Pomegranates are a unique fruit boasting beauty, color, flavor and nutrition. They are a quadruple threat! Once you break open the flesh, their ruby red arils are truly a sight to be seen and almost too beautiful to eat…almost. You can eat the arils by themselves, toss them in baked goods, use them in preserves, dips, compotes, juices or sprinkle atop of a salad; the possibilities really are endless. Truth be told there is no bad way to enjoy them and this winter is the perfect time to snag a few at your local farmers’ market or grocery store and start to explore the potential and flavor that pomegranates can add to your favorite recipes. And the cherry on top is that you don’t have to feel one bit guilty enjoying mouthfuls of pomegranate juice or arils since they contain great nutritional value. So add pomegranates to your next grocery list and you wont be disappointed!
Pomegranates vary in color from medium to a deep red. They are round in shape with a distinctive crown at the top and can be anywhere from 2 1/2 – 5 inches wide. The small juicy seeds inside of the pomegranate are called arils and have a sweet and tart juice that surrounds a small white seed. The entire aril is edible and can range in color from red to pink. A bitter white membrane surrounds the arils.
Peak season for pomegranates is late summer to early winter.
What to Look For
Pomegranates that you find in your local grocery store have usually been picked ripe and should feel heavy for their size. There should be minimal scaring or bruising on the flesh and it should not look withered or rubbery but instead bright with taught skin.
How to Store
You can store pomegranates at room temperature for several days making sure that they are kept away from any direct sunlight. Refrigerated pomegranates can last for up to three months.
If you have cut open your pomegranates and separated the arils from the white membrane, they can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or you can freeze them in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Pomegranates are high in antioxidants, vitamin A, C, folic acid, potassium and are a good source of fiber. They contain about 127-230 calories per 1 pomegranate, depending on size. Pomegranates have been known to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and contain anti-cancer and immune supporting benefits.
Pomegranate juice does stain so be sure that you are wearing old clothes when cutting them.
To remove the arils from the pomegranate try filling a large bowl with water. Slice the top off and cut an incision through the skin. Pull apart the fruit and continue to break apart the pieces into smaller chunks. Gently use your fingers to roll out the arils from the membrane. The heavy seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the white membrane will float. Once you have removed all of the arils, pour off the membranes and extra water.
Use a plastic cutting board to slice or de-seed a pomegranate so you don’t stain your wood cutting board.
If you do cut on a wood cutting board and the juice of the pomegranate stains it, try using vinegar or lemon juice to remove the pink color.
Looking for Pomegranate recipes, give these a try:
Black Bean, Pomegranate, and Avocado Salsa from Two Peas and Their Pod
Honey Yogurt with Pomegranate and Pistachios from Skinnytaste
Chicken, Orzo, and Pomegranate Salad from Weelicious
Sweet Potato Pomegranate Salad from Two Peas and Their Pod
Pomegranate Guacamole from Just a Taste
Brussels Sprout Pomegranate Citrus Salad from Two Peas and Their Pod
Pomegranate Lacquered Roast Chicken from Heather Christo
Blueberry Pomegranate Quinoa Kale Salad from Picky Palate
Pomegranate Margaritas from How Sweet It Is
Pomegranate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Two Peas and Their Pod
Lemon Pomegranate Cupcakes from Taste and Tell
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*