What You Didn't Know About Pomegranates

How many times have you bought a pomegranate and then struggled with how to open it, or use it, when you got it home? There are dozens of reasons to revere the pomegranate. It's a superfood for one, packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Many cultures, such as those in Persia, Greece, and China, even consider the humble pomegranate a symbol of life, joy, and fertility (via Chowhound).

Pomegranates date back more than 8,000 years, according to POM Wonderful, depicted in famous artwork and used in weddings and religious ceremonies over the years. Despite their long history, many of us still have a hard time opening these culinary gems. POM Wonderful provides these instructions for easy opening: cut off the pomegranate top, a half-inch down from the crown. Score the skin along each visible white membrane section that divides the arils (arils are the red seeds inside). Over a large bowl of water, pull the pomegranate apart. Pull the arils off of the pomegranate using your thumb, and the seeds will float to the bottom. Toss whatever floats to the top.

How to use a pomegranate

Now that you finally know how to get those tiny seeds out of the fortress that is the pomegranate, what can you do with them? Those sweet, tart seeds are perfectly delicious on their own, of course, but there are many more options. You can create pomegranate juice using your blender, a juicer, or by crushing the seeds in a plastic bag. Once you have pomegranate juice, you can enjoy it as is, or add it to dressings, beverages, and sauces (via Chowhound).

Fall and winter are the perfect time to experiment with pomegranate recipes because the flavors blend so well with fall vegetables. Food & Wine suggests trying pomegranate molasses with oven-roasted squash, endive salad with kumquats and pomegranate arils, pearled barley salad with apples, pomegranate seeds, and pine nuts, or pomegranate-glazed roast pork. However you decide to use pomegranates this year, from savory to sweet, you'll agree that they're always worth those few extra moments of effort.