DECEMBER 2014 ;e Costco Connection 73
By Hana Medina
IT’S YOUR FIRST time handling a whole
pomegranate. So what do you do? If your
answer is “Improperly cut into the explosive,
red, juicy arils (or seeds), unintentionally re-creating a kitchen murder scene,” you’re not
alone. Me? I missed the knife memo, bit into it
like an apple and got a mouthful of what
tasted like bitter leather.
Since I obvioulsy needed help, I consulted
Tom Rouse, vice president of POM Wonderful
(a Costco supplier), who gave me some pointers
on how to prepare this divine fruit sans leather
and crime scene. It turns out a whole pomegranate isn’t as complex as it seems.
Pomegranates, which grow on bushy
shrubs and small trees, have been eaten for
8,000 years, making them one of the oldest
cultivated fruits in history.
POM Wonderful grows 15,000 acres of
the Wonderful variety (which inspired the
company name) in California’s San Joaquin
Valley. This is the largest pomegranate, popular for its tart and sweet profile.
The Wonderful pomegranate comprises a
leathery exterior called the rind, and an inner
white flesh that surrounds the juicy, ruby red
arils, the only part that’s actually consumed (as I
discovered). There are more than 500 varieties
of the fruit, some of which are ornamental, or
are largely absent of arils.
The Wonderful variety is picked starting
between late September and early October and
continuing through January. Pomegranates are
picked and sold whole, harvested for arils, made
into juice or concentrate, or even sold for use in
cosmetics and beauty products.
Uses and nutrition
The arils’ combination of sweet and tangy
complements a wide range of dishes. You can
eat plain arils as a healthful snack, or use them
to top salads and ice cream, transform baked
goods into delicacies or concoct full-bodied
sauces and marinades for meat. “You can put
them on just about any dish to add a little flavor
that you wouldn’t otherwise have,” says Rouse.
The juice and arils are especially great in
holiday cocktails, for which you’ll find endless
recipes on the Internet.
While pomegranates’ robust flavor is
reason enough to reach for one, they’re
loaded with health benefits: They are a good
Loosen. Under the water, loosen the arils
and allow them to sink to the bottom of the
bowl; the membrane will float to the top.
Scoop. Use a spoon to scoop out the pieces
of white membrane that have floated to the
top of the water.
Strain. Pour the arils and remaining liquid
through a strainer.
source of fiber and polyphenol antioxidants,
which are great for digestion and fighting
disease, respectively, and also high in vitamin C and potassium.
Picking and storing
When choosing a whole pomegranate, use
weight to decide. The heaviest ones contain the
most juice, which means they contain more arils.
Rouse says not to worry about how pomegranates look as they ripen, as there’s no real correlation between look and taste. “Some of the
best fruit internally [has] a little age on [it],” he
says. “[A pomegranate may] look a little scarred
up and perhaps a little dehydrated. But the fruit
inside that pomegranate is actually spectacular.”
Whole pomegranates last for up to a
month on the counter, or up to two months in
the refrigerator. Fresh arils last for about two
weeks in the fridge, but they can be frozen for
Pomegranates make a festive addition to
any meal. Don’t be afraid to crack open a whole
pomegranate (see below); just don’t wear white
like the person in the photo in case it goes awry.
And if you really can’t be bothered, know that
ready-to-consume arils and juice are available
for folks like you and me. C
Cut. With a sharp paring knife, cut off the
top about a half inch below the crown.
Open. Using both hands, carefully pull
the pomegranate apart in a bowl of water,
breaking it into smaller sections.
Score. Once the top has been removed,
four to six sections of the pomegranate
divided by the white membrane will be
visible. With the knife’s point, score the
skin along each section.
In our digital editions
Click here for a video about
(See page 11 for details.)
How to open a pomegranate
The Costco Connection
Look for whole pomegranates (of the
Wonderful variety), arils and pomegranate
juice at your local Costco.
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