Choose a pomegranate that is firm and heavy for its size. A perfect looking premium pomegranate will be free of tears in the surface and hardened skin. However at small specialty stores that buy from small growers and at farmers markets we often find fruit of many sizes and grades. A cracked pomegranate is the indication of fruit that was on the tree longer and the flavor is outstanding.
A hardened dehydrated pomegranate is a sign of age, but it is also a sign that the bitter oils in the skin and membrane have dehydrated leaving the perfect flavor of just the seeds. No matter how you like your pomegranate one thing is for certain, pomegranates are high in vitamin C and recent studies have shown that they contain higher antioxidant levels than red wine and green tea.
To prepeare, remove the seeds from the fruit by slicing off the stem and blossom ends, scoring it from top to bottom, and submerging it into a bowl of water. Under the water the spongy seed casing will float to the top of the bowl and the tasty seeds will sink to the bottom. Any burst seeds that would normally bloody your shirt will leak into the water. The trick is to make sure that the fruit is completely submerged while breaking apart. With a strainer scoop all of the spongy casing off the top and place it into the compost bin. Then pour the water out of the bowl over a colander to catch all of the seeds.
An 11th century Persian poet wrote “pomegranates splitting open under the autumn sun to reveal their precious cargo of jewel-like seeds, like innocents expose the secrets of their hearts to the whole universe.”
A hardened dehydrated pomegranate
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