Ah, the pomegranate; fabled to be the real "apple" in the Garden of Eden and credited with all sorts of beneficial powers from slowing aging, increasing testosterone and lowering bad cholesterol to zapping inflammation, controlling blood pressure, fighting cancer and maybe even preventing Alzheimer’s disease. (Pomegranate Power: The Surprising Superfood)
They also add a wonderful sweet/tart flavor and beautiful eye appeal to many dishes: from salads to pork, to an addition to a glass of bubbly to make it a seasonal knock-out .
While there still needs to be more research to confirm all these benefits, the bottom line is that pomegranates are beautiful, flavorful, fun and potentially very very good for you.
So now that you know “why” you want pomegranate, here are a couple of “how” Cool Tips from some of our customers that have earned 100 Cooks’ Club points for each of them:
Choosing a ripe pomegranate: Bill E. suggests that you look for ones that have shoulders or ridges and somewhat flat faces between the bulges. As the seeds (arils) ripen, they get larger (think juicier) and bulge out the seed sections. So look for pomegranates that are lumpy and not perfectly round.
Getting to the Arils: Suzy N. likes to peel these underwater. Warning: the juice of a pomegranate stains fabric! So wear an apron or old clothes, and peeling them underwater does help cut down on splashing. It’s best to cut into the skin, but not all the way through since you don’t want to cut into the arils. Make the cuts between the bulges. Then put the pomegranate in a bowl of water and gently pull it apart. As you loosen the arils from the rind and membranes, the arils fall to the bottom of the bowl and the waste rises to the top so that if you add water to overflow the bowl, much of the waste will just flow out with the overflow.
Getting the juice: Pomegranate juice is available bottled in the store, but it’s expensive, and there is some satisfaction in doing this yourself. Suzy N. uses a food mill to make quick work of getting the juice out of the seeds.
The result makes one of the prettiest holiday champagne cocktails around!
Enjoy your pomegranates, in whatever form!