Friday, December 23, 2005

The Most Decadent Thing $4 Can Buy

I love pomegranates.  Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em.  My absolute favorite fruit (although raspberries are a close second).  The little dudes are only available in autumn, and I try to pack in a whole year's worth of enjoyment during their three-month season.

In some ways, it's surprising that I like a fruit that requires so much effort.  (Because, really, I'm the sort of person that selects my dinner based on which frozen dinner has the shortest cooking time.)  But ever since I was a kid, I sorta had my way of addressing a pomegranate....

When you get it from the store, keep it in the plastic fruit bag it came in.  You'll need that.  Then get out a big knife and a cutting board.  Put the pomegranate -- still in the bag -- on the cutting board.  Slip the knife in there and cut that bugger in half.  Then cut each half in half.  If you hadn't kept the pomegranate in its bag, you'd have red sticky juice all over the kitchen.  Conveniently, the bag has trapped it all.  Now clean the knife, wash down the cutting board, and move on to step two.

Put a quarter of the pomegranate in a bowl.  Take two napkins.  (Trust me, you'll need them.)  Then, address the pomegranate.  Peel the white bits off and leave them in the bowl.  Eat the red juicy seeds.  (I just learned that they're called arils.  Go figure.)  Usually, you'll have to pick the arils out and eat them one at a time.  Sometimes, you can bend the quarter in such a way as to present ten or fifteen seeds in your general direction.  You can try to bite them all off at once -- you'll usually miss, and the red juice will spray around the room, onto your clothes, and down your arm.  This is where those napkins come in handy.

It generally takes me two napkins for each quarter of a pomegranate.  When I was little, I used an apron as well.  A friend once taught me that you can fill a bowl with water and then pick out the pomegranate seeds under water.  This works because the white pulpy bits will float, while the arils will sink.  When you're done, skim off the pulpy bits, strain out the water and voila -- a small bowl of pomegranate arils.  The payoff is pretty good, butI find that the separating under water thing takes too much effort -- so generally I stick with the two napkins to a quarter plan.

And then I saw them in the store -- in the refrigerated food section:  Pomegranate arils.  Eight ounces worth.  Already separated from their pomegranates.  Big and dark red and juicy and ready to eat.  They sold for $8 each -- which was highway robbery -- but it was only $3.99 with a store club card.

I spent the evening, sitting in front of the TV, eating the entire eight ounces (allegedly three servings) right out of the bowl.  With a spoon.  None of this one-seed-at-a-time crap for me.  Just big hearty mouthfuls of tasty pomegranate goodness.  Man.  This is the life.


dklars said...

Do you eat the white things inside the aril, or spit them out?  I love them, too, but I don't often buy them because of the mess!

grodygeek said...

Its nice to hear about something you truly love.

I think you must be very regular in pomegranates season if I correctly recall.

the cycling curmudgeon

kissthisalilbit said...

Hahahaha!!!   Never had one, sounds good though... I'll have to try it... Nicole~

blondepennierae said...

Oh, I love pomegranates too.  Not are they wonderful to eat they are pretty to look at.  And the flowing down your chin sometimes just sets the mood for more, and more, and more!  Merry Christmas, Pennie

nzforme said...

Yes, Kath, them little seeds inside the arils are perfectly edible.  I was shocked when the people in the store mentioned that they spit them out, as I've always just swallowed the arils whole.

helmswondermom said...

Thank you!  Now I know how to eat them!  I'm saving this entry for future reference.