I grew up in a household filled with “exotic” fruits and vegetables…or at least, they were pretty exotic at the time. My parents, who are both from Brazil, always had fruits like guava, mangos, passion fruit, star fruit, and pomegranates in the house. Whatever my dad could grow, he would and what he couldn’t grow, my mom would sometimes find in international markets, which thankfully there were quite a few of in South Florida.
One of the things that always baffled me was when people would say how difficult it was to open and deseed pomegranates. I never understood it, because I always found it easy peasy UNTIL, I saw someone open one on the food network. What a nightmare! They annihilated that poor fruit and made an absolute mess! Then I witnessed a friend of mine with her “underwater” version so that the juice didn’t spurt out and stain everything in sight. Ummmm….there’s a better way, and I’m going to show you how!
My next blog will be all about holiday goodies (Thanksgiving in particular), so I thought today I would share a festive cocktail that I came up with using these deliciously sweet and tart red jewels! I hope after you see how EASY it is to open and deseed a pomegranate, you won’t hesitate to pick one up next time you’re at the grocery store!!!
Before we get the ingredients out for my ‘Cyntini’, let’s show you how to properly open a pomegranate!!!
You’ll need a sharp pairing knife, a bowl, a dishcloth and of course….
Using a sharp pairing knife, you want to start about an inch or so from the top of the fruit, and cut a deep “score” around the pomegranate. Scoring basically means, somewhat of a shallow cut. As you can see from the first picture, I started a little too high, and had to adjust my cut. You want to go low enough that you can see the seeds poking through, but not so low or deep that you cut through the seeds.
Next you want to peel the top off, and remove the stem and core. To remove the core, simply use your pairing knife to cut around the core, and then “pop” it out.
Notice the membranes in the fruit (see where the knife is pointing). Those are your points of reference. Using your pairing knife, at that membrane line, make a shallow cut from the top of the fruit to the bottom, and you want to do this with each membrane “divider” (you can see how they kind of divide the seed clusters). Look at my knife while it’s cutting and you can see how deep to cut (not very deep at all).
Once you’ve made all of your cuts (for me, it was 6 – one at each “line”), using your thumbs, you want to pull the sections apart. This happens very easily.
Now, discard the membrane “papers” that divides each cluster – they peel off with no trouble at all. To get the seeds out, using a butter knife, hold one of the fruit clusters over a bowl, and whack the skin with the blunt side of the butter knife. Repeat until all of the seeds come out.
Another way to remove the seeds is to gently “pluck” the seeds away from the shell using your thumb. Try them both and see which way works best for you. Repeat the process with the rest of the clusters until you have a gorgeous bowl of delicious pomegranate seeds!
There are SO many things to do with these scrumptious little nuggets. My daughter and I LOVE eating them as is, with a spoon or tumble some of the seeds on top of some yogurt for a sweet and tart crunch!!!
OR, you can make my delicious “Cyntini”, which is the perfect cocktail for the upcoming holiday season…or any day :o) You’ll want a grapefruit flavored vodka (my preferred brand is below), St. Germain (which is an elderflower liquor YUM!), fresh lemon juice, pomegranate seeds and pomegranate juice. I made my own in my juicer, but feel free to use store-bought.
Just add all of the ingredients EXCEPT the seeds into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Give it all a REALLY good shake…shake….shake…. and then pour the perfectly sweet and tart pink hued liquid into your chilled martini glass. The longer you shake, the more likely you’ll get those delicious ice crystals to form in your glass after you pour out your drink. Add about a spoonful of pomegranate seeds to each glass and garnish with a thin slice of lemon and ENJOY!!!!!!!! Xoxo!
1 oz Pomegranate juice
2 oz Grapefruit Vodka (I like Belvedere Pink Grapefruit)
1 oz St. Germaine liquor
1 TBS of fresh lemon juice (don’t skip this part…it really adds so much to this drink)
2 TBS Pomegranate seeds (1 TBS in each glass)
2 thin slices of lemon for garnish (optional)
So while this cocktail is most delicious, I love using pomegranates in many dishes because of all of their health benefits. Not only are they the most anti-oxidant dense fruit (they are said to contain more anti-oxidants than blueberries, cranberries and green tea) studies have also shown that they can help lower blood pressure, lower your cholesterol and help in preventing muscle cramps.
Here are a couple more recipes using pomegranates that I think you’ll love!!!