Post 62: Top Ten Reasons You Love Pomegranates

10. They’re free and come with no packaging.

Pomegranate trees are native to Iran and northern India—not the Sonoran Desert—but they do well in many climates, all over the world. Maybe yours. If you’re lucky enough to live where pomegranates are part of the landscape (and bearing fruit), pick one, open it, see if the kernels are sweet yet. If so, pick a handful. If the tree is in a private yard, ask permission first. Most people don’t bother picking their fruit—they believe it’s too hard to process. Well, their loss is your gain, because they’re wrong.

Out biking one day, I stopped to check out a local pomegranate tree—just to see what species it was, and to find out where it was in its fruiting cycle. Did it match my tree at home? Suddenly a voice across the street, behind me, said, “Those do not belong to you!” This was rather a joke, because the unharvested pomegranates—a few still on the tree but most on the ground—were gaping open, hollow, and black with rot and mold. Way out of season. In addition, the tree was growing on right of way, owned by the city.

There are plenty of self-righteous overly possessive and types out there, ready to pounce on anyone doing something “different.” But most people don’t defend their own trees, much less someone else’s. Ask first if you can.

Pomegranates in a bowl

9. Pomegranates are so good for you, I don’t have room to list all the benefits.

You may already know they’re packed with Vitamin C. They can help with weight loss and keep cholesterol in check. Pomegranates even guards against cancer. Haven’t you been looking for ways to boost your immune system? Pomegranate does that, too. It reduces the risk of heart disease and it’s a good source of fiber as well. Read more on nutritional benefits.

Pomegranate seeds

8. The nuts are included.

I have to admit, when I was left with some solid seeds in my mouth after eating a handful of pomegranate kernels, it was unpleasant. Should I spit them out, or chomp down? When I chewed, they were rather tasteless—until I chewed a bunch of them at once, and kept chewing for half a minute or so. Suddenly, I tasted a pleasant nuttiness. These whites of pomegranate kernels have a flavor distinct from other nuts, mild and substantial. They probably have too much “seediness” to appeal to the American palate. And if you have weak dentition, you might want to strain them out of your recipes. But we don’t. Seeds contain most of the fiber, and, I would guess, some of the other health benefits. (Most sources don’t distinguish between juice and seed.)

Pomegranate centerpiece

7. You can save on flowers!

A pomegranate cut horizontally is already a “flower.” For your next special dinner (if it’s in season), make a unique centerpiece by grouping cut fruits together and garnishing with something in a contrasting color, leaves or flowers that won’t wilt right away. Here I’ve used cuban oregano and small sprigs of parsley.

When your guests get ready to leave, give them each one of the half-pomegranates. Or a quarter piece, if necessary, to give everyone a take-home treat.

Pomegranate seeds up close

6. Save on bling.

There’s nothing more beautiful than a freshly opened pomegranate, with its alluring conglomerations of faceted red gems, lit by sunlight. It’s only convention and conformity that puts a higher value on the appearance of rubies and garnets. You can’t even eat ’em.

5. If you set things up right, pomegranates peel themselves.

Just pick a movie, or a podcast, or a friend who wants to come over to talk, and set up your processing station—your pile of sliced or scored pomegranates, a bowl for the kernels, and a compost-basin for the inedible pieces of rind and dimpled white “curtains” that separate the sections within the fruit. Now, focus on your show, or on what your friend is saying, as you pick and pop out the kernels and put them in the bowl. You won’t notice you’re doing this, but by the time your entertainment is over, your bowl will be magically filled with red jewels. It wasn’t work, was it?

I use this technique for other mindless tasks: tearing rags, chopping veg for a soup or omelet—anything that needs only part of my attention. I got the idea from stories of women quilting together, or washing clothes by the river’s edge. Entertaining chatter always accompanied these acts.

Pomegranate seeds in a bowl

4. You can procrastinate until you’ve got time to work on them.

Even sitting on your kitchen table, freshly picked pomegranates will stay fresh for days, sometimes weeks, until you find the right time to have at ’em. Over time the rind gets harder and harder—but inside, they’re often still good. Some water is lost in the juice, but most of it, it seems, comes out of the rind, making the fruit rock-hard—so take extra care in the cutting, and don’t do it while you’re involved in a riveting part of your entertainment. The only red should be the pomegranate juice.

Frozen pomegranates

3. You can freeze pomegranate kernels

Did you get the bug, and pick too many lovely fruits? Maybe not—because you can freeze the kernels once you’ve freed them. Their texture will change, but that won’t matter for most recipes.

2. You can make delicious juice and smoothies

Juice: just blend, and strain out the pulp—or not.

Smoothies: Blend with a frozen banana or ice, and any other fruits you have on hand. Add vanilla. Try including the pulp; see if you like it.

Pomegranate juice

2. You can make delicious juice and smoothies

Juice: just blend, and strain out the pulp—or not.

Smoothies: Blend with a frozen banana or ice, and any other fruits you have on hand. Add vanilla. Try including the pulp; see if you like it.

And the Number One Reason You Love Pomegranates is:

That healthy-but-yummy dessert you can make.

In a squat glass, layer whipped cream with pomegranate kernels, diced walnuts, and a third colorful fruit of your choice. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and mint leaf or other garnish.

One last note:

If you don’t live where pomegranates grow, buy one. Happily, I’ve never seen one in a package! And, as always: Take this opportunity to identify a fruit that does grow in your neighborhood, and incorporate it into your recipe repertoire.


Once when I was in Bellingham, Washington, I discovered that blackberries grew like weeds. Down by the water where I first found them, I transferred the contents of my purse to my pockets, and filled it with berries. None of the locals were impressed, but I was thrilled, and ate ’em all up.

Free food rocks!

2 thoughts on “Post 62: Top Ten Reasons You Love Pomegranates

  1. We had a tree growing up. All my friends were jealous! I think children appreciate them more than adults. Now that I own a home I’ve planted three so far. Always enjoy your articles, K!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: