If you have visions of sitting under a pomegranate tree, biting into luscious fruit, with pomegranate juice running down your chin and staining your clothes, forget it. That’s not how to eat a pomegranate. Most of them don’t work that way. For instance, good luck biting into one unless you have serrated teeth. (Apparently there are thinner-skinned pomegranates, which do lend themselves more to the Suck and Dribble Method explained below.*)
OK, everybody on earth probably knew this except me: When you open a pomegranate you feel like someone played a joke on you. There is no fruit, just seeds. In most fruit that’s the part you get rid of: The core, the seeds. But in a pomegranate you get rid of all the rest of it, and just keep the seed things.
Imagine my surprise when I cut my very first pomegranate in half, wondering if it would be like an apple, or more like a pear, only to find all this white stuff, and some red seeds. “I’m marching this right back to Kroger,” methinks. “They sold me a bad pom.” Reminiscent of the old lady who used to march into Wendy’s, I cried, “Where’s the fruit?!”
I found out later the white stuff is pith, but you don’t eat the pith, thilly. You just eat the theeds. The seeds are the fruit. And you don’t cut the thing in half, because the seeds aren’t just in the center, they are clustered all through the pomegranate. “Packed inside (the pomegranate) are hundreds of ruby-red arils – sweet, tart, gem-like juice sacs, bursting with pure flavor,” according to the Pomegranate Council. So how do you de-seed a pomegranate, and how do you eat a pomegranate, and are you sure you even want to? (A resounding yes from the pomegranate gallery.)
First you cut off the top and set it aside for your pom top collection. Look down inside and you’ll see groups of gleaming red seeds growing in an orderly way between thin walls of pith! So then you score the pom vertically, but don’t cut it all the way through. Pull the sections apart to free them so they won’t be so . . . pithetic. Place them in a bowl of water, then roll out the arils (juice sacs) with your fingers. Throw out everything else. Pith and begone! Now pour off the water, and eat the arils, seeds and all. “Enjoy these little beauties as is, toss them into savory or sweet dishes,” yogurt or salad, or “use them as a brightly colored garnish,” gushes the Pomegranate Council. You’ll be in antioxidant heaven.
Alternate Way to Eat a Pomegranate: The Suck and Dribble Method*
Apparently, this trick was handed down from some old guy in ancient Persia. It seems that with the thinner-skinned pomegranates you can roll the fruit between your hands, smashing up the insides with your thumbs. You don’t break the skin, you just pulverize the pomegranate, as Caleb Walker explains in the piggy notebook. You’re breaking open all the little juice sacs/pods/seeds inside, and releasing the juice. Now bite a little hole in the side of the pom, hold it up to someone’s mouth and let him/her suck out some juice while you squeeze. Then he/she holds it up to your mouth, squeezes, and you suck, then back to the first person, then back to you, until juice has dribbled down your chins and you’re both all sticky. (Better not kiss at this point — you may permanently adhere to each other.) (I have not tried this and cannot vouch for the efficacy of such a method but ancient Persians are known to be fairly credible, think about their rugs.)
No Matter How You Eat a Pomegranate, You’ll Be Glad You Did. (initial caps used here for emphasis.)
The first person to ever eat a pomegranate must have been surprised, delighted (and sticky.) You will be too.
Song of Solomon 4:3; 6:7;8:2