Pomegranates are a fruit native to the Middle East, Asia, the Mediterranean region, and the southwestern United States. In Greek mythology, the pomegranate is known as the “fruit of the dead” as it causes Persephone to spend seven months of the year in the underworld. Pomegranates are now available in a range of sweet and savory forms, including fresh, dried, and juiced. Numerous recommend separating pomegranate seeds from the pith and membrane in a water bowl, but none of this is essential.
Eating pomegranate is simple and quick once you get the hang of it. You’ll be eating pomegranate seeds in no time if you follow the simple instructions provided. Pomegranates have a short season, but it is charming. The seeds are sweet, tangy, and delicious, but they also go well with salads and other foods. Pomegranates have recently gained popularity in the diet due to their potent antioxidant content, and they’re also high in potassium and vitamin C.
What is Pomegranate?
Pomegranates have a hard, smooth shell and are spherical, reddish-brown fruits. They are typically the size of a navel orange and grow on shrub-like trees. A white pulpy mesocarp surrounds tiny seeds in the interior of a pomegranate. The arils, or seeds, are about the size of corn kernels and contain a vivid red juice. Each pomegranate contains hundreds of seeds, making them the only edible part of the fruit. If the fruit isn’t being utilized solely for juice, extracting the arils whole can be difficult.
Pomegranates are in season during the winter months and provide a festive touch to any meal. Compared to other fruits such as apples and bananas, they are more expensive per pound. The fruit and juice are used in various recipes from Iran, India, Turkey, Greece, and Mexico. The juice can also be used as a natural dye.
How to Eat a Pomegranate?
1. Start With Fresh Pomegranate
Pomegranates should be plump and rounded, and they dry out as they age, and older specimens will have shrunk slightly as the thick skin begins to close in on the seeds. Pomegranates should be firm and free of scratches, slashes, or bruises for their size.
Pomegranates do not ripen after being picked, yet when ripe, they bruise readily. As a result, many pomegranates are plucked before they are fully mature. Farmers’ markets, co-ops that receive direct delivery from farmers, and farm stands are considerably more likely to have genuinely ripe, fresh pomegranates.
2. Cut the Top Off the Pomegranate
Remove the top of the pomegranate and remove it, be sure to leave enough of the top to display the brilliant red seeds underneath.
3. Score the Pomegranate
Cut the pomegranate peel from stem to end along with the white parts going from the center to the peel between the seeds with a sharp knife—there should be six sections to score between. It’s important to note that you’re cutting into the pomegranate, not through it.
4. Pull the Pomegranate into Sections
Pull the pomegranate halves or halves apart. As much as possible, follow the pomegranate sections divided by the white pith (this is where the fruit will naturally pull apart in most cases) and use the scored incisions you made to aid you.
For easy handling, cut the pomegranate chunks into smaller pieces. Because some seeds tend to fall out of the pomegranate at this step, it’s best to do this over a clean work surface or bowl—wherever you plan to put the seeds when you’re done. Peel off and discard the white membrane that covers the pomegranate seed clusters.
5. Flip Pomegranate Sections & Open Inside-Out
Turn each pomegranate part “out” over a clean work surface or bowl. To push the seeds out towards the bowl, pull the sides of the portion back towards you.
Gently rub or “pop” each seed from the pomegranate’s pith or interior peel. Ripe pomegranate seeds should readily peel away from the pith, though you may need to remove a small amount of pith from the ends of the seeds where they were attached to the peel.
6. Marvel at your Pomegranate Handiwork
Step back and admire the pile of lovely glossy pomegranate seeds brilliant and ready to eat—unsullied by a soak in water as many ways recommend—and creamy white pith ready for the compost heap or garbage can.
Each medium pomegranate yields around 1 cup of seeds. Put them in salads, add them to beverages, or eat them plain.
How to Use Pomegranate?
