Every now and then, little things will remind me how incredible nature is. Take the pomegranate. Tough, leathery, dull on the outside. Crack it open and it reveals clusters of jewel-toned red fleshy seeds that are sweet and tart. When I was little, a house on our block grew pomegranate trees in the front yard. I would often ride my bike around the block, stop under the tree and steal a couple pomegranates. Unable to wait even the few seconds it would take to turn the corner, I’d brazenly sit under the tree, break the shell open and dig in face first. All that would be left at the scene of the crime was a pile of skins and masticated seeds (I know, I was kind of a rotten kid).
But I’m not the only one who has been lured into sinful temptation by the pomegranate. In Greek mythology, Persephone was lured into the Underworld by a pomegranate. In Christianity, it is often said that the forbidden fruit was the pomegranate in the Garden of Eden.
So why have people all over the world and throughout time been so obsessed with pomegranates? Well, aside from being tasty, it is has incredible health powers. It does great things for the heart by preventing bad cholesterol from oxidizing, which causes the artery walls to harden. It has also been shown to decrease growth of prostate cancer in mice, which suggests similar success for humans. Not to mention it contains folic acid, fiber, potassium, niacin and vitamins A, E and C.
This week’s muhammara (a roasted red bell pepper and walnut spread that originates from Aleppo, Syria) features pomegranate molasses, but my favorite way to enjoy this fruit is to just eat it in its raw form. And there are plenty of opportunities to do so now that they’re in season. However when you open a pomegranate there are all these little chambers of seeds that you need to gingerly pluck off thin membranes– the task can get tedious! So below is a video showing you an easy way to deseed a pomegranate in just minutes without the painstaking picking.
1. Cut the pomegranate along its equator.
2. Over a bowl of water, hold half of the pomegranate cut side down facing your palm and with another hand using a wooden spoon hit the pomegranate.
3. Keep rotating the pomegranate and smacking it with the spoon until all the seeds have fallen out.
4. Using a strainer, strain out the white inedible pieces that have fallen, and then strain out the water. And you have pomegranate seeds!
(Image from here)