I had to laugh when recently visiting my friend Carolyn O’Neil’s home in Atlanta that she asked, “Does anyone know whether opening a pomegranate under water makes it easier?”
I’d read, but never done, that. Neither had the other house guests. But she seemed to know what she was doing, slicing the top off, separating it into sections and submerging the sections in a big bowl of water.
The arils — the word for the bright red edible seeds of the pomegranate that burst with a sweet, tart flavor, ending with a crunch — sink to the bottom; the white membranes float to the top. Then to harvest the seeds, she just skimmed and discarded the membranes and drained the water from the arils using a strainer. She sprinkled the arils over some orange sections for her fruit salad.
She disappeared a moment, returning no longer wearing a light pink sweater. Even though she was very careful, some of the ruby red juice had gotten on her sweater and she wanted to try to remove the pomegranate juice before the stain set.
Having just watched the multistep process, I had to ask whether she’d tried the ready-to-eat package of arils. Carolyn, a food writer like me, had received the samples from the company. We agreed that the fresh fruit is great, but there’s no mess with the convenient ones in the cup.
I, too, like these sweet seeds in any fruit salad or just enjoyed as is from the cup. I also like the texture they add to salads, ice cream, sorbet, yogurt or cereal — or as a garnish to add color and flavor to entrees and desserts.
For an extra special toast during the holiday season, drop a few arils into flutes filled with champagne.
Nutritionally, pomegranates are low in calories, a good source of vitamin C, some B vitamins, potassium, copper and fiber. They’re also rich in polyphenol antioxidants.
Bryan: It’s the most… wonderful time… of the year. No, I’m not talking about the holidays. We all know how commercial they’ve gotten, how stressful they can be and how waistline expanding the eventual results are. That combination is anything but wonderful! No, I’m talking about aril season. Though I must admit that until just recently I didn’t even know what an aril was, now I rejoice that from October to January these little gems are available at the supermarket!
Though today we are talking about pomegranate arils, in actuality an aril (also known as “arillus”) can be from a wide variety of fruits. Aril is more of a scientific term, referring technically to any growth coming from the attachment point of a seed. “Huh,” you say. The term is generally applied to any thickened seed coating, especially in flowering plants. Common reference points you may recognize include the edible parts of a mangosteen, the mace of a nutmeg seed, the hairs of a cotton plant and, of course, the flesh-covered seeds of the pomegranate fruit.
Mother Nature is certainly a clever planner! The aril serves as an edible treat, encouraging animals to inevitably transport the seeds as they eat them. The process eventually ends up helping with the plant’s general survival by moving the species around.
Arils can sometimes even create a fruit all their own. The flesh of the lychee is actually an overly developed aril that surrounds the fruit’s seed (live and learn!). POM POMS’s Fresh Arils are just fantastic! They take all the hard work out of enjoying the difficult-to-access, but amazing-to-devour, pomegranate aril. They are sweet, they are tart and they are ready to go right out of the package. Best of all, they are loaded with vitamins and powerful antioxidants. How can you argue with that? It’s not surprising, as POM Wonderful is a brand that has long been committed to wellness, a leader in pomegranate products that are truly healthy.
POM is the only company that grows, harvests, processes and ships its own pomegranates. If you’re going to buy a pomegranate, you might as well buy the best 😉
Eric: It’s fascinating how we, as omnivores, find pleasure in the the oddities of world — always exploring, discovering and defining new foods. It’s also exciting to live in a time that allows produce from around the world to be widely available in your everyday supermarket. How cool is to be able to walk in to your local market and have the option of choosing from a mangosteen, or a starfruit or even a pomegranate, a fruit cultivated in the area of Iran. What’s even more enticing from a culinary standpoint is how we utilize the produce we have at hand. Take the POM POMS Aril — a overly thickened seed of a pomegranate fruit. Low in calories, unique in texture and packed full of flavor, the POM POMS Aril is a great addition to a variety of dishes. My favorite use of the POM POMS Arils is adding the seeds to my salad; they provide a refreshing, almost pop candyesque “bite”. If anything, learn to expand your horizon when it comes to the oddities of the food world, and take full advantage of a global food economy…