10 Things to do with a Pomegranate ~ pomegranate recipes, tips, and tricks, to making the most of this beautiful and healthy fall fruit!
10 Things to do with a Pomegranate — a guide to nature’s most beautiful, and most confounding, fruit
It’s pomegranate season, and you’ve probably already spotted them in your supermarket, I know I have. But just a few short years ago I wouldn’t have touched them with a ten foot pole. I didn’t have a clue how to use them, much less how to open one up. And even if I got one open, what’s the deal with the seeds…how to you get them out,…and do you spit the pits? Swallow them? Pomegranates can cause a lot of confusion.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, first you need to know how to choose one from that daunting pile in the produce section.
There are a few basic rules for picking the right pomegranate
Since poms don’t continue to ripen after being picked, what you see is what you get, so it’s important to choose wisely.
- Look for a large fruit, because large fruit will have more pulp (arils)
- Don’t just look, pick them up, a fresh juicy pomegranate will feel heavy for its size
- Find one with a bright color, because that indicates good quality
- And finally, a smooth shiny skin tells you it’s fresh
Most pomegranates will have deep ruby red arils, or seeds, but some are pale pink, or even white.
There isn’t any way to tell this from the outside, so it will be a surprise when you open it up. No need to worry, the paler colors taste just as good, and if anything, they’re a little sweeter.
How to remove the seeds from a pomegranate
Ok, so you’ve chosen your pomegranate, now what? You need to get those little seeds out! There are several ways to do it but one is by far the best:
- Cut your pomegranate in half, and if it is very big, you can even separate it into quarters.
- Over a bowl in your sink, hold the pomegranate, skin side up, in one hand, and whack it with a wooden spoon with your other hand. The seeds will miraculously fall into the bowl.
You can keep the seeds in an airtight container for several days in the refrigerator. Use them for snacking, or topping yogurt, oatmeal, ice cream, or hummus!
Are pomegranates healthy?
Pomegranates are super healthy and fall under the super food category
- they’re loaded with antioxidants called punicalagins, which protect cells from damage by free radicals
- The seeds are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals
- Pomegranate is anti-inflammatory
- They may help fight prostate and breast cancers
- They may help lower blood pressure, and help arthritis sufferers
Pomegranates originated in the Middle East
But they’ve quickly spread all around the world. They grow in California, and also in Arizona. In our last house we had the luxury of a neighbor’s tree that hung way over into our driveway. We had pomegranates right up until Christmas. During those years I came to know and love this unusual fruit.
The season in America goes from September through November, but pomegranates are hardy, and store well, so you’ll find them in stores way past November.
Now, with imports from Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, Greece and Mexico, you can find pomegranates in many stores year round.
Here are ten of my favorite ways to use pomegranates
I love to jazz up roasted Brussels sprouts by sprinkling them with pomegranate seeds
They’ll sparkle like little jewels and maybe even tempt those Brussels sprout haters in your life to give them a try! When you’re pressed for time and trying to fill a holiday table, this Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate is a great recipe to have on hand.
Wait until the last minute before serving to sprinkle pomegranate seeds on your finished dish.
Mix them with heirloom tomatoes
This Tomato and Pomegranate Salad is an little unusual, but trust me, the flavors mingle beautifully. This is an example of a dish where pomegranates play a starring roll. I particularly love the colors in this salad, the pink arils were a pleasant surprise!
Use the juice and arils with grilled chicken
I love these Pomegranate and Lime Chicken Thighs, the recipe uses both the seeds and the juice of the pomegranate so the unique sweet tart flavor really comes through. The lime and the pomegranate colors are gorgeous!
Fresh pomegranate juice can be used to make all natural Homemade Gumdrops. You can use fresh juice or bottled and the process is easy. This is a fun project to do with kids.
Pair pomegranate with winter citrus
An easy Citrus Salad with Pomegrante and Pistachio is a great choice for a fall or winter salad course. The colors of the citrus along with the garnet colored seeds is really festive.
Make pomegranate sorbet
A simple and healthy Pomegranate Sorbet can be made with pomegranate juice and some sugar to sweeten it up a bit. You don’t even need an ice cream maker for this recipe.
Make your own homemade pomegranate molasses
One of my favorite condiments in the world is Pomegranate Molasses. You can buy it in the grocery store, usually in the International aisle, but it’s simple to make yourself. You boil down pomegranate juice until it becomes a thick syrup. Voila — you have the best secret weapon ever for sauces, marinades, salad dressings, and tons more…use your imagination!
This pomegranate wine sauce goes with my Mini Koftas, which are little Middle Eastern meat kabobs. The sauce will blow your mind. No exaggeration. I copied it from a restaurant dish and I’m so glad I nailed it.
Make a fresh salsa to go with fish and seafood
Pomegranate salsa is a versatile little idea, I served it with Grilled Shrimp with Pomegranate Salsa but I can think of a million ways to use it. Pomegranate salsa is a clever way to bring some sunshine to a midwinter meal.
This beautiful Middle Eastern inspired rice pilaf is probably one of my favorite dishes that uses pomegranate seeds. They really do look like little jewels on top of this classic Middle Eastern pilaf. I think it’s made for the holidays, and will make any vegetarians or vegans at your table very happy.
Feature them in a Harvest Salad with Pomegranate Allspice Dressing
Pomegranates are used in both the salad and the dressing in this recipe. They brighten a seasonal salad and make it holiday worthy. The combination of pomegranate and allspice is a wonderful discovery, too.