Pomegranates are popping up everywhere these days, from juices to beauty products. Just what to do with this fruit, however, can be a mystery if you don’t have a lot of experience with it. This superfood packs a healthy punch of vitamins and nutrients, so it’s definitely worth learning how to prepare pomegranate.
Getting To The Good Stuff
Figuring out how to peel a pomegranate, let alone how to use it in cooking, is tricky. It took me a few tries to get the method down, but once you get it, it’s pretty simple. Start by slicing off the crown end. Next, score the peel in lines running from top to bottom, being careful not to cut too deep or you’ll slice into the seeds. Pull the scored sections apart, and separate the seeds gently from the white pith. It can help to do this in a bowl of water to help unlock the seeds more quickly and then just strain it.
The pomegranate’s juice can stain your hands, so you may want to wear plastic gloves while cutting it or clean your hands with a little lemon juice and salt when you’re done.
Uses For Pomegranate
Once you’ve gotten the hang of peeling the fruit, you may be wondering what to do with it. While you can simply eat a handful of the seeds as a healthy snack, you might want to learn how to prepare pomegranate in recipes to get some more use out of it. Here are a few recipes with pomegranate to get you started:
Spinach and Pomegranate Salad
Pomegranate seeds make a great addition to any salads. I like to toss in a few spoonfuls with baby spinach, walnuts, and a sprinkle of feta cheese to make a quick, healthy side dish.
You can make a colorful, tangy relish to top dishes like pork chops. To begin, combine:
- 1-2 cups pomegranate seeds
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
- ½ of a shallot, chopped
Mix all the ingredients together before seasoning with salt and pepper. Let it chill for 30 minutes, and then it’s ready to use right away.
Quinoa and Pomegranate Salad
For a healthy side dish, mix:
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup mint, chopped
- ¼ cup slivered almonds.
Once assembled, just toss with some balsamic vinaigrette, and you’re ready to serve.
The seeds aren’t the only way to use pomegranate. From sauces and syrups to desserts, the juice of the pomegranate can make for a slightly more versatile ingredient. You can buy the juice already bottled, but it’s also practical to make your own at home. Just put the seeds in a blender and pulse a few times. Pour the juice through a mesh strainer into a container to separate the seed pieces. You can then fill ice pop juice molds with pomegranate juice and freeze, but it might be a little tart, especially for kids. To sweeten it up a bit, you can add some apple juice.
For a tasty, healthy dessert that also looks professional, try layered ice pops. Fill your molds one half with nonfat vanilla yogurt and freeze for about an hour or until it begins to harden. Fill the second half with pomegranate juice and freeze. You can also do smaller alternating stripes of the same, but you have to wait for each section to harden.
As an alternative to pancake syrup, you can boil down some pomegranate juice to make a tangy molasses.
Add the following to a saucepan:
- 4 cups pomegranate juice
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
Warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has melted. Let the mixture simmer for about an hour, stirring every ten minutes until it’s reduced down to about one cup of syrupy liquid. Let it cool. (It will store in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.) You can use it to top pancakes, desserts, like a scoop of ice cream, or as a sauce for meat dishes.
Once you start using pomegranates more in your cooking, you’ll find it’s easy to incorporate into dishes. What’s your favorite way to enjoy a pomegranate? Share your ideas with us on Twitter.
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.