How to eat a Pomegranate
On the night of the momentous US Elections, flipping through TV updates I finally decided to eat the Pomegranate that was sitting on my pantry for days since arriving from California. My mom dropping me off at the airport after a generous and sumptuous picnic lunch she prepared insisted on a ziplock full of California fresh fruits: an apple pear, a regular pear, a Macoun apple and a pomegranate. I slept through most of my 7-hour trip to Boston so I only got to eat the pear which was delicious. I seriously think California fruits taste much better (and way cheaper!) than the ones we get in Boston! Perhaps it’s all in the mind and for all I know, most of the fruits sold in Massachusetts come from California but I doubt that- Florida maybe?!
Pomegranates were literally unknown to me when I got to the US since we don’t grow nor import such in the Philippines. I’ve seen pomegranates many times over at the supermarkets but never bought one because I am too cheap (the price could go for up to $3 a piece! What if I don’t like it?). I never thought of eating it either while in California- sort of slips my mind every time and after having tried it tonight, I wish I ate enough while in CA.
Pomegranates are considered part of the “superfruits” for all its various health benefits. It is a favorite juice blend of companies capitalizing on its supposed nutrients and antioxidant values and is really popular in the US as a juice drink rather than as a fresh fruit to eat. If you ask me, fresh fruits are always better than the juice because the latter has undergone processing and blending- you’re not getting 100% of the fruit!
Eating Pomegranate for the first time:
I didn’t think I’d end up creating a how-to-eat-a-fruit post if I didn’t find my first Pomegranate experience rather amusing. It was such a “bloody” mess! As I treated it like a pear or an apple, I cut it into half at once and was ready to cut it up into more halves except that the fruit began to ‘bled’ (this was a red pomegranate with very bloody red, dark purple-ish juice!). The inside looked totally weird to me. Hmmm, I expected to see an apple or pear like texture instead I found “granules” of seeds- tons of it! I cut a small part and again the better of me just started eating all of it- the seeds, pulp, inner peel- ate it like a sliced orange! The taste was odd and bittersweet!
For a minute I got confused if the bitter part was the seeds and you’re not supposed to eat them as is or the inner peel was the bitter part and should be thrown away. For sure I didn’t want to waste the juice.
Helpless, I sought the internet! I googled pomegranates via Scour (wait, Google believes that is illegal to use the verb ‘google’ to google something other than Google itself! But I did google via Google too, so there.)!
I couldn’t help but laugh out loud! I found tons of links all pointing to “how to eat a pomegranate” and even tons of video on Youtube showing the whole process. Search and finding any information I want instantly on my fingertips never cease to amaze me!
Here I was attempting to attack a situation like I always do when getting a new gadget: open the box, assemble, play with the unit- until something goes wrong or doesn’t work——— then, open and read the manual. That’s what I just did.
How to peel/open a Pomegranate the proper way:
1. Make partial cuts of the fruit all around it (not cutting all the way into half). Just cut shallow from the outer peel not going all the way so as not to hit the seeds/aril. Be careful as it is very succulent and the juice tends to squirt all over the place. You’ll be in a lot of mess if you’re as clumsy as me cutting it all the way through the first time! (See photos)
Did I mention, it can stain your clothing?
2. With your hands, placing your fingertips on where the shallow cuts were all around- split it into two. Avoid squeezing too much as it will ‘bleed.’
3. With a fork or something with a sharp tip (one site suggested a chopstick!), take each seed out and place in a bowl. The process reminds me when as kids my sisters and I would help in the farm of our Uncle for fun taking mature corn kernels from the cob by hand which they would later put out and spread to dry. Of course, this pomegranate, you’d want to pick the seeds out with something because it’s gross and messy doing it with your bear hands. My kid memory on that farm just flashed because the pomegranate seeds shapes exactly like corn kernels except for the color.
One site suggested to immerse the fruit in the water and wait until the kernels or seeds will just magically float atop the peels. I don’t want to wait and I don’t want to waste all the juice that will mix in with the water to throw away. I’m not sure if anybody ever follow the above method. I didn’t. Another one suggests similarly to immerse it into a bowl of water while sort of rolling out the pith until the the aril/seeds will detach from it. Then with a strainer, drain out the water.
3.5 Found another site that says to just cut it into half like I did all the way. Then turn the first half of the pomegranate into your palm forming a half dome in your palm. Using a wooden spoon, start banging the shell that’s resting on your palm and the seeds/aril will freely pop out… Do this with a bowl underneath of course to catch the seeds. It sounds easy but some sites find this whole banging thing doesn’t work or are just hard. The seeds/aril are stubborn to come off the pith.
How to eat a Pomegranate:
Some sites actually suggest, grinding the seeds, chewing while sucking on the juice in your mouth and when done, spit the seeds out. WHY? Why would you do that? Perhaps for some it is an acquired taste that’s why they very much prefer the juice instead of the actual fruit; but for someone who grew up eating guavas, rambutan, star apples, durian, jackfruit, green mangoes, lanzones, mangosteen, watermelons, santol, papaya and all other exotic tropical fruits with or without seeds- I have no problem eating the pomegranate seeds. I love it! Besides, as my mom would always tell us, the most vitamins/nutrients are found on either the seeds or skin/peel (if edible) of fruits. Either this was based on fact or not, we grew up believing it. (Moms are always right, right? Well, in most cases anyway…)
The best way to enjoy the pomegranate is to eat everything the seeds has to offer- juice and seeds or the aril all together. I made the mistake of eating the inner peel which tasted like that of an orange peel that gave the bitter taste. So I learned, you’re not supposed to eat the rest of the pomegranates- only the seeds that you took out by fork or any sharp tip tool.
Pomegranate seeds are like corn kernels to me except they’re very different in color and taste. The seeds itself are very much like that of guavas in taste and texture or for someone who hasn’t tried fresh guavas yet, like fresh watermelon seeds. Every luscious seed gives a sweet wonderful tasting juice, like that of grapes with a tinge of sourness in it! Combine the guava-like seeds and the somewhat sweet-sour grapes taste and you have a pomegranate!
It could easily pass as a tropical fruit and I wonder why we don’t import or even grow them in the Philippines! I’m sure all guava-loving kids and adults will love it!
There is a website dedicated to everything pomegranate, why I’m not surprised!
As I was happily eating my first pomegrante on this celebrated election night, my TV concluded with an Obama victory speech. Some seeds almost stuck to my throat. What an obamanation!!
Americans and the world will be watching in the next four years as the first ever African American and youngest (?) president-elect in America’s history boldly proclaimed that “change has come to America.” Along with its countless promises, we await for tangible changes that will hopefully be felt not just by the poor but by the common, ordinary middle class citizens- THE taxpayers, that is the backbone of America.
As for me, I just had a change I can taste! After my small first encounter with pomegranates, I think I will be buying them at the store regardless of its price from hereon!