We’ve been seeding pomegranates in our house. Splitting open plump and heavy orbs by the bowl full. Releasing a tumble of ruby red arils from their jewellery box and capturing a crimson river of sweetly scented juices as we work. Last count? Eight in almost no time at all. Our coveted prize courtesy of the changing of the seasons or more specifically Autumn and my father’s rather prolific pomegranate bush. Of course this means we now like to think of ourselves as experts in the the art of pomegranate seeding.
Over the years we’ve tried every method known to man. For a long time our favourite method was simply to slice each leathery orb in half, grab a wooden spoon and whack really hard until hundreds of glistening little jewels and their juices were released into a large bowl underneath. This whole process best performed over a large kitchen sink. The easiest way to deal with the clean up aftermath with its inevitable staining mess.
This year we discovered a far more elegant and efficient technique. With five or six clever incisions into the peel, each pomegranate opens out like petals off a flower to reveal its prize. Each petal is then simply flexed or twisted to easily release the seeds and their juices into a large bowl with minimum of mess. My Instagram link above explains how.
High in Vitamin C and so very rich in antioxidants, pomegranates are an ancient Middle Eastern super food attributed with a wide range of health benefits. From improving immunity and aiding digestion to protecting against cancer and heart disease. High in flavour but low in calories they’re also a very welcome Autumn addition to my 5-2 fast day repertoire. One medium sized pomegranate contains approximately 105 calories, or more specifically half a cup of seeds yields just 72 calories.
Tart but sweet, crunchy yet juicy pomegranate seeds are wonderful eaten on their own, but more importantly can be used to add sweetness and texture to all manner of fast day brunch bowls and salads. Personally I like to scatter them by the 9 calorie tablespoon, using as little or as much as is allowed with reference to any particular fast day’s progressive calorie count. With pomegranate season in full swing I’ll been feasting while I’m fasting on my 5-2 diet adaptation of Ottolenghi’s Tomato, Pomegranate And Roasted Lemon Salad.
Once seeded, pomegranate arils can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 days or so. It’s worth noting they also freeze beautifully for up to 3 months. I simply scoop them by the half cupful into snack sized ziplock bags. For something a little different that delivers an intense flavour, I sometimes also like to dry roast them in a heavy based wok or skillet over a medium flame until the arils release their juices and begin to caramelise. The result is something akin to a cross between a semi dried sour cherry and cranberry.