All hail the pomegranate, a sumptuous winter fruit that's both good for you and spellbindingly delicious. Its bounty lies in its arils, or seeds, whether you eat them whole or pulverize and drink them in an antioxidant-rich juice. (Pomegranates get their name from the Middle French term "pomme garnete," which literally means "seeded apple.")
You can choose to de-seed or juice a pomegranate right at home, but is it worth the effort? We examined the pros and cons.
(And no matter which option you go for, be sure to check out our 13 Best Recipes For Pomegranates.)
Not Worth Buying: Ready-To-Eat Seeds
Pomegranate seeds are addictive. Bursting with sweet-tart juice and finishing with a satisfying crunch, they're the ideal healthy snack. The problem, at least for some, is that they can be a little intimidating to excavate from the pomegranate's flesh if you haven't de-seeded one before. You need a decent knife, and the possibility of staining your countertops (or your clothes!) is very real.
You can buy ready-to-eat seeds in the refrigerated area of many supermarket produce sections. But at $3.99 for a four-ounce container (according to POM Wonderful), that can get pretty expensive -- especially when you consider a whole pomegranate sells for about $2 to $3, and one fruit can produce as many as eight ounces of seeds depending on its size. Why pay $2 more -- twice as much! -- to get your fix? (One benefit? Whereas the regular pomegranate season runs from October through the holidays, ready-to-eat seeds like POM POMS are available in grocery stores through February. So in that sense they're a great option.)
A much more frugal solution is to master de-seeding a pomegranate yourself. But first:
- Pick a good one. According to the Pomegranate Council, a ripe pomegranate should feel heavy and its skin should be firm and taut.
- Once you successfully remove the seeds, you can refrigerate them for up to 3 days. Or, you can keep in the freezer for up to six months by placing them in single layers on trays and then scooping them into a plastic container once frozen.
Worth Buying: Juice
Is it possible to juice a pomegranate at home? Absolutely. In fact, the Pomegranate Council lists three ways you can do so -- with a juicer, a blender, and even the palm of your hand -- on its website. But is it cost effective? Not so much.
While pomegranate juice is decidedly pricey at around $5 per 16-ounce bottle, the number of pomegranates you'd need to juice costs nearly twice that price. Here's how the math works out: One pomegranate, at $2 to $3 each, yields about four ounces of juice. So, it would cost $8 to $12 to fill a 16-ounce bottle with freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. That $5 isn't looking so bad now, is it?
(But if you decide to go for it anyway, fresh pomegranate juice can be refrigerated for up to three days and frozen for up to six months.)
Do you buy ready-to-eat pomegranate seeds or pomegranate juice? Let us know in the comments section below!