Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Perfect Pomegranate

The pomegranate is one of the many wonders of nature. Hidden beneath it's leathery exterior are a multitude of delights, packaged away like no other fruit. The tough skin makes extracting the pomegranate's. hidden treasures. Once upon a time we would spend what seemed like hours trying to extract all of the seeds. Surely there must be a better way?
Well, there certainly are. A quick search of the Internet will reveal the spoon trick. You can score the skin around the equator, halve the pomegranate, then paddle it with a wooden spoon over a bowl. Even with some of the gadgets to help, this always seemed a bit of a brute force and ignorance approach to me. It also leaves you with a bowl full of seeds mixed with pith which you have to pick over to separate. The delicate seeds are also often bruised, allowing the tartly delicious juice to leak out.
Surely there must be a better way?
There is. The structure of the fruit holds a secret key to not only extract the seeds, but also expose the inner beauty hidden away beneath the skin. If you inspect the the fruit closely you will find that there are a six just perceptible ridges running from the stem end to the blossom end of the fruit. These ridges are are reveal where the segments of the thick pith are separated by the seeds.
The flower is opened, and adorned with clementines
If you take a sharp knife, and trim off the blossom end, then score from the cut to just near the stem you will have turned the key in the lock. Now gently prise apart the the segments like opening up and orange, and you find yourself holding a flower of pomegranate seeds covered by the white membrane. This just peels off, leaving you with something like this to delight both the eye and the stomach.
This approach also allows you to snap off the segments and quickly seed them into a bowl without having to resort to abusing the poor fruit and its fragile contents.
So, the next time you see a pomegranate in the store, and it is firm and feels dense in the hand I encourage you to give it a try. You won't be disappointed!

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