Ripe Now: Pomegranates
One of the oldest cultivated fruits, pomegranates are a symbol of longevity, fertility and abundance. This delightful winter fruit contains clusters of tart and sweet edible seeds called arils that can be eaten raw or juiced. Pomegranates bring beauty, sophistication and extensive nutritional value to a variety of sweet
and savory recipes.
Referred to as the original “superfruit,” pomegranates are often praised for their high level of polyphenol antioxidants that contribute to overall health and well-being. They are also an excellent source of fiber, vitamins C and K, and a good source of potassium, folate and copper.
Selection & Storage Tips
Pomegranates are in season mid-late October through January. They vary in color from light red to deep ruby and the deeper the color, the sweeter the flavor. When purchased, pomegranates should feel heavy for their size and the skin should be blemish-free. Store whole pomegranates in the refrigerator for up to two months or one month on the counter. Fresh pomegranate arils will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days and can also be frozen for up to six months.
Incorporate fresh pomegranate arils into breakfast dishes such as oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt or on whole grain toast as an alternative to jelly. These bright red beauties also bring sparkle to salads, slaws, salsa, dips, grain bowls and an array of desserts.
To make an antioxidant-packed juice, blend pomegranate arils and strain out the pulp. You can also use the arils to bedazzle beverages like sparkling water, lemonade, teas, fruit juices, smoothies, cider or holiday-inspired cocktails.
How to Remove Arils
Removing the arils from a pomegranate requires patience and a soft touch. Note that the juice causes stains, so protect your clothing with an apron and be careful with the surfaces or kitchen tools that come into contact with it. If you’ve never cut and seeded a pomegranate, follow one of these two techniques. Working with pomegranates may require a bit of effort, but trust us, it’s worth it.
• Cut the pomegranate around the center, twist and separate. Carefully pull to loosen the arils. Over a bowl, turn the pomegranate cut side down and tap firmly with a wooden spoon to allow the arils to release into a bowl.
• Cut the pomegranate into quarters. Place in a bowl filled with cold water and carefully bend skin to pop out the arils. The white membranes will float, and the arils will sink to the bottom. Use a strainer and discard membranes.