A Good Way to Open a Pomegranate



Sunday was the last farmers’ market of the year here.  Bryan and I went together, and pretty much went nuts (pun intended?) on all the fruit and veggies we could buy.  “Hon,” I said, “That’s a lot of tomatoes.”

“Well,” he said, “I don’t think we’ll have a problem eating extra tomatoes!”  You know the produce is beautiful when it’s not just me taking pictures of it, the professional photographer in my house is getting into the act as well, and buying extra tomatoes for the purpose.

Anyway, our fridge and pantry are pretty much stuffed, and we have a whole tray of pomegranates.  I love pomegranates.  I like the whole idea of them, like hidden treasure.  And, of course the taste!  Luckily, they grow in the valley not too far from here.

Especially with this method, the lovely seeds are not too hard to get at.  The idea of soaking them in water came from The Joy of Cooking, source of much good kitchen knowledge.



Step 1: slice off just the tops.  If you hit a few seeds don’t worry.  Score around the sides to the bottom in sections.  You’ll cut fewer seeds if you use the naturally more indented places as a guide for where to score.  Go all the way through the peel.



Step 2: drop the scored pomegranates into a bowl of water.  Leave them alone for about 15 minutes, or longer if they have been sitting around for a while and the skins are dried out.



Step 3: pull one out of the water, and gently break it open.  When you come back, the skins should have softened, and the whole thing will feel more elastic when you attempt to pull it open.  It may help to use a knife or your fingernail to break the connection at the top center.  Then, just tug on a section until it breaks loose.  Pomegranates respond better to a steady pull than to a hard yank.



Once the fruit cracks open, whole flanks of seeds are exposed.  Rock and push them gently with your thumb, sections of seeds will loosen and break off at once.  Any that are shriveled or cloudy are not as good, just leave them on the peel.



The red seeds (from the pinkish fruit) are the classic pomegranate tart with a little sweetness.  The pink seeds (from the yellow fruit) are much milder and sweeter if you can find them.  For eating out of hand, I think a mix of about half and half is ideal.

They also make a lovely treat with desserts, or on my morning fruit and yogurt.  If you need another excuse to get one, try this salad, really unusual flavors, but we and our friends quickly grew to love it.  Equally good with butter lettuce, and either honey mustard as suggested, or good quality balsamic and olive oil.  And, we subbed a small kabocha squash the first time we made it, with good results.

Really, have you ever seen anything so lovely as a plate of pomegranate seeds?  I could have easily spent the whole day photographing fruit . . .



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