Emilie and I met during our last year of college. She an International Affairs major and I a Political Science/Sociology major, our paths crossed in Comparative Government of Western Europe. Our professor’s trick at remembering all our names was to “attach” us to our favorite fruit. After about half a class’ worth of apples, peaches, strawberries, grapes, and bananas he got to the nearly six foot red-head. I remember her smiling mischievously before announcing, “Pomegranate.” It wasn’t necessarily her favorite fruit that was memorable, but our professor’s reaction. He was completely taken back by surprise and the whole class erupted in laughter. Now that’s how you get people to remember you, right? Yup, that was a pretty fun semester. I’m pretty sure Emilie was our professor’s favorite student lol.
Anyway, the reason I bring up the luscious pomegranate is that the fruit is in season. Harvested between September and November, you’re likely to find pomegranates in grocery stores through January. Yay! I mean, I love pomegranate juice, but the tasty, juicy arils that burst in your mouth with just the slightest crunch are a delicious and rare treat. That is why when I saw a huge bin of the beautiful fruits in the produce section I looked past the sticker shock (2 for $5…not too horribly bad) and I went for it.
So before we go any further, first thing’s first. How do you select a good fruit? Do you look for bruising and vivid color like apples and pears? How about a gentle squeeze like peaches? Or maybe smell like pineapple and mangoes? Nah, and especially don’t be fooled by a pomegranate’s color. Pick the fruit up. The heavier the fruit, the more juice it will contain. I’d say select a pomegranate that is heavy for its size, but I think they all feel heavy for their size lol.
And it’s no wonder. Pomegranates are very generous (They better be after the work it takes to prepare them!)! I can’t believe how many arils I harvested from one single fruit. I was absolutely tickled pink to eat these beautiful, ruby red, juicy jewels by the spoon full.
Now it’s your turn!
How to Prepare a Pomegranate
- Fill a large bowl about halfway with water. You will be submerging the pomegranate in the water, so be sure there is room so that the water doesn’t spill too horribly bad.
- Using a sharp paring knife, cut the top off of the pomegranate. You’re aiming for about half an inch below the crown.
- Locate the sections of the pomegranate, which are divided by a white membrane. Score the pomegranate skin along each section using the membranes as a guide.
- Submerge the pomegranate in the bowl of water. With both hands, carefully pull the pomegranate apart, breaking it into smaller sections.
- Keeping the pomegranate section under water, use your fingers to loosen the arils, which will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Pieces of loosened membrane will float to the top. Scoop any floating membrane out of the bowl with a spoon or your hands.
- Pour the remaining contents of the bowl through a strainer, or use a wire spider or mesh scoop to separate the loosened arils from the water.
Arils may be eaten as is or used in a myriad of delicious recipes. I will be serving mine at Thanksgiving as the finishing touch to my dish of pan roasted butterkin squash, wilted spinach, and blue cheese crumbles.
Storage: Pomegranates keep for a very long time. They’ll keep about a month on your kitchen counter and two months in the fridge. The arils will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge if properly stored in an airtight container.