Sunday, June 2, 2013

Pomegranate wrangling

At last some heavy rain and cold, strong winds blowing water under the door — that's more like it, Huey! It's the second day of winter here in Sydney and even the most dedicated gardeners are indoors today. Some might have their noses pressed against the window panes watching the rain streak down sideways, but me, I'm in the kitchen wrangling pomegranate arils (seeds) out of their membrane cells. 

Mind you, this isn't one of those pretend expert 'how it's done' blog posts. It more of a documentary on 'how I did it', and at the end of this posting I have a few YouTube links to how it's really done. My method basically worked, because here's the harvest, below.

Aren't pomegranate arils pretty? They taste nice too. I mostly
use them as a prettifier in salads, where they work a treat, but
this batch is for Pammy, who snacks on them, adds them to
her breakfasts, and stirs them into plain yoghurt.

Here's what it's like right now out in the garden here at Amateur
Land. Cold, wet and forbiddingly miz. Perfect kitchen weather.

And here's Pammy's pomegranate.

The first time I deseeded a pomegranate a lot of juice flowed
in all directions, so now I take no risks and use a big bowl.
First, I cut a lid off the top. Once this is done you can see
that pomegranates are a bit like oranges, in they consists of
a series of distinct segments inside.
Then I cut down the sides of the pomegranates to break it into
segments. I think I should have cut it into five segments, not
these four, but what the hell, I've done it now!
Then, using sheer brute strength, I broke the segments up.
OK, so I lied. They come apart with just a bit of a tug
from your fingers. It's just that I've always wanted to say
something about 'sheer brute strength' in the many years I have
been doing this blog, and still haven't had the chance.
In heaven, all the pomegranates break easily into distinct
segments filled with juicy, delicious, tangy rubies.
In hell, all the pomegranates (if you can find any, the prices
are ridiculous) are filled with nothing but this inedible membrane.
Consider this membrane your enemy and you're on the right path.
I had a separate bowl on the side where I tossed all the bits of
membrane. To do the whole job took about 10 minutes, but
that included me stopping endlessly to take these snaps.

Had to repeat my "traaa-daaa" shot of the bowl of pretty arils.

Now, as for how it's really done, there are endless variations available. 

This English video shows two basic methods. The first is the "Cut in half crossways then bash with a wooden spoon." I tried that once, and if you have a very juicy pomegranate it ends up like a scene from that immortal classic move 'The Bloodbath at the House of Death'. The second method is like mine: "Cut off lid, cut into segments, good luck." Here's the link.

I like the way this guy demonstrates how he does it at what looks like the dinner table, mid-dinner. How it should be done!

And this method is out there on the net. It's the "do it underwater" method. The problem with this is that you lose all the juice, which doesn't seem very smart. But if neatness is your top priority, this might be for you.


Louise Glut said...

I agree with you, they are pretty. And I am like Pammy - I snack on them. I have never grown them but have a few plants on order. Is yours a particular variety?

Jamie said...

Louise, I've created a false impression: mine is the variety "Shop Bought".

Missy Piggy said...

I use the cut in half method and bash with a wooden spoon. The first time I held the fruit in my hand gave myself a great whack with the spoon. OUCH!

Lanie at Edible Urban Garden said...

Ha! Love it (shop bought variety). My sister has a lovely pomegranate tree. They are great in salads, ticking both boxes of attractive and yummy.n

Lithopsland said...

Great job Jamie! They look delicious! I love pommys too & like to rip them open & eat them like a corn. :E

Michelle said...

Congratulations, you have arils! Lovely. One of my absolute favorite fruits. I use a similar method to yours, but rather than cut into quarters, I score the skin around the globe from top to bottom and then break it in half. Less ”blood" that way. The halves can then be broken into smaller chunks.

Simone Felic said...

gostei muito de seu blog, bela postagem sobre as romãs.
de uma passeada no meu blog.

Jenny said...

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Shailaja said...

There is a "sour" variety of pomegranate, too, whose arils (I learnt this word from this post. Thanks!)do not turn sweet even when fully ripe. They are dehydrated and used in certain Indian vegetarian recipes.