Pomegranate Fruit Uses, Recipes and Storage

Pomegranates

…..prepared by
Kathleen M. Bryant, Extension Agent III, Family & Consumer Sciences
University of Florida, IFAS Extension, Volusia County Extension
kmbryant@ufl.edu

How to Buy

  When ripe, the outer skin of the pomegranate becomes soft and can be scratched under gentle pressure.  The shape changes with the sides becoming slightly squared; it will look flattened on the sides.   As the seeds or arils as they are called reach their maximum juice content, they press against the outer wall and cause the sides to flatten.  Pomegranate color ripens to a deep red shade on the outside.  Before ripening, the skin is hard, tight and cannot be easily scratched.  Unripe pomegranate fruit is round in shape much like an apple. It is considered ready for harvest when the fruit makes a metallic sound when tapped.  If the fruit becomes over-mature, it tends to crack open if rained upon. 

  Once a pomegranate is picked it stops ripening but develops more flavor in storage.  Select fruit that are weighty for their size with taut, glossy, unbroken skin.

Tips for Storage

  Pomegranate keeping quality is similar to that of apples.  They should be kept in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place, out of direct sunlight.  Whole fruit can be refrigerated and will keep as long as 2 months.  Fresh seeds or juice will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.   

  Pomegranate arils can be frozen for later use.  To freeze, spread the arils, single layer, on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Put them in the freezer for no more than 2 hours, then transfer to a moisture, vapor-proof freezer bag or container for storage.  Return to the freezer and use within one year.

  The juice can be frozen or canned, however freezing is recommended as it maintains its flavor and color better.  To freeze, fill freezer containers, leaving ½ inch headspace.  Label with the date and store in the freezer in an upright position until juice is frozen.  Best if used within one year.

Fruit Uses

  The edible portion of the fruit includes the seeds and the juice-filled sacs that cover them.  They can be used as a garnish in fruit cups, compotes, salads, desserts, and as a snack.  The juice is used to make jellies, puddings, desserts, and drinks.  Grenadine is made from pomegranate juice and is used as a flavoring for some beverages.  Grenadine is a delicious topping for chilled fruits or ice cream.  Additionally, dried pomegranates seeds and juice sacs are available as spices in specialty stores.

