Juicy, sparkling pomegranate seeds are like little gems in the winter months, adding bright color and flavor to all kinds of dishes. They’re a key ingredient in Mediterranean cooking, adding ruby-red crunch to salads and desserts. With a new collection of products produced in partnership with Pom Wonderful®, we have more excuses than ever to incorporate the wonderful flavor of pomegranate into our cooking. Read on for our best tips for working with pomegranates, plus creative ways to use them from the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen.
Pomegranates: Everything You Need to Know
What to Look For
Look for large, firm, deeply red fruits with a plump shape and smooth peel. Avoid any with dried or browned skin. Deeply colored, large fruits, which will have a more of the clear red, juicy, crisp pulp. Heavy fruits promise more juice. The tough skin should be thin and nearly bursting with seeds. Press the fruits gently; if they release a powdery cloud, return them to the bin — the pulp is dry as dust.
Here’s how to see a pomegranate without making a mess: Cut off the crown of the pomegranate near the blossom end and remove it. Score the skin of the pomegranate from end to end, beginning your cut where the inner white membrane meets the peel and working along the outside of the fruit. Holding the scored pomegranate in a bowl of water to capture the juices, carefully break the fruit apart with your hands. Use your fingertips to lightly brush the seeds from the white, sectional membranes; the peel and white membrane will float on the top of the water, whereas the seeds will sink. Using a spider or slotted spoon, scoop out the membrane and discard it, then scoop out the seeds. This video demonstrates the process.
Store pomegranates at room temperature for 1 to 2 days, or refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to three weeks.
Pomegranate seeds make a tasty and beautiful garnish over fruit, salads, ice cream, pastries and even roasted meats. Its bright, fruity, sweet-sour juice adds wonderful flavor to marinades, vinaigrettes, sauces glazes and drinks. The no-recipe recipes below provide some quick and easy ideas for enjoying pomegranates. For more recipes, visit our website.
Pomegranate Smoothie: In a blender, combine sliced banana with pomegranate juice, honey and plain yogurt; blend until smooth. Pour into a glass; garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Wild Rice and Pomegranate Pilaf: In a large bowl, whisk together equal parts sherry vinegar and olive oil. Add cooled cooked wild rice, chopped parsley, diced celery, orange segments, dried cranberries and toasted walnuts; toss to combine. Season pilaf with salt and pepper; sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
Pomegranate and Goat Cheese Salad: Whisk together red wine vinegar, chopped shallot, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss mesclun with vinaigrette, pomegranate seeds and toasted hazelnuts. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese.
Duck Breasts with Pomegranate Sauce: Season boneless duck breasts with salt and pepper. Cook, skin side down, in saute pan until fat is rendered. Place, skin side up, on a rack-lined baking sheet. Roast at 375°F for 5 minutes. Discard all but 1 Tbs. fat in saute pan. Cook minced shallot until tender. Deglaze with pomegranate syrup; add chicken stock. Simmer until thickened. Off heat, stir in butter, chopped chives and pomegranate seeds. Pour over duck.
This Chocolate Tart with Pomegranates and Hazenuts is a favorite of our Test Kitchen and customers alike. Any dessert that puts the focus on chocolate ganache will always get some attention. Fold in whipped creme fraiche for a mellow tang to balance all that richness and you get a chocolate filling that’s hard to beat. Tart, juicy pomegranate seeds and nutty toasted hazelnuts offer the perfect finishing touch. Delicious!