Pomegranates: How to get to the seeds; how to make juice

Pomegranates are such a beautiful, nutritious fruit that it is a shame that so few people get the chance to enjoy them. Many are intimidated by the process of removing the seeds, and obtaining juice from the seeds is even more overwhelming. But the delicious reward for your endeavours is unequaled, and it really can be a relatively clean and painless process if done correctly.

Often the pomegranates you buy in the store have been picked before they are fully ripe. The best pomegranates are the ones that are picked when they 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 we had waited so long many of them looked like this.

perfectly-ripe-pomegranate-1

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 to 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!

pomegranate-slice-top-1

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-top-off-1

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.

slicing-sides-1

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.

breaking-apart-the-pomegranate-in-water_edited-1

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.

skimming-the-water

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. Sometimes it looks like a massacre has occurred in our living room!the-pomegranate-seeds-1

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.

pomegranates-after-heating-1

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. We have also seen small tabletop presses for sale at O’hara Brew House Supply in Auburn. Ours is an Italian Fruit Press and is made by Ferrari. You can also use a large piece of muslin if you are planning to squeeze the juice by hand.

the-pressing-1 (1)

Pouring 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.press-3

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.

We have pomegranates for sale on the farm now. Please contact us using this link to place an order.

© 2015. Dayna Green-Burgeson RD, CDE. All Rights Reserved.

www.burgesonfamilyfarm.com

Key Lime Pie

The first citrus crop to ripen on our farm are limes. The harvest starts in early Fall.

We grow both key limes and Bearss limes on our farm here in Newcastle, California. Both are tart, juicy and delicious and can be used in this recipe. The Key limes are small, with many seeds, and are a bit more tart than the Bearss limes, which are seedless, large and juicy. Both limes will turn more yellow as the season progresses.

key lime with signature_edited-1

This recipe is for a delicious, easy frozen key lime pie.  It is so refreshing after a rich  meal and it is so simple to prepare.

Easy Frozen Key Lime Pie 

Use any recipe you like, or purchase a premade graham cracker crust:

Mix until blended:

1 Tablespoon grated lime rind

1/2 cup of lime juice

1 can of sweetened condensed milk.

Fold in:

1 cup of whipped cream (or for a lower fat version you can use Greek yogurt to replace some, or all of the cream)

Pour this into the pie shell and freeze until solid (at least 3 hours).

You can also top with more whipped cream and shredded lime rind to pretty this sweet treat up.

Do you wonder how you can purchase our Key Limes? Contact our farm to arrange to pick them up.

 

Satsuma salad with bacon

 

mandarin bacon salad recipe photo2My son sent me a text message the other day that said “bacon and Satsumas make a delicious breakfast”.  That got me thinking that the combo of Satsumas and bacon, that  sweet and salty duo of favorite flavors, could be a good start for a few tasty recipes. This is my first rift on that theme and tasty it is indeed.

Satsuma salad with bacon.

This recipe serves 4 as a side salad. As a main dish, it could serve 2 and would be yummy with added smoked turkey or smoked chicken for some extra protein.

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh squeezed satsuma mandarin juice (our Satsuma are so juicy you can even do this by just squeezing them in your hand, or use a citrus reamer or other juicing device).

¼ cups thinly sliced peeled shallot

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tsp. white wine vinegar.

¼ tsp. or less salt

6 slices bacon, chopped in large pieces, cooked until crispy and drained (save the bacon grease).

8 cups greens (I used escarole) torn into pieces. Spinach, sturdy lettuce or thinly sliced kale are other options for this salad. Arugula might also be a nice addition.

2 cups mandarins (peeled, cut in half and then segmented so they are individual segments cut in half)

2 ounces Feta cheese (I like to use the Danish Piknik sheep’s milk cheese which comes in a can with brine. It will store for a long time in the refrigerator in the brine. I find mine at middle eastern or European grocery stores).

To make the dressing, boil the Satsuma juice on the stove until it is reduced to a thick syrup (down to about 1/3 cup total volume). Add the sliced shallot the last minute or two of boiling, then let it cool down. Now add the olive oil,  Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, 1 Tablespoon of the reserved bacon grease and ¼ teaspoon or less salt (to taste) and mix well.

Put the greens in a bowl and add the mandarin pieces. Mix with the dressing. Serve into 4 bowls then top with the bacon pieces and crumbled white cheese.

mandarin bacon salad photo

Satsuma salad with bacon

To read more about our Satsuma mandarin farm, or to order our Satsuma mandarins to use in this recipe, please visit www.burgesonfamilyfarm.com.

Frozen Satsuma Smoothie

Satsuma Mandarin season is short and sweet. The fruit does not last very long on the trees after it is ripe, so we pick it as soon as possible. Usually Satsuma season only lasts for a month or two, but there are ways to preserve them to enjoy that goodness year round.

We like to peel the Satsumas, section them and freeze them on cookie sheets. Once they are frozen we seal them up in plastic baggies which we tuck away in the freezer to use later in the year. We also squeeze the juice and freeze it in ice cube trays or milk cartons to use later in cocktails or as juice for breakfast.

frozen mandarins

Gold from the freezer. This is the way to carry mandarin season into the summer!

Our favorite use for the chunks of frozen mandarin juice, or the mandarin sections we have frozen, is to make smoothies.  We start with a simple formula, equal parts frozen mandarin juice or frozen mandarin sections and milk. For example use 1 cup milk, 1 cup mandarin sections for 2 servings of about 1 cup each. We like to add a scoop of NorCal Organic (local) whey protein powder before blending it in our blender. This makes it extra fluffy and adds a protein boost for an easy breakfast.mandarin smoothie

Satsuma Mandarin Whey Protein smoothie. A delicious nutritious way to start the day.

