It's a beautiful thing isn't it???
Have you seen em yet??? Harvest time for Pomegranates is here, and the stores are full of them. The real ones. Many of us have been lucky to get the Pom Wonderful juices as a freebie. many of us have used the juice for sauces and flavorings. But, much like Orange juice is different from an actual orange, the Aril, "the botanical term for the seed, surrounded by a juice sack" is much different from the Pom Wonderful juices.
Great for salads, great as a snack, great for... well, you'll just have to wait to read what I think they are great for.
You see, yesterday I got an incredible gift in the mail...
Pom Wonderful is supplying me with 2 count em TWO CASES of these gems! 22 in a case, 44 in total! How cool is that???
Last week, I was selected as 1 of 100 bloggers to host a POM PARTY! Mine is a week from Sunday. I have three KC area bloggers and their spouses coming for the first ever KC Blogger meet up/POM Party! Again... How cool is that???
How scary is that???
What on Earth am I supposed to do with these things. I drank the juice, I reduced, sauteed, flavored it. But never in my life have I opened a pomegranate.
I better get good at this. Fortunately, the good folks at POM WONDERFUL have a website with the basics and tips (click HERE to see the Pomegranate 101 page).
So, let's start at the basics... How do I get at the seeds and juice???
Start with a real live fresh Pomegranate!
Step 1... CUT
Sounds easy, but think about your options... Cut through the middle? Cut through the top down? Nope, best to cut the top off as shown above.
Step 2... SCORE
OK, if you look close inside the Pomegranate, you will see white membranes. these membranes hold the seeds, and are what attaches the seeds to the fruit, which is attached to the branch, the trunk, the roots and the nutrients that feed it. It's the cycle of life without a Lion. Scoring means to cut down through those membranes. Keeps the arils intact and less mess. Leave the last 1/2 inch uncut so you can...
Step 3... OPEN
Now we're at the good part. Feel free to taste test the little seed sacks. FILLED with juice, sweet, a little tangy and ready to eat! But to actually cook with them, we need to open it up, just peel down the sides. Now, you can see all the seeds, all the arils.
Step 4... LOOSEN
If you are afraid of the mess, you can use a spoon for this step. But let's get Zen with it. Be the Pomegranate... Feel the Pomegranate.. Live the Pomegranate lifestyle. get in there and pop the arils off with your thumb.
Just a small word of caution with this step. Wear an apron, or be very careful. The juice is wonderful, but it does stain. Work with the sides of the pomegranate towards you and the seeds away, when you separate them, it is less likely that the juice will pop towards you.
When you separate the arils from the membrane, always empty them into a bowl of water. the seeds sink (they are full of juice), while the white membrane will rise to the top, making it easy to...
Step 5... SCOOP
With the membrane floating, it is easy to scoop the white parts out. The membrane is about the only inedible part of a pomegranate. It is very bitter. So scoop out all you can. Again, run your fingers through the seeds and make sure as much as possible has been removed.
Step 6... Strain
Pour through a colander, or scoop out with a slotted spoon, but stack em up! You get about a cup and a half of arils out of each Pomegranate.
So, I've ready to move on...
Just what the heck am I gonna do with all the Pomegranates, all these seeds, all this juice.
Many of you have gotten your freebies from Pom Wonderful... What's the best thing you did with it? Drop me a comment and get me inspired... HELP!
Just what would you do with 43 pomegranates???