Break open the tough rind of a pomegranate and you'll find glistening clusters of translucent red seeds (known as arils), separated into groups by yellow-white membranes. To remove the pulp-covered arils, cut off the blossom end of the fruit and then score the rind four or six times. Submerge the pomegranate in a large bowl of water and break it into segments. Still working underwater, gently loosen the arils. The rind and membranes will float to the surface while the arils will drop to the bottom. A large pomegranate will have about 1 cup of arils.
Pomegranates & Health
Like grapes, pomegranates contain polyphenols, which are particularly potent antioxidants that protect against heart disease. According to Adel Kader, a professor of pomology (fruit growing) at the University of CaliforniaDavis, a glass of pomegranate juice has two to three times the antioxidant potency of an equal serving of red wine. Should you drink a glass of pomegranate juice every day? It certainly wouldn't hurt, because in addition to the polyphenols, pomegranates contain, on average, 9 milligrams of vitamin C—nearly 16 percent of the RDA—and are an excellent source of potassium. Eat the seeds from a whole pomegranate instead and you will get all these benefits plus a healthy dose—more than 5 grams—of fiber. Also, pomegranates are low in calories: An entire fruit has only about 105.
Pomegranate juice is great as a mixer or served straight up. It is available bottled, in health food stores, or you can make your own by cutting a pomegranate in half and using a citrus juicer; a large fruit will yield about half a cup.
Pomegranate molasses (also called pomegranate essence) is a concentrated juice sold in Middle Eastern markets that's often used in sauces, marinades and glazes. The word molasses refers to its syrupy texture, not its taste. You can make pomegranate syrup as a substitute by reducing 4 cups of pomegranate juice to about 3/4 cup and adding a little sugar.
Pomegranate vinegar, made from Champagne vinegar with a touch of pomegranate molasses or concentrated juice, brightens sauces and vinaigrettes.
World of Beauty
Imported from Florence, Italy, Santa Maria Novella Sapone al Melograno is a soap laced with pomegranate extract, which soothes dry skin ($12 for 110 grams; 800-362-3677). Avon's BeComing Get Clear Refreshing Mist—a hydrating spray applied after cleansing—is packed with pomegranate, grape-seed and soybean extracts to brighten the complexion ($12 for 5 ounces; 866-I-BECOME). Takashimaya Pomegranate Hydrating Body Gel from Japan has a hint of skin-smoothing vitamin C, as well as a tart, slightly sugary fragrance ($32 for 250 milliliters; 212-350-0100).
... Leesa Suzman