Recipes

Pomegranate Jelly
Yield about 6 half-pints
3 ½ cups pomegranate juice (about 5 pounds) 1 package powdered pectin
5 cups sugar
To prepare juice: Cut pomegranates in half.  Extract juice from red seeds with a juice reamer.  Strain juice through a damp jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth.  Measure 3 ½ cups juice.
To make jell:  Combine juice and powdered pectin in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.  Return to a rolling boil.  Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Skim foam if necessary.  Ladle hot jelly into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace.  Adjust two-piece caps.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath canner.
Source:  Ball Blue Book of preserving 2008.
Pomegranate Sauce
Yield about 4 half-pints
5 cups pomegranate juice (about 10 large fruit) ½ cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
To prepare juice: Cut pomegranates in half.  Extract juice from red seeds with a juice reamer.  Strain juice through a damp jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth.  Measure 4 cups juice.
To make sauce:  Combine juice with sugar and stir to dissolve sugar.  Heat just to simmering and simmer three to five minutes.  Cool.  Store in the refrigerator for one to two weeks or freeze.  Use as toppings for ice cream or chilled fruits, or in beverages.
Source:  Preserve the Harvest, Pomegranates, Utah State University, Utah Cooperative Extension Service, June 2005
Grenadine Syrup
4 cups pomegranate juice 2 cups sugar
To prepare juice: Cut pomegranates in half.  Extract juice from red seeds with a juice reamer.  Strain juice through a damp jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth.  Measure 4 cups.
To prepare syrup: Combine juice with sugar and stir to dissolve sugar.  Heat just to simmering and simmer three to five minutes.  Cool.  Store in the refrigerator for one to two weeks or freeze.  Use as toppings for ice cream or chilled fruits, or in beverages.
Source:  Preserve the Harvest, Pomegranates, Utah State University, Utah Cooperative Extension Service, June 2005
Pomegranate Grenadine
3 cups pomegranate juice
Take 3 cups pomegranate juice and boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, and skim the froth till the juice reduces to 1 cup. Cool, bottle, and store in the refrigerator. This can be added to soups, sauces, and marinades for a rich, tart flavor.
Recipe from www.pomegranates.org.
Spinach Pomegranate Salad
1 (10 ounce) bag spinach leaves, rinsed and drained
¼ red onion, sliced very thin
½ cup walnut pieces
½ cup walnut pieces
½ cup crumbled feta
¼ cup alfalfa sprouts
1 pomegranate, peeled and seeds separated
4 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
Place spinach in a salad bowl. Top with red onion, walnuts, feta, and sprouts. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the top, and drizzle with vinaigrette.
Recipe from www.simplyrecipes.com.
Ginger Orange Pomegranate Relish Recipe
Seeds of 2 medium pomegranates (about 1½ cups)
1 tablespoon finely chopped orange zest on orange juice
½ tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon salt
Gently mix all ingredients together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. Recipe from www.homecooking.about.com
Pomegranate and Kiwi Salsa
3-4 ripe kiwifruit, peeled, carefully chopped
¼ cup pomegranate arils
½ avocado, peeled and chopped
1 heaping tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
1 tablespoon (adjust to taste) chopped fresh or pickled jalapeno chili peppers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the kiwifruit, pomegranate seeds, avocado, green onion and olive oil in a medium sized bowl. Gently fold in 1 teaspoon of jalapeno and add more to your desired level of heat. add cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. Recipe from www.simplyrecipes.com
Sweet Potatoes with Coconut, Pomegranate, and Lime
4 sweet potatoes
½ cup light coconut milk
¼ toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 cup pomegranate seeds
Lime wedges
Heat oven to 400°F. Arrange sweet potatoes, pricked with a fork, on baking sheet and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Slice tops and mash sweet potatoes with a fork. Divide coconut milk, coconut flakes, cilantro, and pomegranate seeds among sweet potatoes. Serve with lime wedges. Recipe from www.marthastewart.com.
Pomegranate Princess
38 cup pomegranate juice
38 cup fresh lemonade
1 ½ oz. sparkling water
Lemon slice for garnish
Mint sprig for garnish
Fill a tall tumbler glass a little more than halfway with ice cubes. Pour 38cup fresh lemonade into the glass, up to the halfway mark. Slowly add pomegranate juice. (The goal is to create a mix of half lemonade and half pomegranate juice, so adjust accordingly for the size of your glass). Add sparkling water and stir. Recipe from www. pomegranates.org.
Pomegranate Chicken Salad
Seeds from two pomegranates
½ cup golden raisins
1 pount cooked chicken breast meat, cut into 1 inch chunks
13 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 chopped apple
½ cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
¼ to ½ teaspoon curry powder
13 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ponegranate seeds, raisins, chicken, almonds, apple, celery, parsley, green onion, and curry powder. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Pour in the chicken mixture and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Recipe from www.ag.ndsu.edu
Pomegranate Gelatin
4 cups pomegranate juice
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
¾ cup sugar
Pour 1 cup of pomegranate juice in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over top. Set aside until the gelatin blooms, 3-4 minutes. Whish the remaining pomegranate juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat until boiling. Lightly stir in the gelatin mixture until it dissolves. Pour the gelatin into a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours or overnight. Cut the pomegranate gelatin into cubes and serve with fresh fruits, such as bananas, pears, and oranges. Recipe from www.foodnetwork.com

Pomegranates Other Uses

  • Peel: tooth powders, toothpastes, facial care products, coughing remedies, supplement in cow feed.

  • Trunk Bark: tannins used to cure leather, in making insecticides, alkaloids are active against tapeworms.

  • Rind and Flowers: yield dyes for textiles, used to reduce oral and throat inflammation, buds used to treat bronchitis.

  • Leaves: mixed with vinegar to make ink.

  • Fruit: extracts used as astringents, fruits used in ornamental decorations.

  • Wood: used for walking-sticks and in woodcrafts.

How to Extract Arils

  • Begin with plastic gloves and an apron, pomegranates are messy!

  • Cut off the crown end and score vertically into several segments.

  • Place pomegranate in a bowl of water, carefully break segments apart, and separate arils from the wall of the fruit.

  • Arils will sink while peel floats. Skim unwanted peel from top of water and drain arils in a colander.