At my home, we have two delicious pomegranates trees in our backyard. I may not be a pomegrante “expert”, but I’ll call myself an insider with six years of experience growing, shelling, and enjoying all sorts of pomegranates!
Insider Tip #1: How to pick a good one.
You know when your pomegranate is ripe on the tree when it has a nice, big crack in it. My impression of a fruit that’s cracked open is that the fruit is old and gross! However, when a pomegranate has a big crack- that’s the ideal time to pick! If you see a pomegranate with a large crack down the middle, without the evidence of birds picking at it yet… that’s perfection in pomegranate form 🙂
For most of ya’ll, you gotta just buy what you see at the store. They are all big and beautiful, but not cracked open yet. Never fear, store-bought pomegranates are usually as ripe as can be without the seeds being vulnerable to drying out and cracking. As long as your pomegranate feels nice and firm, but not dry- you got a good one!
Insider tip #2: How to store pomegranates.
The unopened fruit is good for a couple weeks or more, but best if used within about ten days, stored in the fridge. I like to keep mine in a big ziplock bag so they stay moist. Staying moist comes in handy for when you de-seed them: the seeds fall out easier! If you’ve already seeded your pomegranates, store in the fridge, covered, and eat within three to four days.
Insider Tip #3: How to de-seed pomegranates in 4 easy steps:
- A wide plastic bin or bowl
- A sharp knife
- A big, heavy spoon
- Strainer (optional)
- Small towel
Step 1- Get the biggest, widest bowl or container and place it in the sink. This will catch the seeds you are about to whack.
Step 2- Cut, or crack open the pomegranates in half and place one half in your left hand, seeds down. Sometimes it’s helpful to break the fruit up into 4ths, cutting along the rind (…that way you don’t cut along your yummy fruit and burst the seeds). It helps to flex the outer rind so that it’s pretty flat before you whack them!
Step 3- Whack the fruit with a big, heavy spoon. You’ll notice the seeds fall through your hands and into your container! You don’t want to whack them too hard or it will smash the seeds, and they don’t taste as good smooshed! So, hit just hard enough to gently loosen the seeds out. If your fruit is fresh and ripe, they should fall out with ease! If your pomegranate is dry, or not quite ripe, they stick to the rind a bit more.
Step 4- Pick through the pile and take out the little yellow rind pieces. I like to spray the seeds off with the sink hose-sprayer to loosen them off a bit. If I have a ton of rind, you can submerge the seeds in water, and most of the rind will float, allowing you to take a strainer to remove it! Or, you can just pour the top layer out of your bin. Huge time-saver compared to picking the rind out with your fingers alone. I like to lay a towel flat on the counter, and wipe my hands on it to get the last bits of rind off- the towel grabs ’em off for me 🙂
Now you’re done! Enjoy your pomegranate arils (seeds) by the spoonful!
Insider Tip # 4: Know the all the fabulous benefits!
Health benefits: Pomegranates hold punicalagins, which have been shown to reduce inflammation, one of the leading drivers of many killer diseases. They help fight cancer, help your heart, and your joints! They may even help with memory and exercise, and sexual performance! (source) They have 3x more antioxidants than green tea! For a giant list of all the wonderful benefits of this delicious fruit, check out this article.
Insider Tip #5: There are sooo many delicious ways to eat them:
Today for lunch I sprinkled some on a roll of turkey lunch meat and cream cheese.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy pomegranates is in a glass of cold Sprite and eat with a spoon, or just plain!
Sprinkled on a salad. Nothing better! (for crunch, POP of flavor, and so good for you!)
My husband enjoys pouring milk and sugar over a bowl of the sweet little nuggets. Mmmm… Delish!
Insider Tip #6: The best way to get pomegranates cheap…
…is to grow them yourself, or buy from a local grower! They are SOOO easy to grow. I did spot a good deal this morning at Walmart in a 3 pack for $3, but one pomegranate is usually around $3 each.
To grow your own pomegranates, you need to be in zone 7-10, and have a pretty dry climate. If you are lucky to live in such an area, they are as low maintenance as it gets! We have successfully transplanted two bushes from my inlaws’ cuttings, and it has been really easy. We just give these bushes water (on a super easy drip-line system), watch for frosty weather (15 degrees F or less to bundle up the bush for those cold nights) and then pick the fruit! Like I said, low maintenance, sunny spot and let these pomegranates grow 🙂 Oh- and they are pretty dang ugly in the winter- so you may want to think about that when choosing a spot to plant.
I hope that in one way or another, you can add a little extra pomegranate in your life!