Pomegranate seeds can be consumed fresh or dried as a sweet-tart snack, garnish, or ingredient. Cut off the very top of the pomegranate at the crown to peel it. Scoop some of the core out, taking care not to disturb any seeds. Score the thin outer peel with a sharp knife, cutting from top to bottom to create four parts. To divide the fruit into quarters, gently press into the center where you hollowed out the core. Remove any loose white pulp with your peeler. Dip each segment in a dish of lukewarm water and pull back the outer peel to remove any loose seeds. Pry the others free underwater with care; they’ll drop to the bottom, leaving the inedible pulp to float.
Pomegranate seeds can be eaten whole or mashed to make juice. Pomegranate molasses is made by cooking fresh juice until it thickens. The seeds can be frozen or dried as well. Be aware that pomegranate juice will stain your fingers and clothes, so many cultures have utilized it as a natural dye. When working with the fruit, put on an apron to protect your clothes from any splashes. Plastic containers will stain the juice, so use glass or disposable plastic bags. Aluminum or carbon steel knives and cooking vessels should be avoided since they might make the juice bitter.
Where can I Get Pomegranates?
Look for fresh pomegranates at your local supermarket from late fall to early spring. They’re usually sold separately, with prices based on the number of fruits or pounds. Choose large fruits that are not bruised or punctured and feel hefty for their size. If you reside in an area where pomegranates are grown, you might be able to find fresh fruit at your local farmers’ market during the season. Pomegranate juice and molasses, as well as dried and frozen seeds, are accessible all year.
Pomegranate trees can be grown in areas with a Mediterranean climate, such as sections of California. Trees can be cultivated in pots and bear fruit within two years of transplantation.
How to Select and Store Pomegranates for the Best Taste?
When shopping for pomegranates, look for deep red ones that weigh a lot for their size. Scratch gently any skin that is shiny and devoid of blemishes. It’s probably ripe if it’s soft and simple to scratch. The fruit should be shaped like a squared-off round. The seeds within a pomegranate with this form have attained their juiciest potential.
Keep the pomegranate out of direct sunlight when you bring it home. It’s better to store it somewhere cold and dry. You may also keep it in the fridge for up to two months. Keep the arils or juice in the refrigerator for up to five days after cracking apart the skin and extracting the arils or juice. You can also freeze the arils for up to a year if you aren’t ready to consume them right away.
What are the Potential Health Benefits of Pomegranates?
Research suggests the pomegranate in its various forms offers the following benefits:
- Aids in the prevention of heart disease Pomegranates have some evidence that they can help lower cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Properties that are anti-inflammatory Vitamin C in the fruit contains anti-inflammatory qualities, which may protect against various ailments, including cancer and type 2 diabetes.
- Reduce your high blood pressure. Pomegranates include antioxidants that may help control high blood pressure and maintain the arteries, heart, and brain health.
- Erectile dysfunction assistance (ED) In one study, consuming 8 ounces of pomegranate juice every day improved the erections of nearly half of the study participants.
- Certain forms of cancer, including prostate cancer, are protected. According to some modest studies, Pomegranate juice may help delay the spread of prostate cancer cells.
Side Effects of Eating Pomegranates and Potential Health Risks
In all of their forms, Pomegranates are usually considered healthy and harmless. However, some people may experience adverse reactions to pomegranates if they consume them, and they’ll likely show common allergy symptoms like itchy eyes and difficulty breathing. Some drugs, such as blood thinners and high cholesterol and high blood pressure treatments, may interact poorly with pomegranate juice. Before regularly taking any pomegranate, consult your doctor to ensure your safety.
Pomegranate is a sweet and tart fruit with a luscious texture. The juice can be substituted for citrus juice to add brightness to a drink or dish. The seeds are crisp and juicy, making a pleasant contrast to hearty stews and dips. The pomegranate (Punica granatum) has been increasingly popular on mainstream menus. Grain salads, smoothies, and vibrantly colored cocktails have incorporated the fruit. Flavor: With a strange fruit like pomegranate, it’s natural to wonder what it tastes like. Pomegranate arils have a similar flavor to cranberries: acidic with a hint of sweetness. Pomegranate arils can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.