As a woman of Indian descent who grew up in Texas and North Carolina (a.k.a “the South”), I am genetically and environmentally conditioned against cold weather. My skin dries up and itches like crazy, even after bathing. The cold air makes my nose runny even when I’m not in the least bit ill. The sun disappears for days and the melanin in my skin protests its absence.

But there is a bright side to winter beyond weak sunlight reflecting on snow: winter fruits.

Almost paradoxically, the cold, bleak season comes with an abundance of tropical, colorful fruits that I absolutely adore. Clementines, navel oranges, and prettiest of all: pomegranates.

Pomegranate seeds

These seeds are like sweet, sweet rubies.

Although slicing into a pomegranate feels vaguely disturbing, like I’ve killed something living (all that red juice oozes out and pools on my cutting board), the treasure inside is like a newly discovered cavern studded with gems. I’m spelunking in my kitchen.

A trick I learned for mining the seeds: Fill a medium sized bowl halfway with cool, clean water. Wash and carefully slice the pomegranate into quarters and place them into the bowl (careful: the juice will squirt out as you cut into seeds, so don’t wear anything white!). With your fingers, pry the seeds out, separating the white gauzy stuff from the seeds. Full, juicy seeds are relatively dense and will sink to the bottom of the bowl. The white stuff and empty seeds will float to the top where they can be easily skimmed off or poured out. Once all the debris is taken out, carefully pour out the water or pour the whole bowl into a mesh strainer to catch the seeds. You know have clean, cool, delicious pomegranate seeds to enjoy!

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