When I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago, I met up with my long-time friend and fellow blogger Elise, who very kindly showed up with homemade chocolate biscotti, and a few pieces of fruit from her garden.
Among them was a pomegranate, and I had to pick my jaw up from the floor. To a Parisian kid, pomegranates (grenades in French) are super exotic, the kind of fruit that must grow in some faraway tropical forest with multicolored birds and monkeys flying around, the kind of fruit that should also (once the kid is all grown up and environmentally conscious) be eaten in moderation because of the carbon footprint.
Pomegranate juice is a gorgeous ruby pink color, yes, but do you want it polka-dotting your clothes?
Yet I adore pomegranates. I love biting into their little seeds bursting with tart juice, and I love sprinkling them on stewed vegetables and on salads, especially the raw kale salad with avocado and cilantro that I made a few times in San Francisco.
So I received this local pomegranate with great joy, and as I was about to cut it open and harvest the seeds — standing at Heidi‘s beautiful marble counter — I thought I’d take a few quick pictures to share the technique with you in case you’re new to this whole pomegranate opening thing.
(I have only just heard about this wooden-spoon whacking technique, and will have to try that next time, though I have yet to be convinced it saves that much time. Also: the violence of it!)
0. Before you begin, put on an apron and roll up your sleeves; pomegranate juice is a gorgeous ruby pink color, yes, but do you want it polka-dotting your clothes?
1. Using a sharp knife, cut a slice off the top and the bottom of the fruit, just to uncover the seeds. Make four vertical cuts all around the fruit, cutting through the rind just until you reach the seeds but not slicing into them.
2. Put the pomegranate in a deep bowl of water and separate it into four sections underwater (this is so no juice will squirt out).
3. Still working with your hands in the water, pluck the seeds from the spongy membrane, and discard the non-edible bits as you go. The pieces of membrane will mostly float to the top while the seeds will sink to the bottom.
4. Et voilà ! Scoop out the seeds from the bottom of the bowl, straining them between your fingers and inspecting them for any stray bits of membrane.
An average-size pomegranate weighing about 260 grams (9 ounces) will yield about 1 cup seeds (150 grams or 5 1/3 ounces). Those seeds freeze very well in an airtight freezer bag, and will thaw very quickly, too, if you place them in a bowl of water.
Join the conversation!
Is this how you open pomegranates yourself? And what do you like to do with the seeds?