Pomegranate explosions

They started to explode on the shrub/tree I planted years ago. My first good crop of Wonderful Pomegranates. I had thought: they’ll never ripen here.
I thought they needed heat. Dry heat. Which we don’t have much of here in Oakland. But ripen they did.

We ate them raw. Frannie is allowed to eat them outside only because they are so messy and juicy. They are one of her favorite snacks, partially because of the work they involve, digging the seeds out, pulling off the pith and membranes; partially because (I think) of that incredible crunch, the explosion of fresh juice in the mouth.

Until now, there’s nothing left.

Besides snacking on them, I sometimes threw them into salads, like massaged kale salad, to add a bright sweetness. Some people recommend cooking with poms, like Ken Albala. I had never heard of Ken before, but I found myself in Idaho of all places, at the Bookpeople in Moscow, Idaho, and the owner highly highly recommended his book, The Lost Art of Real Cooking, and its companion, The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home. The books are instruction manuals for how to make all sorts of crazy stuff like a koji rice mold and rag rugs; and stuff that you wished you made but haven’t yet like corn tortillas (nixtamalizing your own corn, of course), olla podrida (look it up!), and marmalade.

I’ve never met Ken or his co-author, Rosanna Nafziger, but they are totally my people! Ken lives in Stockton where he teaches food history at the University of the Pacific. I think he must have some pomegranates growing in his garden because in the Hearth and Home book, there’s a recipe for pomegranate molasses that sounds out of this world. Basically you just cook the pomegranate seeds with some sugar and vanilla for a million hours on low. The result is that gummy blood-like sludge that tastes like heaven.

Sadly, Frannie and I ate all the poms fresh. Next year I’m hoping the pomegranate tree will have biggered itself and I’ll have enough to try the recipe…But if you find yourself with an overabundance, give it a shot. Any other good pom recipes out there?

6 responses to “Pomegranate explosions

  1. This doesn’t involve fresh pomegranates, but if you use the juice and boil it down you can also create pomegranate molasses. No sugar needed, no straining out of seeds. I would suggest a store bought juice that does not contain any sugars, just pure pomegranate juice. Then boil it down until it thickens and you have molasses. Then you can toss it in with just about anything that you would like a tang to. Try a Turkish Shepard’s salad. Dice up a couple of tomatoes, an onion, a green pepper and some cucumber, into something that resembles a chunky salsa. Drizzle a couple of teaspoons of the pomegranate molasses and some lemon juice, salt and pepper, toss it all together and it’s awesome!

  2. Tatyana Lakshmi Ryevzina

    i hand-squeeze the juice (with help of a little cloth) and use it to flavor my kombucha! a little goes a long way.

  3. Juiced a pomegranate just today! Utter indulgence. I recently learned to break them up and break off all the seeds underwater in a big bowl. No juice squirting about, and the white pith floats to the top. Favorite pomegranate recipe is fesenjon, chicken stewed with pom molasses, ground onion and walnuts. I have also put fresh arils them in a fall fruit salad with kiwi and persimmon. I grew up woth a huge pom tree, and wish i had planted one here years ago. Maybe this spring…

  4. So many changes at Ghost Town over the years (Amazing what a difference a deed made!) including your babe. Congratulations on everything you’ve achieved, Novella. You have so much of which to be proud! .

    Have you considered filming your diy classes with the turkeys,or others, making a DVD and selling those? Just a thought …

    I’m sorry for the heartache some people have brought you. I imagine they do not believe in karma. I’m a vegetarian, but believe if one is going to eat any kind of animal product, the animals should live a good life and be appreciated for giving their lives to sustenance the way you have been doing it all these years. Most importantly, people should be raising and slaughtering the animals if they are going to eat animals. Everything is in perspective that way, including the sacredness of the animal’s life.

    A blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours. May you have many more years of living life as you see fit!

  5. Hi Novella. I think we actually have met. Or at least I know who you are! Well thanks for the nice comments. Not sure why people think Rosanna and I are married. We’re not. We don’t even know each other that well, have only met a handful of times. Isn’t that weird?? Anyway, I hope we do meet officially some time. Have fun with the poms! Ken

  6. I read your article and then I got to thinking about it and I thank you for sharing your article made me gain knowledge, research, and I like it.

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