nuts and a good vinaigrette.
Stir into grains dishes — Add pomegranate seeds to cooked rice, quinoa, farro, or other grains to add color and tang.
Add to fruit salad — Pomegranate seeds marry well with other fall fruits, particularly persimmons and pears. Dice up your favorites along with the pomegranate seeds to enjoy with plain yogurt and a drizzle of honey for breakfast or even dessert.
Blend into juice — Whirl pomegranate seeds in a blender or food processor. Strain through a cheese cloth-lined colander or fine mesh strainer to separate the juice from the seeds.
Use as a garnish — Sprinkle over everything from cupcakes to custard to add a bit of interest.
Mix a Pretty in Pink Cocktail — A combination of sparkling wine, pomegranate juice, and a spoonful of pomegranate seeds makes for a festive cocktail this time of year.
When buying a pomegranate, look for one that feels heavy for its size. Store at room temperature for several days or in the fridge for at least a month. Extracted pomegranate seeds can also be frozen.
If you haven’t tried pomegranates, give them a go. Kids tend to like tangy flavors, which is perhaps why pomegranates go over so well. If your little ones need some encouragement, let them know that the sticky, bright syrup that transforms a glass of 7-Up into a Shirley Temple comes from, you got it, pomegranates.
How do you eat pomegranates in your house?