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Product Talk: Understanding pomegranates


It seems like pomegranate is the fruit flavor of the moment. You can find it juices, smoothies, yogurts, granola bars, cereal, salad dressings.

If you like the tart-sweet flavor of pomegranate, you ought to try the crop of fresh pomegranates arriving in stores now. (Fresh pomegranate is also super-healthy, providing lots of fiber, Vitamin C, and cancer-preventing antioxidants.)

But a fresh pomegranate can look a little scary. What do you do with all those seeds? And that bright red skin looks pretty tough.

The folks at PomWonderful, which produces pomegranate juices, fresh pomegranates, and other pom products, tell me that pomegranates are a piece of cake to eat fresh, once you know how.

The seeds and juice are the part that you eat. The seeds are hard, but edible, and are surrounded by a little sac of juice, called an “aril.” Each pomegranate contains hundreds of these juicy little seeds. The pomegranate’s inner membrane and rind, however, are bitter and generally not eaten.

The easiest thing to do is to juice them. Just cut the fruit in half, like a grapefruit, then juice by hand or using an electric juicer.

But if you want to use the seeds, use this six-step process developed by PomWonderful.

1) Cut – Use a sharp paring knife to cut off the top about a half inch below the crown.

2) Score – Four to six sections of the pomegranate divided by white membrane will be visible. With the knife’s point, score the skin along each section.

3) Open – In a bowl of water, carefully separate the sections underwater.

4) Loosen – Underwater, loosen the arils and allow them to drop freely into the bowl. The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top.

5) Scoop – Scoop out the pieces of white membrane.

6) Strain – Pour the arils and remaining liquid through a strainer.

That’s it! More good news about fresh pomegranates: They  come to the supermarket fully ripe, and can stay fresh for up to two months if stored in the refrigerator.

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