When I was a child, my mother gave me pomegranates as special treats. They were my precious treasure. The trick was separating the juicy capsules from the membrane while not staining my clothes in the process. I would sit outside on the grass for hours carefully picking out each little pomegranate seed, savoring each one like it was candy.
Today I buy pomegranates for my family for another reason—they protect our health. Pomegranates are a super food that provides a concentrated source of antioxidants and phytochemicals that protect your heart, brain and body. The edible capsule around the seeds also provides vitamin B6, Vitamin C and lots of potassium.
Most people are familiar with pomegranate juice sold in the grocery store where the work of extracting the juice has been done for you. Yet, many people I’ve run into have never had a fresh, whole pomegranate. I encourage everyone to reach for pomegranates when they’re in season (September – January). It’s important for children to understand the source of pomegranate juice and to try something new. I still reach for the whole pomegranate when I want to give myself or my kids a wholesome healthy treat.
How to Remove the Seeds
Slice off the ends of the pomegranate and carefully score the skin down the middle with a knife. Place the pomegranate in a large bowl of water and gently pull it apart. Under the water you can remove the sections while prying the seeds from the membranes without spraying yourself with juice. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the rinds will float to the surface. Now just skim off the membranes and drain the seeds in a colander. The seeds can then be eaten or refrigerated for up to four (4) days.
Ways to Enjoy Pomegranate Seeds
(One pomegranate yields about ¾ cup of seeds)
- Toss them in a salad.
- Sprinkle the seeds on a meat or seafood dish.
- Top your yogurt, pancakes or waffles.
- Place the seeds in a food processor and process until a juice is formed, then strain through a fine mesh sieve. The juice can be frozen for up to six months.
- Make ice cream with fresh pomegranate juice.
- Just eat them.
Heidi Diller, RD