How-To: Eat a Pomegranate – Natures Juice Box
By Wendy Tremayne
It is pomegranate season. Starting in September and continuing through February pomegranates all over the northern hemisphere are ripening. Native to Persia, popular in the Middle East and India, the pom is now cultivated all over the world. It was not until 2002, however, when a variety of U.S. studies pointed towards the fruit’s health benefits, that pomegranate juice made it to U.S. grocery shelves. Perhaps the most curious thing about the fruit’s long history, evidenced in literature since the written word began, is the fact that few people know how to eat one.
There are more than 700 varieties of pomegranates. Each fruit contains 600 or more juice-encapsulating seeds that range in taste from sweet to sour (higher tannins) and in color from pale yellow to red and dark purple. The pomegranate’s nutritional value includes a good deal of vitamin C, B, and potassium, as well as antioxidant properties. Studies suggest that the pom offers benefits in preventing and/or treating health conditions such as prostate cancer, diabetes, lymphoma, the common cold, atherosclerosis, and coronary artery disease.
The pomegranate’s romantic lore goes back in history. The Greeks explain the seasons of the year by the number of pomegranate seeds eaten by the goddess Persephone. In Hinduism an alternate name for Lord Ganesha is interpreted as the one who is fond of the many seeded fruit. The Jews recognize the 600+ seeds of the single fruit as metaphor for the 613 commandments of the Torah. The Qur’an mentions the pom as evidence of the great things God creates. Christian paintings of the bursting-open pomegranate represent the outpouring of the suffering of Jesus. The list goes on.
Perhaps the most essential thing we can learn about the peculiarly designed fruit is how to eat it. How does one extract the juice from the hundreds of small pouches that also contain a hard (and less edible) seed? The methods are many and include scoring the skin with a knife and breaking it open into sections, then separating the arils (juice-containing pods) while holding the fruit under water. This allows the arils to float to the top of the water and be scooped up by hand or using a strainer. But this method leaves us with the hard seeds at the center of the juice pods. It is also possible to freeze the whole fruit to ease the task of separating the arils from the membrane (skin). Some folks juice the arils in a citrus juicer and then strain out the seeds with a fine mesh strainer. My favorite method is perhaps the least known. It is waste free, tool free, uses only human energy, and separates the seeds from the juice perfectly.
Step 1: Roll all sides of your pomegranate along a hard surface in a back-n-forth motion. The membrane of the fruit will soften as the juice filled seeds pop and release the juice into the membrane.
Step 2: Continue to roll the fruit until the whole membrane is soft and it feels like the inside is full of liquid. Puncture a hole anywhere in the fruit and suck.
Step 3: The inside of the fruit is divided with soft membrane walls dividing the fruit interior in sections. You may suck all the juice out of one part and then need to puncture new holes to access the other parts. Poke around and make new holds each time the juice seems to run out and until your fruit feels empty. Toss the membrane anywhere. It is perfect compost and will naturally break down in the environment.
About the Author:
Wendy Tremayne is renovating an RV park into a 100% reuse, off-grid B&B in Truth or Consequences, N.M. Another project, Swap-O-Rama-Rama, is a clothing swap and DIY workshop designed to offer people an alternative to consumerism.
20 thoughts on “How-To: Eat a Pomegranate”
So this is how we eat pom in Turkey. You cut it to half (without the rolling), and carefully loosen every small pouch by hand in a bowl. Then eat it with spoon from the bowl like sweet corn from the can. This is how my mum does for us :) yeah we are spoiled :) We eat the seeds, but dont chew them, for they are bitter. The other way to consume it here is to use the juice maker. You cut them in half and squeeze it on the orange/lemon squezeer (i hope it is the right word :)). But be carefull that you dont drink the pom juice on an empty stomach, because it makes your blood pressure go down quickly,so as a result you could faint. Yes, it happened :))
I remember the first time I tried to eat a Pom. I was surprised to find each tiny bit had a seed inside and I assumed they weren’t to be eaten. I sucked the fruit off each tiny little seed and decided a Pom was too much work to ever bother with again… :p
Don’t forget, pom juice can stain! Wipe up any little droplets right away, like the one on your pretty wooden table-top.
cut in half, put in a large bowl full of water, loosen the seeds under water and then scoop them out. sprinkle over salads or just eat by the handful.
A Persian friend taught me this very effective way to release the seeds. First, cut the pom in half around the middle (not top to bottom). Then, over a large bowl, tap the outside of the pomegranate with a heavy metal ladle or similar-type spoon. Tap gently at first around the rim and the seeds will fall out into the bowl (or your cupped hand as you hold the pomegranate), then you can tap harder as the seeds loosen up more. Repeat all the way around. I like this method the best even though the juice can splatter a bit, but it really is also oddly satisfying…but maybe that’s just me :)
I just cut the pomegranate in half and then pick at the kernels one by one to eat them. The small hard seeds inside the fleshy kernels aren’t bad for you, and they taste fine to me, so I eat the whole thing. This process takes a while, but just like the commenter above, I find it kind of satisfying. :)
how do u eat a pomergranite normally? i mean not squeezing out the juice or making it into juice. how do u eat the inside?
haha wow! YUMM
I just ate one 4 the first time, it was laying next to the passion fruit at a grocer here in Florida. In a hungry hurry I cut once with a plastic knife the fleshy part unravels and just pop out the seeds by hand, I went to the grocer to get a passion fruit, but also bought a pomegranate, not having done any research and wildly curious. If you thinking of sunflower seeds it is different, the seeds are plump fat and taste just like a cranberry think of it as a fruit filled with dozens of little berries. These other ideas are kewl, especially pressing on it 2 make the juice, but I sure enjoyed it the way I did it. Next time I may do it like this, press on it and roll it around and cut a hole in it. Thank you for posting.
I eat mine the same way. I roll it around, you got to put a little muscle into it, until all the membranes inside have broken, you can feel them braking. Once the pom feels all soft and you can’t feel the hard membranes inside anymore, stand over the sink, and pop a hole in it with a small knife and suck. WONDERFUL! I will never eat a pom another way again. Then I give the seeds to my dogs, they love em. I don’t! You are done with your pom when it has completely flattened.
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