Persephone’s Folly — how the heck do you open a pomegranate?

17 Nov


Pomegranate.  Lately, it’s all the rage, with its flavor added to teas, juices, and even vodkas.  Tiny bottles of pure pomegranate juice can be purchased at a high cost, but are credited with providing high amounts of antioxidants and even fighting prostate problems in men.

There are plenty of products offering pomegranate juice or its flavoring, but what if you want the real thing?  A real pomegranate.  Its juicy little seeds tricked the Greek goddess Persephone into staying in the underworld, but I’m sure that if she had had to cut up the fruit herself, she would have told Hades to forget it.  So what do we mortals do when we want pomegranate seeds?

First, soak the pomegranate in a bowl of water for about an hour or so, to soften it up and make it easier to work with.  But if you don’t have time to soak it first, it’s still possible to continue.

Next, put the pomegranate on a cutting board and use a large knife to cut around the fruit into four pieces.  Cut first around its equator, then through it’s stem.  The juice is dark red, so don’t let it bleed all over the counters.

Put the pomegranate pieces back into the bowl of water, and use your fingers to peel back the white pith away from the seeds underwater.  If you don’t do this underwater (or at least right above the water), the seeds will pop out and fly all over the place, or break and stain you, your clothes, everything.  Underwater, they will simply float, intact.

Work your fingers into the fruit until all the seeds are out and in the bowl.

Discard the white pith.

Once you have all the outer skin parts of the pomegranate gone, your seeds should have all sunken to the bottom of the bowl.  If there are any more traces of the pith, they will float to the top of the water, where you can skim them off the top.

Gently rinse the seeds in a colander, and you are finished.

Now what do you do with pomegranate seeds?

You can eat them as they are, because they make a great tarty-sweet snack.  Otherwise, add them into fruit salad, a greens salad, a smoothie, on top of a dessert, the bottom of a martini glass, or make a relish or sauce.

For tonight, I just threw them into a salad of baby greens, tomato, balsamic vinaigrette, and Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders, which I tried for the first time.  I was pleased to see them carried at BJ’s Wholesale Club, of all places, and was eager to try them.  Typically, BJ’s does not carry any vegan meat substitutes (they have veggie burgers, but all have egg in them).  But I do shop there for a good price on 5 lb. bags of organic carrots, organic baby greens and spinach, tofu, Sabra hummus, and Clif bars and two-packs of the Arnold’s Whole Wheat Soft bread my husband likes.

As the instructions indicated, I cooked ten pieces at 400 degrees in the toaster oven for 15 minutes.

Then, on my cutting board, I cut them each into three chunks to be divided among two salad bowls.

A warm and yummy addition to a fresh salad with pomegranate seeds.  These two ingredients certainly made my salad a lot more interesting tonight!  The Gardein Crispy Tenders were definitely delicious — to the point where my husband put four more in the toaster oven just for himself!

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One Response to “Persephone’s Folly — how the heck do you open a pomegranate?”

  1. Christine Scalfo-Glover November 17, 2010 at 11:10 pm #

    You’re so creative. What a colorful, festive, delicious looking salad.

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