This is a pomegranate. Right now, we are at the tail-end of pomegranate season. They are still available at your local grocer for a reasonable price. A few weeks ago, at the peak of pomegranate season, I could find them for less than a dollar per fruit. I love pomegranate season first and foremost because my kiddos love pomegranate. At this time of year it's a healthy, inexpensive snack packed with dietary fiber, vitamins, and anti-oxidants. It's widely recognized as a "super food". You can read more about pomegranate nutrition information HERE.
Aside from the health benefits, I like pomegranates because their sweet-tart juice is a wonderful component in recipes. In desserts and drinks, and even savory main dishes, the pomegranate, or it's juice, add flavor and color. The seeds on their own are gorgeous. They are like little sparkling rubies in a bowl. Bedazzle your dinner party! They offer a burst of flavor when eaten and also serve as a lovely garnish.
Now that we've established that pomegranates are delicious, healthy, and in season, we need to discuss how you can get at all of that fruit once you're in the comfort of your own kitchen. Read on to see the 3 methods I have tried.
The Water Method
The first time I ever seeded a pomegranate was about 6 years ago. I used the water method. You can see a detailed description of the water method HERE. I like the water method because you get less pomegranate juice on your hands and the membrane floats to the top while the seeds drop to the bottom, making the membrane easy to skim off and discard.
The "Score and Pick" Method
Recently a friend posted a video about a new (to me) method for seeding the pomegranate on her Facebook page. You can view that clip HERE. The speed and efficiency with which that gentleman seeds a pomegranate are impressive. It's worth a watch.
I decided to employ this method with one of our pomegranates. It involves cutting off the top of the fruit, then scoring the sides. The fruit opens up in a way that exposes a large amount of the seeds. You still have to pick them out, but they are very accessible and this method is fairly quick and less messy than the "Whack It With A Spoon" method which is up next. Another plus is that you won't need to strain anything when you are finished. This method certainly gets my vote for the best way to "field dress" a pomegranate.
Here is a view of the inside of the skin and membrane once nearly every seed was removed using the "Score and Pick" Method.
And now for the preferred pomegranate seeding method in our household.....
The Whack-It-With-A-Spoon Method
You can watch a detailed video of this method HERE.
You just cut the pomegranate in half horizontally, then....
Turn it over a bowl and whack it with a wooden spoon until all of the seeds fall out. I love this method because it is the fastest and easiest... and in my opinion, the most fun! Even a 6-year old can do it. I have to admit that I also enjoy this method because I am amused by my daughter's pomegranate-whacking expressions. Sorry for the fuzzy photos, I guess it was too dark in my kitchen for my old camera to sharpen up the details.
Here is the pomegranate once the seeds have been removed using the "whacking" method.
As you can see, there is quite a bit of juice splatter involved when using this method. I'd recommend wearing an apron as pomegranate juice does stain.
As I mentioned, the most popular way to consume pomegranate in our home is straight from the fruit, as a snack. However, I do have a few favorite recipes that utilize pomegranate and they are perfect for this season. Maybe even a pomegranate-themed dinner? Sounds good to me....
And for dessert? Check out this Caramel Flan with Pomegranate Syrup.
And if you're in the market for a great holiday cocktail, the Pomtini's that I served at my in-law's anniversary party 5 years ago are still a favorite.
I hope that you all have a happy and healthy kickoff to this holiday season! Now go out and buy a pomegranate!