This pomegranate brought me back to life!
So said my 6 year old daughter Luna when she got through the very last drop of her abeh anar – pomegranate juice. Next came the search for any surviving seeds that didn’t have their juice sucked right out of them. Dainty, stained fingers ripped though the ravaged piece of fruit in hopes of one more little morsel, one more blood-red seed, one more crunch.
My childhood in Iran during the autumn months meant the arrival of pomegranates, and with it the cold winter months. The pomegranates would be quartered for us, and we’d pick through them for seeds. An after-school snack, dessert, something to keep us occupied and out of the way of the adults for a while. But what I loved most was sucking the juice right out of the pomegranate. No juicers, no special equipment. Just a strong yet careful pair of hands to do the squeezing.
Juicing a pomegranate
1 pomegranate, rinsed (organic if possible)
I highly recommend doing this over the kitchen sink at first until you get the hang of it. And it is also advisable to not wear your favorite freshly laundered and pressed white men’s button-down. So go ahead and put on an apron.
It should also be pointed out that my husband is the official pomegranate squeezer in our house. Like I said – strong yet careful hands.
Gently but firmly squeeze the pomegranate with both hands to release the juice inside the seeds.
You will start to feel the seeds crunch and the fruit soften.
Work your way through the entire fruit.
You want the pomegranate to soften but don’t over do it or the fruit will burst.
Take care not to break through the skin.
If you do – don’t panic – try to recover as much of the juice as possible. It might involve sticking your head right under the pomegranate with your tongue dashing about madly trying to catch every antioxidant-filled drop of delicious life-altering goodness. This will not look pretty. But it will be oh so delicious.
If you have been successful and have not been afflicted by the above-mentioned calamity, take a sharp pointed tool like the tip of a knife and make a small incision in the skin somewhere in the middle of the pomegranate. BE READY.
The juice is going to come gushing through. So have a mouth ready to start sucking the heck out of that fruit. Gently squeeze as you suck.
Or you can squeeze the juice right in a glass.
On most days my girls want the juice right away and don’t want to work for it, so we squeeze it in a glass. They drink up that juice in one straight shot.
Luna, take a breath in between sips.
But Mama, it’s so good. I can’t stop.
It’s mid-winter and we won’t be enjoying pomegranates for much longer. But for now, while we still can, we’ll keep on squeezing, and relishing this ethereal nectar from this fruit that seems to carry with it stories from far away lands, from times long, long ago. Or maybe it’s just a reminder of a time not so long ago. A reminder of a childhood in a land that was once home. A reminder of children walking around sucking on pomegranates.
Get yourself a pomegranate and let those seeds and juices bring you back to life.
Thank you for joining me on this food journey! And tell me, how did the pomegranate squeezing go for you?
UPDATE: My mom just checked out my inaugural post and she called right away with some advice. As she is apt to do. From Maman: When looking for the juiciest pomegranate choose one with a bumpy surface. Not a smooth surface. Those bumps are the juicy seeds bulging out.
Good to know!