Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Things Best Done Naked. Number 476.
November is National Pomegranate Month, according to beverage manufacturer PomWonderful. That's just a marketer's way of saying they're in season. You may have noticed that these sensual scarlet fruits are suddenly prevalent at your local market. They have been appreciated for millenia, and for all these years one question has persisted: How best to open a pomegranate?
I have a friend who cuts it in half with a butcher knife, then uses an empty wine bottle to smash the seeds loose into a bowl of water. It works, I suppose, but his kitchen looks like a crime scene by the end. Another friend of mine forcefully massages the fruit until most of the seeds have burst, then tries to drink the juice through a small hole in the rind.
As for me, I'm a lover, not a fighter. I try not to break a single fragile, beautiful seed. I use a sharp knife to cut it into quadrants, but I cut only as far as the tough skin. Then I pry the fruit open and gently coax out the seeds. Some come tumbling out easily, others cling to bits of pith.
Inevitably, the translucent skin around some of the juicy seeds is bound to break. And when it does, the juice squirts high and far. I ruined several nice shirts and a pair of pants before I realized that the red stains can never (never!) be washed clean. The only thing I have noticed is not stained by pomegranates is human skin. So now I strip down completely before attempting this procedure. (Socks are allowed.)
It's practical, it's painless, it's fun. But unless you have a lock on your kitchen door, it's safest to take care of this before the dinner guests arrive.