When broken open, the leathery skin of a
pomegranate reveals a shimmering sea of tiny seeds encased in a
translucent ruby-red pulp. The sweet-sour seeds can be used as a garnish
for salads and desserts, and they make a delicious snack on their own.
When choosing pomegranates, look for large, heavy fruits with thin skins
that feel as if they are about to burst open from all the seeds packed
To store whole pomegranates, keep them in
the refrigerator for as long as 3 months. The seeds can also be scraped
out of the fruit, packed in an airtight container, and frozen for 3
months. To extract whole pomegranate seeds, cut a thin slice from the
blossom end of the fruit, taking care not to pierce any of the seeds.
Lightly score the skin of the fruit from stem to blossom end in four to
six places, without cutting through to the seeds. Gently break the fruit
apart along the scored lines, then bend back the rind of each piece to
reveal the seeds. Gently free the seeds from the pithy membranes.
Pomegranate juice stains easily, so protect your clothing as you work.
Cut the fruit in half around its equator in
order to extract the juice. Cover the cut sides with 2 layers of
dampened cheesecloth and tie them to hold in place. Squeeze the juice
from each half through the cheesecloth into a bowl (as you would squeeze
an orange). Or you can roll the pomegranate against a countertop to
crush the seeds beneath the skin and release their juice (be careful not
to burst the skin). With a sharp knife, cut around the stem, and remove
the stem and the plug of flesh beneath it to create a hole. Invert the
pomegranate over a bowl and gently squeeze the fruit, draining the juice
through the hole. You can also remove the seeds and puree them in a
blender. Then, strain the juice before using.