Pomegranates: How to get to the seeds, how to make juice.

Dayna’s sister Janet Leisen, and her husband Corrie, of Leisen’s Bridgeway Farms recently started selling some of our produce at the West End Farmer’s Market on Sundays in Santa Rosa and the Petaluma East Side Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays. They are selling our Bearss limes, Key Limes, Persimmons, Quince and Pomegranate. Sometime in November they will also begin to sell our most popular item, Satsuma Mandarins.

Janet said that several people at the market have asked her the best way to open a pomegranate to remove the seeds so I thought I would re-post the directions for getting out the seeds. I also love making juice, so for you industrious types, I am including directions for that as well. This is all from a page that I had posted in the past on my California Mediterranean Diet blog.

Often the pomegranates you buy in the store have been picked before they are fully ripe. The best pomegranates are the ones that are so ripe they have started to crack. Obviously at this point they do not store well but this is when the color is the darkest and they are the most sweet. We try to pick our pomegranates right before they crack. Unfortunately when I picked today for the market on Tuesday, we had waited so long most of them looked like this.

I won’t be able to sell this pomegranate but it will make great juice and it will be easy to open!

We use most of the pomegranates we grow to make juice. We love to
mix the juice with tonic water, or spirits such as vodka or tequila to make
cocktails. It also can be boiled down to make pomegranate syrup to use in
cooking.

We tried using citrus presses and other easy methods to make
the juice, but we have found that the skin and pulp impart bitter flavors to the juice
so we have gone back to using a somewhat laborious method which involves
first removing the seeds from the pomegranate, then getting juice from the
seeds.

Here is how tp get the seeds from the pomegranate:

First remove the skin from the top and bottom of the
pomegranate. Cut around the circumference but only through the skin, not
deep enough to cut the seeds. This will prevent the task from becoming a big
juicy mess!Cut around the circumference of the pomegranate both top and bottom but do not cut through the seeds, only through the skin.

Now peel off the skin. Notice the seeds are whole.This is because they were not cut with the knife.

Peeling off the top and bottom to reveal the lovely seeds inside.

There can be some pomegranate spray, so I usually do this step and the steps afterwards holding the pomegranate under a bowl full of water.  The water contains almost every bit of spray. If I do this while watching TV rather than outside or in the kitchen, I cover the sofa with an old sheet as an extra precaution.

Now cut from top to bottom in about 5 or 6 locations around the perimeter of the pomegranate. Again, these are shallow cuts that only cut the skin, not the seeds.

Now  break the pomegranate apart along the natural segments, and remove the seeds from each segment. This is less messy if it is done under water.

Note the natural segments of seeds that have separated from the skin and membrane.  Gently scrap away those seeds from the membrane and let them drop into the water.

The white pulp will float to the top and the seeds will sink to
the bottom of the water. Now skim the pulp off the top of the water,
and strain the seeds, and they are ready to go.

If you dry the seeds on a cloth and then store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator, with folded paper towels on the top of the seeds, they can last for weeks. You can sprinkle them on salad, on your yogurt and oatmeal or just grab handfuls for snacks.

If you want to take it to the next level, you can make juice.

Here is a huge soup pot filled with pomegranate seeds ready for making juice.
Adrian often does this job while he is watching TV. He covers the sofa with a sheet because he prefers to not use the water, so it can become a somewhat messy job. Check out that sheet.The juice can be made with either raw or cooked pomegranates. We have found it is somewhat sweeter if we cook them. If you are planning to make juice and do not have a juice press, you should heat them to get the maximum yield. Put a small amount of water in the bottom of the pot, smash them down slightly with a potato masher to release more liquid, put on the cover, and slowly heat the pomegranates, stirring occasionally, until they have come to a simmer and have broken down but have not boiled, and the juice has been released. Then let them cool.

These are the pomegranates after heating and cooling. They are now ready to be pressed.

Cooked pomegranate seeds ready to be made into juice.

The seeds are then placed into a juice bag which we purchased, along with our little tabletop press, at The Beverage People, which is in Santa Rosa. You can also use a large piece of muslin if you are planning to squeeze the juice by hand.

The pressing-1Pouring seeds and juice into tabletop press

Before we had this tabletop press, we used a large old wine press we had, and before that we just used muslin or a cloth bag and squeezed by hand. The little tabletop press is by far the best way to go when you have a lot of pomegranates and are planning to make juice every year.

If you are doing this by hand, just place the pomegranate seeds in a fine mesh strainer and let the juice run out freely. Then put the seeds in a muslin bag or in the middle of a large muslin piece and twist the top until the juice is squeezed out of the bag. Continue to twist and squeeze the bag or fabric until you can get as much juice out as possible. You can get about 3/4 of the juice out without using a press. We got about 1 cup of juice per pound of seeds squeezing by hand. This is the seeds from 2 large pomegranates.

We put the bag of pomegranate seeds in the press, gradually
screw it down to create pressure on the seeds and the juice runs out of the
spout into our collection device.

