Pomegranates, those complex, garnet globes of tangy sweetness, are showing up in the region’s farmers’ markets and grocery stores. And while they’re beautiful to look at, they can be daunting to enjoy – who has the time to carefully break open the fruit and extract all the jewel-like seeds (proper name: arils)?
But before you pass by that pretty pink pile of pomegranates, consider buying a few to juice instead – it’s surprisingly easy to do. Not only is the juice tasty, says the Pomegranate Council it’s also particularly high in three different types of polyphenols, a potent form of antioxidants. The polyphenols – tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid – are credited with helping in the prevention of cancer and heart disease.
The Pomegranate Council suggests three methods of juicing the fruit (note – the juice stains, so be careful!):
1.) Rolling Method:
On a hard surface, press the palm of your hand against a pomegranate and gently roll to break all of the seeds inside (crackling stops when all seeds have broken open). Pierce the rind and squeeze out juice, or poke in a straw and press to release the juice. (Note: Rolling can be done inside a plastic bag to contain any juice that may leak through the skin.
2.) Juicer Method:
Cut the fresh pomegranate in half as you would a grapefruit. The Council recommends you use a hand-press juicer. If you use an electric juicer, take care not to juice the membrane, so that the juice remains sweet. Strain the juice through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve.
3.) Blender Method:
Place 1 ½ to 2 cups seeds in a blender; blend until liquefied. Pour through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve.
The Pomegranate Council also offers a number of delectable recipes, including this lovely and refreshing cocktail, which I will be serving to my guests at Thanksgiving:
1 oz. pomegranate juice
1 oz. Gin
4 oz. Bitter lemon or Lemon San Pellegrino®
1. Build all the ingredients over ice in a highball glass.
2. Garnish with a slice of English cucumber.