(BPT) - From Mesopotamia to the Renaissance to modern-day California — artists, civilizations and scientists have had a fascinating love affair with pomegranates. While pomegranates originated in Iran and surrounding countries, 90% of today’s pomegranates in the United States come from California.
In fact, throughout the past 20 years, POM Wonderful has become the world’s largest grower of Wonderful variety pomegranates and the No. 1 supplier of the nation’s fresh pomegranates. Based in Central California, POM Wonderful pomegranates are hand-picked at their peak freshness while in season from October through January.
Check out the below tips to help you enjoy the sweet yet tart winter fruit according to POM Wonderful.
How to select a pomegranate
When choosing a pomegranate, it is best to select the fruit by weight, not color. The heavier the pomegranate is, the juicer the arils (seeds) will be. The rind doesn't have to look perfect to be filled with the most beautiful, juicy arils. The outside of a ripe pomegranate can vary from a deep ruby red to a deep pink.
How to open a pomegranate
For those who have never opened a pomegranate before, it may seem intimidating. However, the water method makes opening everyone's favorite winter fruit simple and mess-free with four easy steps. See below for POM Wonderful's preferred method to open a pomegranate.
Step 1: Cut. Take your pomegranate and cut off the top, about half an inch below the crown.
Step 2: Score. Once you remove the top, you’ll see four to six pomegranate sections divided by a white membrane. Score the skin along each section.
Step 3: Open. Carefully pull the pomegranate apart in a bowl of water.
Step 4: Loosen. Gently pry the arils loose using your thumbs. The plump, juicy seeds will sink to the bottom. Scoop away everything that floats to the top.
Voila! Now you can enjoy a fresh pomegranate with minimal hassle.
How to store pomegranates
An unopened Wonderful variety pomegranate can last up to one month on the countertop away from direct sunlight or up to two months in the refrigerator. If you don't happen to finish all the juicy arils inside after opening, don't fret, the arils can be refrigerated in an airtight container for an additional week!
Bonus: Pomegranates on the go
Sometimes you may want a pomegranate but don’t have time to pick and prepare one properly. In these cases, you can pick up POM Pomegranate Fresh Arils. Conveniently packaged and ready to eat, these arils come from fresh pomegranates and are a good source of fiber, plus, they are known for their antioxidant goodness.
Pick up an 8-ounce package of POM Pomegranate Fresh Arils to elevate your favorite recipes with a brilliant ruby red pop of color and a sweet burst of flavor. Or find a 4-ounce, single-serving package of arils for easy snacking.
Using these tips, you can enjoy the sweet yet tart taste of pomegranates at home or on-the-go by incorporating them into salads, smoothies, yogurt and oatmeal, or a festive garnish for cocktails and mocktails. You can also enjoy this superfruit year-round with POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice.
To find out how you can incorporate pomegranates into your cooking and baking this holiday season, visit POMWonderful.com.