5 Ways to Use Pomegranates in Your Cooking

Pomegranates might be the hardest and most tedious fruit to eat but the ends justify the means. However, there are three easy ways to de-seed a pomegranate. The ruby-esque seeds are jam packed with antioxidants, which may help prevent heart disease and cancer. They also have a very distinctive tart yet sweet and crunchy taste to them. If you're at a loss for what to do with this delicious fruit, here are some recipe ideas to get the (pomegranate) juices flowing: 

* Pomegranate, Beet, and Blood Orange Salad: This is a great salad recipe for the summer as the blood orange, beet and pomegranate combination is sure to be refreshing. Combine the three ingredients with some onions and vinaigrette or leave as is or toss in with some arugula to add more greenery and a taste of bitter to the mix.

* Mango Pomegranate Guacamole: Combine mashed avocados with onion, chiles, 1/4 cup lime juice, and a few sprinkles of sea salt, then add in the pomegranate seeds, mango, and cilantro. This is a tasty twist on the classic guacamole recipe and it brings a wow factor to any party you bring this to.

* Fresh seeds in a margarita or sangria: A great way to add some pizzazz to a frozen margarita or a glass of sangria is to add in some fresh pomegranate seeds. Another great cocktail to make is a Pomegranitini!

* Chocolate Cake with Pomegranate Granita: Chocolate and pomegranate is such a good combination of flavors as the super sweetness of the chocolate pairs well with the juicy tartness of the pomegranate. To make granita, just combine 2 cups pomegranate juice and 1/4 cup sugar in a glass baking dish and stir until the sugar dissolves. Leave the mixture in the freezer overnight or until firm. Serve with a small slice of your favorite chocolate cake.

* Orange and Pomegranate Marmalade: Combine slices of oranges with marinated orange water (orange slices in a quart of water left overnight) and add sugar and pomegranate juice in a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow the sugar to dissolve then keep on heat until it thickens. Stir in the pomegranate seeds and pour out into jars and let cool.

Photo: Greencolander on flickr

How To De-Seed a Pomegranate

Though pomegranates are high in antioxidants, it can be frustrating to get the seeds out of the fruit. Inside the grenade-like exterior jewel-toned seeds are suspended in the white membrane. Then, once you get some of the seeds out, you're hands and clothes are stained! Here is a plan of action for the next time you want to eat a pomegranate. Try one of these three ways to seed a pomegranate. 

Method 1: Underwater seeding

1. Open the fruit. Make one cut through the top of the pomegranate, extending halfway through the fruit. Break the fruit open with your hands. Wear latex gloves if you're concerned about the juice discoloring your hands. Work over a bowl to snare stray seeds. Make a cut halfway through each piece and break in two. Now, you have quartered the pomegranate. 2. Fill a bowl with water. 3. De-seed underwater. Hold the fruit under the water and gently scrape the seeds away from the membrane with your fingers. The membrane is less dense than water and will float to the top, while the seeds will sink. 4. Skim the membrane. 5. Strain the seeds from the water.

Unfortunately, soaking the seeds in water can detract from the flavor. Thus:

Method 2: Above-water seeding

1. Open the fruit. See above. 2. De-seed over a bowl. Gently pick the seeds from the membrane, or using a soft scraping motion, push the seeds off into the bowl. 3. Pick remaining membrane out of the seeds.

Method 3: Tapping

1. Cut the pomegranate in half. 2. Holding the pomegranate over a bowl, tap it with a heavy spoon to dislodge the seeds. 3. Scrape the remaining seeds out of the pomegranate with your hands.

Make this pomegranitini as a reward for all your hard work!