If you crave a fruit with a juicy sweet-tart taste and don’t mind working for it, you will surely enjoy the pomegranate.
For sure, eating a pomegranate is a labor of love.
It’s the translucent, brilliant-red pulp that surrounds the pomegranate seed that is so sparkling and tasty. But pomegranate seeds—there are hundreds in each fruit—are first encased in a leathery skin and then packed into compartments that are separated by a bitter, inedible membrane. Getting to the flavor of a pomegranate requires some patient parsing and then the reward comes in snippets, seed by seed.
Pomegranates are nearly round in shape, about 2.5 to 5 inches (6.-2-12.5 cm) in diameter, almost the same size as an orange. The thin leathery skin is pink to crimson blush over yellow. The pods inside are made up of bright red kernels—each a hard seed surrounded by a pithy membrane. Munching on the seeds exudes the sweet juice but after that, you will have to decide to swallow the almost inedible seed or spit it out.
How to prepare pomegranate
To enjoy pomegranate seeds out of hand-cut the fruit into quarters, turn the skin inside out and pop out the seeds. If some white pith remains, you can place the seeds in a bowl of cold water and swish them around. The seeds should sink to the bottom.
Handle pomegranates with care; pomegranate juice stains readily.
Ways to serve pomegranate
- Pomegranate seeds are often eaten fresh.
- Pomegranate seeds can be added to fruit salads, mixed salads, soups and sauces, cheeses, vegetables, poultry, and seafood.
- Pomegranate juice is sold as grendaine syrup. Grenadine is used to prepare beverages and cocktails, ice cream, sorbets, and other desserts.
- Pomegranate juice is refreshing. You can put the seeds through a juicer or ream halved fruit on an orange juice squeezer. Or simply cut a hole in the stem end, and place the fruit over a glass. The juice will run out on its own or you can squeeze it.
- The juice of the pomegranate can be sipped by inserting a straw through a hole in the skin. roll the fruit first, pressing it lightly to release the juice from the seeds.
How to choose pomegranate
When selecting a pomegranate, look for one that is large, brightly colored, and shiny. It should be firm to the touch and heavy for its size. The skin of an overripe pomegranate might have cracks, but it may still be quite tasty. Don’t choose fruit that is shriveled or dull.
How to store pomegranate
You can keep a pomegranate at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks, and the taste may actually improve. If you store pomegranates longer, keep them in the refrigerator (for up to a month) or freeze the seeds for up to 3 months.
One fresh pomegranate contains 104 calories, 26 grams of carbohydrates, and 399 mg of potassium.
Pomegranate varieties to look for include ‘Balegal’, ‘Early Wonderful’, ‘Fleshman’, ‘Green Globe’, ‘Phoenicia’, and ‘Wonderful’.
The pomegranate tree can grow to 20 feet tall. The tree bears trumpet-shaped flowers and the fruit is generally harvested 5 to 7 months after flowering.
The skin of the pomegranate is usually bright red, though some varieties may be yellowish. Inside the fruit are thick white membranes that divide the fruit into six sections enclosing small edible seeds. the membranes are bitter and inedible. The small pulp seeds are crimson red, dark pink, or pinkish; they contain a small pip at their center.
The pomegranate is a native of Iran and is one of just a handful of fruits that warranted a mention in the Old Testament. In fact, Moses told the Israelites as they wandered in the desert that if they persevered and got to the Promised Land they would enjoy the refreshment of pomegranates.
The botanical name of the pomegranate is Punica granatum.
Also of interest:
Garden Planning Books at Amazon:
- Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner
- Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide Vegetable Encyclopedia
- Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide
- Tomato Grower’s Answer Book
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