Everything You Want to Know About Pomegranates But Were Afraid to Ask

Pomegranate

Pomegranates are a historically loved fruit, depicted in Greek mythology and paintings of the Greek goddess, Persephone. Inside this fruit, you will find pomegranate seeds, called arils, encapsulated in a ruby red membrane. The beautiful gemmed arils lend a pop of colour and a lovely crunch to any salad. They can also be juiced to add their deep, sweet-tart flavour to sweet or savoury dishes as well.

Pomegranates

How to Select and Store Pomegranate

Pick a pomegranate that is heavy for its size, with deep colour and firm, taut skin. Try to pick a fruit that is free of any nicks or bruises. Pomegranates may be pink, red, or brown—all colours will taste delicious.

You can store fresh pomegranates for up to a week on the counter or 3-4 weeks in the fridge. Once the seeds have been removed, they can be refrigerated in an airtight container for a few days.

How to Prepare Pomegranate

There are a few ways to open a pomegranate:

One method is to cut off the top and bottom of the pomegranate, then score along the pithy chambers where there aren’t any seeds. Open the fruit while submerged in a large bowl of water. This will prevent the red juice from splattering and staining your hands, clothes and kitchen. POM Wonderful has a lovely video to show you just how easy it is!

Another method is to simply skip the water completely and carefully cut the top of the fruit to expose the center pith of the pomegranate. Again, score the fruit into segments, then gently pierce the center pith with a small knife and wedge the segments apart. Martha Stewart has a video showing this method as well. Once the seeds or arils are separated, enjoy them fresh on their own or add them to a multitude of recipes.

Alternatively, you can cut the fruit through the equator, creating two halves. Hold each half, cut side down, towards a bowl, and thump the back of it with the back of a wooden spoon. This will cause the arils to fall into the bowl with a minimum amount of pith. You will get a slight amount of juice splatters on your hand, but this is a quick way to access the seeds.

To freeze pomegranate seeds, separate the pomegranate arils from the membrane, spread seeds onto a baking sheet and flash freeze. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and use within 6 months. Only thaw what you will use, as the seeds may lose their shape from being frozen.

Varieties

Pomegranates range from a light, greenish yellow to a dark, almost leathery brown. They range from different amounts of sweetness and tartness as well as colour of the arils themselves. Some of the varieties include: Early Wonderful, Wonderful, Green Globe, Granada, Fleshman, Balegal, and Phoencia. The Wonderful variety is the most common in grocery stores.

Tips

  • Pomegranate juice may stain your fingers! Use a cut lemon to get rid of any stains from your fingertips.
  • Adding citrus to your pomegranate juice will add a wonderful complement of flavour.
  • If your pomegranate seeds are too tart, sprinkle a little sugar for a sweeter treat.
  • If you’re adding pomegranate juice to a smoothie, try using honey or date sugar to naturally sweeten the juice.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the pomegranate, but be careful with cutting so you don’t injure yourself.
  • Separating the pomegranate seeds submerged in a bowl of water is an easy way to de-seed the fruit without splattering juice all over yourself.
  • Use a pomegranate reduction to add as a delicious sauce or marinade for meats like beef, pork or poultry.

 

Pomegranate goes well with

Produce: Berries like blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, also apples, arugula, citrus, coconut, cucumber, ginger, kale, mango, pear, pineapple, spinach, Swiss chard, squash, and coconut.

Sweets, Herbs & Spices: cinnamon, chocolate, clove, honey, maple syrup, mint, onion, and vanilla.

Savoury: almonds, beef, chickpeas, fish, pork, quinoa, rice, seafood, and walnuts.

Dairy: Smooth and salty cheeses like Goat, feta, and cream cheese.

Serving Ideas

Pomegranate seeds are a wonderful addition to salads, and complement protein sources such as beef, chicken, pork or seafood.

Try them on top of your favourite salad with goat cheese, spinach, and some orange segments.

Alternatively, toss pomegranate seeds with shredded kale, toasted pinenuts and a poppy seed vinaigrette for a fresh winter salad.

Add pomegranates to your favourite smoothie, or consider making your own fresh juice with them. To juice, add the seeds to a blender and gently pulse a few times to break apart the seeds to extract the juice. Don’t blend too much or else the seeds will break up and make the juice cloudy. Strain out the seeds and membrane and you’ll be left with deep, red juice. You can also juice them with a juicer. If you like, add a bit of honey or date sugar to sweeten with a squeeze of lemon for a tasty juice that’s full of Vitamin C and antioxidants.

Use a pomegranate juice reduction as a sauce or marinade for a delicious steak or pork chop and top with a sprinkling of pomegranate arils for some great textures.

Fall and winter is the ideal time for cozy comfort foods and squash is a wonderful addition to any meal as a main course or side dish. Garnish with pomegranate arils, pecans and feta to finish.

Entertaining in the winter? This pomegranate sorbet is a great way to end the meal because it’s a showstopper for the eyes and the taste buds.

You will feel like it’s summer any time of the year with this bright and beautiful fruit salad featuring fresh oranges, strawberries and pomegranate.

Pomegranate Nutrition

Pomegranates are delicious, full of flavour and low in calories! According to the Canadian Nutrient File, 100g of pomegranate arils and seeds have only 83 calories and provide the following of your daily-recommended intake: 21% of Vitamin K, 17% of folate, 17% of Vitamin C, 16% of fibre (4 g), 5% of magnesium, 7% of potassium, 4% of zinc, and 3% of riboflavin.

Credit: Produce Made Simple

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