Now in season, Pomegranates, though native to Iraq and Iran, remind me of my childhood, which I spent far away on the beautiful tropical island of Jamaica. Somewhat hard to eat, the hard fruits that grew in our yards would be left alone by adults, leaving us free as children to pick and eat to our hearts’ content. The hard skins of the small fruit would be ripped open by the older ones and then we would go through picking at the fleshy pink and white seeds, taking care to discard the bitter white lining between the compartments and the hard seeds at the centre. We didn’t like them and maybe it was that very reason why they grew in the yard in the first place.
When I came to live in the Middle East some years ago, I was stunned to see large pomegranates as big as grapefruits in the markets as the ones back home were at largest, the size of a lemon. I was even more shocked that once opened, they revealed bright red seed that were much sweeter than those in my Caribbean homeland. Needless to say, I went on a binge, and proudly touted my red tongue quite childishly in the mirror in utter glee. Also surprising to me was the fact that they were being used in recipes here. No adult in Jamaica would bother to do such a thing because it was thought to be too tricky to peel and only children have the patience to play with their food before actually being able to eat it.
There is no reason why you should avoid pomegranates and so we are helping you to peel yours with ease and this method preserves the flesh so you will yield more and loose less. Here’s how we turned a childhood treat into an adult epicurean delight!
Using the tip of a sharp knife, gently score a circle around the top of the fruit. Try to pierce only the skin and not the fruit beneath. You may use a paring knife if you need more control, but we are ok with using our chef’s knife. You will be using your other hand to hold the fruit but as this was a one woman demonstration, the camera is in my other hand and this is just for illustration. I would never attempt this with only one hand. Note that I have placed a plastic cutting board on top of my wooden cutting board because these red poms stain and I didn’t want my board stained!
Once you have completed the circle, gently peel away the top of the fruit.
It will look like an exposed brain (if only brains looked this good in the raw! You will also see white veins separating the fruit into 4-5 segments.
Using the tip of your knife, score along each vein lengthwise to the bottom of the fruit. You will be using your other hand to hold the fruit, again reminding you that this is a one woman demonstration so camera is in other hand. There is no way to do this without two hands!
Once all segments are scored, put your thumb in the top middle of the fruit with other fingers down the bottom for support. Do the same with the other hand. Remember, I only have one to show you 🙂 Once secured, gently pull each hand apart, ripping the fruit.
It will break apart into the segments. Further separate segments that are still intact. Then gently pick the fruits away from the hard sking and tear away the bitter white part that segments the fruit. Some people bash a wooden spoon on the fruit but you lose too much juice (which splatters) when you do that.
And there you have it- your reward! Place in a bowl and munch away, juice it, or use these jewels to adorn other dishes like our Chinese Stir Fry Duck with Pomegranate. Yum!