Monday, September 8, 2008

POMEGRANATE DAY

After pruning all morning I decided it was picking time this afternoon. Various critters are making inroads into my crop of pomegranates and I keep finding new ones on the ground in the mornings. They have to work hard at getting out the seeds as the skin of this variety (Wonderful) is tough and leathery.
The pomegranate is native to Iran and Northern India but has been grown in the Mediterranean countries and Caucasus for centuries and giving its name to the city of Granada in Spain. The origin of the name  comes from the latin pomim (apple) and granatus (seeded).  Many seeded it is and the challenge is getting those seeds out. I have decided there is no easy way but to cut in quarters and break open the membranes. It's best to do the job outside because it can be messy and most would wonder is it all worth it. No ordinary juicer will stand up to the a pomegranate and I have found the best way is to use my good old Mexican lemon squeezer. 
A couple of large fruit yield about 500cc of pure juice. The juice has a cloudy appearance and will settle clear but I believe many of the healthful properties lie in the cloudy residue so I don't usually discard it. We drink the juice, which can also be used to make a salad dressing and use the seeds whole in salads. In the past I have made pomegranate syrup which is great for margaritas.
Last year I threw the seeds onto the ground and many of them germinated. Don't know what kind of tree they will produce but it is worth a shot. The tree is not fussy about what it grows in and is quite happy in rock strewn gravel. 
Ideas for seed removal and juicing gratefully received.
Here is a picture of last years pomegranate with the dreaded leaf footed bug nymphs. They preferred tomatoes this year.


11 comments:

  1. I love pomegranates but have to buy mine from the grocery store. They'll start to show up in a few weeks and be available until early January.

    I break them open under cold water in a bowl and the seeds, which I put on salads and fruit salads, fall to the bottom of the bowl, the rind stuff floats to the top. But I don't end up with juice squirting out all over!

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  2. Carol. Thanks for the water idea. I will try it when I tackle some more tomorrow. We are having them in a salad tonight with dressing made from the juice. They are very expensive to buy here in Texas, which is a surprise. How much do you pay in Indiana. less than $2.99 I hope.

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  3. I've once tried that under-cold-water technique, too (learning it from Martha Stewart, I think--loathe that I am to credit her.) It was allot of trouble but yummy. I'm totally ignorant and need to look this up, but do you know if my new "dwarf" version is also edible?

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  4. I would expect so but I imagine it would be difficult getting the seeds out.

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  5. They're such beautiful fruits, Jenny - my tree didn't make any fruit yet, but I'm hopeful some day I can use Carol's underwater trick for salads. The juice is very pricey at the store!

    And like Iris, I hope the dwarf pomegranates are edible because one followed me home from the Natural Gardener on Saturday.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  6. Anyone know how to stop the critters from getting my pomegranates? They leaving partially eaten ones in the tree. I looked at one and it had a few bugs inside- The bugs were squared off, black, long legged things, like a small praying mantis- you know, long, skinny legs... triangular shaped pointy head... I must have touched the pomegranate 'cause they started flying out! I was startled to say the least- I didn't stick around to see where they were headed, as long as it wasn't at me!

    That was last season- I went out today and noticed a nice looking fruit beginning to grow. On it sat one of the bugs- he was smaller than the ones that had gorged themselves on the fruit. Had he picked this one out and was guarding it while he waited for it to ripen... I don't mind sharing- I just wish they would! Any help?

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  7. I can tell you exactly what they are. Leaf footed bugs. I had them on my poms last year. This year those devils sucked the life out of my tomatoes whilst I was gone and ruined 1/2 the crop. I caught one on the a pom the other day and squished the life out of it. I would do the same if I were you. I will add a picture to the post of what the nymphs look like so you will know in the future to watch out for them. The picture was taken last year.

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  8. Hello! Annie just sent me here, after seeing that I harvested my first two pomegranates yesterday evening. As for my first juice, I went for a pomegranate martini. It looks as if you have loads more fruit them me - I was optimistic about mine trees this year, and am hopeful that next year will yield more. Yum.

    http://talesfromthelaboratory.typepad.com/tales_from_the_microbial_/2008/09/an-evenings-har.html

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  9. Beautiful photos! I transplanted my mini-pom last year and it didn't fruit this year...Pom-Marg's sound yummmy:)

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  10. When I can find them here in Indiana, I pay about $2 a piece for pomegranates. I don't think, hope, it isn't $3 this winter! And my favorite candy is dark chocolate covered pomegranates, a candy that shows up at Sam's Club with their Christmas goodies. Love 'em!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

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  11. As I'm a dark chocolate fan those Christmas treats sound wonderful. Are the seeds dried or fresh? I just ate a whole dark toblerone bar in less than 24hrs. I really shouldn't buy them because I have no will power once I get going.

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