The pomegranate has a rich history and has been around for centuries. The beautiful skin—which ranges from yellow-orange to deep reddish-purple—houses a multitude of seeds, which create a sweet and tangy juice that can be used in sauce recipes, savory and sweet dishes, and as a flavoring for drinks. The whole seeds can also be eaten fresh, added to salads, or used as a colorful garnish.
To peel a pomegranate, first cut off the crown and gently scoop out some of the center core without disturbing the seeds. With a sharp knife, score just through the outer rind around the fruit in quarters. Put your thumb in the core center and gently pull apart the sections. Peel away the inner white papery skin covering the seeds and discard. Gently invert the skin inside out and the seeds will pop out to be easily removed without bruising.
Separating the Seeds
The unadorned, fresh seed pips make a beautiful edible and colorful garnish. This is why you will see them used often on gourmet dishes from salads to entrees to desserts. They work with every course.
To facilitate separation of the white membrane from the pips, place cut pieces in a bowl of cold water and gently separate the juicy seeds. The membrane pieces should float to the top of the water for easy separation.
If you want the juice, but not the seeds, you have a number of options:
- Use a food mill to grind fresh juice from the seeds, leaving the seeds trapped in the mill.
- Pulse the pips in a blender with short bursts and strain.
- Cut the fruits in half crosswise and ream them as you would a lemon.
- Place the seeds in a sealed plastic freezer bag and roll over them with a rolling pin.
The above methods may impart a touch of bitterness due to the abrasion of the seeds, but the bitterness should be minimal if you have a light and patient touch.
You can also slow cook the seeds in a bit of water in a crockpot or on the stovetop, and press through a sieve or cheesecloth to remove the seeds. This method takes more time but results in less bitterness.