Research has shown that the antioxidant content of pomegranate juice can reverse atherosclerosis, lowering one’s risk of heart disease. Let’s take this one step further. Instead of drinking a blood-sugar-spiking 8oz. glass of pomegranate juice, cut open the cheery red fruit and eat its arils (the red pods nestled within the white pulp.) You’ll still reap the full benefit of the antioxidants, plus you’ll get an added dose of insoluble fiber. Not to mention the gustatory experience you will get to enjoy when you crunch into those arils, and their juice bursts out into your mouth. Some people are shy about preparing and eating a pomegranate because it looks confusing and they’re not sure which parts are edible. Never fear, because there is an easy way to prepare this superfood of a fruit.
Fill a medium sized bowl with cold water. After rinsing your pomegranate, set it “tuft” side up on a glass (or any other material that won’t stain) cutting board. Make one cut through the tuft from top to bottom, splitting the fruit in half. Make one more cut through each of those halves, again cutting right through the tuft. Working with one wedge at a time, hold it over the bowl of water, bend the peel away from the arils, and start to gently loosen the arils from the pulp. Don’t worry if any pieces of pulp fall into the bowl. Keep pushing the arils out into the bowl. It may take you a minute to get your technique down to the point where you aren’t crushing the arils with your fingertips, but after you’ve determined the right amount of pressure, the process can become somewhat meditative.
After you’ve freed all the arils from the rind, toss the rind into your compost pile, and then give the bowl a good shake. Separate the lingering arils from the chunks of pith that may have fallen in the water. Now for the best part…the pulp and any rotten arils will float right up to the top of the bowl. Skim them off, add more water and then shake the bowl again. Skim one last time and you’re left with your reward, a glimmering pile of fresh juicy arils. The little seed inside the aril is edible, so your work here is done! Dig in with a spoon, or keep them in the fridge to use in recipes. If you cut open a few pomegranates at a time, you can prepare a good sized pile of arils that you can freeze for later use, and you only have to wash your cutting board once!
If you’d like to read more about the health benefits of pomegranates, a well-written article may be viewed in the Life Extension magazine.
Top photo of opened pomegrante by Anton Croos -wikimedia commons
Pom seeds on a plate: Sakartvelo – wiki creative commons
Cross section photo: Imaadwhd@gmail.com wiki creative commons
1. Aviram M, Dornfeld L, Rosenblat M, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption reduces oxidative stress, atherogenic modifications to LDL, and platelet aggregation: studies in humans and in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 May;71(5):1062-76.
2. 9. Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation. Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):423-33.
Originally posted November 2011 on sandybaird.com