The juice-1

This may be the best pomegranate juice you have ever tasted!

From there we pour it into bottles and freeze or can it to use year round.

Nutrition Note: pomegranates are high in phyto-nutrients
associated with a reduction in disease. Much of the strongest research has suggested that eating pomegranates or drinking the juice can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. The research on reducing the risk of prostate cancer has been especially promising.

 

© 2013. Dayna Green-Burgeson RD, CDE. All Rights Reserved.

Reproduction of any content in the article without the written persmission of the author is prohibited.

http://www.burgesonfamilyfarm.com

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Why we do what we do

The wind is roaring, it is pouring outside and we are wondering how many of the Satsumas left on the trees will survive this deluge. Over the past 3 days we have desperately tried to pick every ripe mandarin in our orchard prior to the storm. We had to leave many that did not meet our quality standards yet, as well as some that were ready when we just plain ran out of time. In an attempt to protect the mandarin skins from becoming like water soaked wet sponges, Adrian went back into the orchard after dark to spray the Satsumas with an organic oil spray to serve as a rain slicker for the remaining fruit.

Our garage has been taken over by the mandarins waiting to be packed and shipped. From morning to bedtime our living room is a hub of activity as we sort through Satsumas and pack them in boxes and bags and rush to the post office and local delivery sites to get them to our customers as soon as possible.

Why do we do what we do? There are many reasons including our belief in being part of a sustainable local food system, our love of being outdoors engaged in productive activity and our amazing fortune to have stumbled upon a piece of land singularly blessed with good soil, plenty of water and the right climate for growing Satsumas. And we owe thanks to Betty Iljana, one of the original Satsuma farmers in our area, who fostered our love for Newcastle mandarins years ago when Evan was a baby. Back then we would drive over to Betty’s several times in the season, buying paper bags full of perfect mandarins, usually hundreds of pounds a season. While we were there we would pick her brain for tips as to why, as Evan used to sing “Betty’s are the Best!”. Betty set the bar high for what a perfect mandarin should be, and patiently answered our rudimentary questions when we were planting our orchard.

But most of all, what keeps us going in the crazy harvest season is comments from our customers that come through email or on the phone as the Satsumas arrive at their destinations. Here are just a few that I have collected over the years, and from here on out I have made a vow to consolidate them in this post as a little inspirational list for myself and Adrian:

Your oranges are amazing!…JG

Our friend shared some of her shipment of Mandarins with us..they are the most incredible I have ever tasted!…TC

They are beyond yummy, as usual…GM

We just love your lovely mandarins….AE

I have bought Satsuma from 2 other farms but yours are simply the best!!!…KM

Got them, opened them, love them …PD

Oh my goodness!  These are by far the best Mandarins we’ve ever eaten!  Glenn picked them up last night at the bee meeting and we’ve been consuming them ever since. Thanks again for producing such a wonderful and pesticide free product.  YUMMMMMMYYYYY!!!!!!!…GM

I received them on Thursday and they are gone today.  My little girls absolutely loved
them, as well as a few guests we had over this weekend for a tamale
dinner. …VM

We are enjoying them very much…RF

I can hardly wait for your mandarins…SM

I received a box of Satsuma mandarins as a gift this week and they
are wonderful…KW

We received a box of your mandarins last year as a gift from a family member (and we’re about to receive one again this year!).  They were so delicious that we are interested in sending some as a gift as well…TG

The oranges have arrived safely and all have responded with very positive
comments.  Thanks for completing these orders for me…MR

my Dad LOVES them!!…LR

Hi Dayna, I am thrilled to get your mandarins this year.  I still wish you
are just down the street…JG

I am looking forward to those great
mandarins from your farm… J.P

You guys really have the best mandarins in the area…JG

Last year my mom sent me satsumas and a few lemons from your orchard, they were fantastic!…YA

Thank you very much for the update. My little girls are already asking when we get that bag of those delicious little oranges. :0) ..VM

Can’t wait to get my share of these Satsuma’s: we had them when we were visiting our friends and grandchildren in California over the holidays and we were hooked.  My husband who generally does not like citrus foods that much, kept eating them too…EV

The ones I tasted were sweet as could be and far superior to the ones in the grocery stores!…SO

The box with the mandarins and lemons arrived with todays parcel mail. The fruit is in perfect condition and is as flavorful as only your mandarins are.  The best I ever had Thank you…AMW

The Mandarins arrived and they are delicious…JF

Our good friends gave us a box of your indescribably yummy mandarins.  She was a little vague about how we could order some for ourselves.  I think she wants them all for herself.  I’m writing to ask that if possible you please include us as likely customers for you future harvests.  Then we could astound and frustrate our friends with mysteriously fabulous fruit just like they do…KM

Got ’em today, as did at least one of my siblings. They’re REALLY good. I’m sure you’re working hard down there, but it’s worth it! …PN

Thank you, received in great shape. They are most delicious and lovely…..DW

Your mandarins are so wonderful it’s totally worth waiting until they’re ready….AE