You can use this basic recipe as a base for adding other ingredients. The mandarins are very sweet so no sweetener is needed, although you can add honey if you like. Frozen fruit such as blueberries, raspberries or banana are one way to mix it up. Sometimes we add vanilla or almond extract. Greek yogurt, vanilla flavored or plain, or adds another protein boost. Flax seed, wheat germ or hemp seed also add protein, B vitamins and essential fatty acids.  A handful of spinach or kale can give you a full meal in a glass.

During Satsuma season we sometimes sell “seconds”  with skin damage, for half price, 80 cents per pound, at our farm. These seconds are perfect for juicing or for peeling and freezing right away to use throughout the year. Contact us to arrange to pick your Satsumas during December and January.

 

New Years Cheer: Satsuma Mimosas and Cocktails

When we sort through our Satsumas before boxing and bagging them we pull out all of the seconds that are not of sufficient quality to sell. Some of them have damaged skin, or skin that is very soft, and some have hard green spots on the skin. We sell these
seconds for half price at the farm, 80 cents per pound. They are very perishable due to the skin damage so they should be cut and juiced, or peeled and sectioned soon after purchase.

We often peel and freeze the mandarin sections and used them throughout the year for smoothies. These mandarins are still very sweet and juicy however, so they also make great mandarin juice. We just cut them in half and juice them using a citrus juicer. You can even squeeze them by hand, they are so soft and juicy.

mandarin-juicew

Delicious fresh Satsuma Mandarin juice

This juice can be mixed with sparkling wine for a delicious Mimosa, or can be mixed with sparkling water for a non-alcoholic holiday toast.

We have also come up with some delicious cocktail recipes using the mandarin juice.

Sierra Sunset Cocktail

In addition to using the fresh squeezed mandarin juice, this recipe uses pomegranate juice, sweet sparkling wine such as Proseco, and Grand Marnier. The recipe for our home-made pomegranate juice is here:

https://burgesonfamilyfarm.com/2018/10/05/pomegranates-how-to-get-to-the-seeds-how-to-make-juice-2/

Fill a glass with crushed ice. Fill the glass with slightly less than 1/3 pomegranate juice, then add 1/3 sweet sparkling wine and 1/3 mandarin juice. Finally pour 1 Tablespoon of Grand Marnier over the top.

sierra-sunset-cocktailw

“Sierra Sunset Cocktail”

For a non alcoholic version, fill the glass with 1/3 pomegranate juice, 1/3 tonic water, and 1/3 mandarin juice.

Mandarin Vodka Tonic

Fill a glass with crushed ice. Mix 1/2 cup mandarin juice, 1/2 cup tonic water and 1 shot of vodka and pour over the ice.

mandarin-vodka-tonicw

“Mandarin Vodka Tonic”

You can also make a delicious Satsuma Mandarin Margarita.

Satsuma Mandarin Margarita

Mix together :

3 shots fresh squeezed Satsuma mandarin juice

1 shot white 100% agave tequila (such as Patron silver)

½ shot Cointreau

½ shot fresh squeezed lime juice

Pour this over ice in a glass and serve immediately.

mandarin-margarita-close-upw

If you would like to purchase our mandarins during the winter months please contact us using this link.

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

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

www.burgesonfamilyfarm.com

Candied Mandarin Rind

Rind on wood tableDon’t toss out the rinds of our Satsuma Mandarins. They make delicious candied rinds to eat as a treat or to use in baked goods or candy. We love to make panforte out of our candied mandarin rinds.

For success with this recipe I recommend you have a candy thermometer or an instant read thermometer to check the temperature of the syrup throughout the process. You also should have some parchment paper, non-stick spray or vegetable oil or shortening, a good sized saucepan with a lid, and some type of heatproof strainer. Optional items are a cooling rack, and a dehydrator.

Ingredients are only the rinds, lots of sugar, and water.

When you are peeling the Satsumas, it is easy to keep the rinds in large pieces since the rinds usually separate so easily from the fruit. Larger rinds will be easier to candy although if you plan to use chopped rind in panforte or another recipe you can also chop the rind before candying it. In this case you may not cook it to quite as high of a temperature in the final step (try 225-230 instead of 240), as it may fall apart.  When I do that, I use it right away in recipes after draining it as chopped rind is harder to dry and store.

As you are eating the Satsumas, save your large nice looking rinds in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until you have enough to make a batch. For many of our customers this does not take very long! Remove any stem ends and slice or chop if desired, or leave in good sized pieces (¼ to 1/3 of a total mandarin rind is a good size)

peels

Once you have about 6-7 cups of rinds, you are ready to candy them.

Cover the rinds with a lot of water; you cannot really use too much so a large stockpot is useful here. Bring the water to a boil, boil for 10 minutes, then drain the rinds. Do this one more time. This softens the rinds and removes some of the bitterness. Note, mandarins can have much softer rinds than other citrus so use your judgement here. If the rinds are very soft and thin you may need to shorten the boiling time or only use one boil. Make sure they do not get so soft that they will fall apart in the next step.

boiling the peel

Once the rind has been softened by boiling, drain it and set aside.

drained peels

Now, in a medium to large sized saucepan, make a syrup using 3 cups water to 6 cups sugar. The height of the syrup should not be more than about ¼ up the sides of the pan. This allows room for boiling and for adding the rinds. Stir the sugar into the water, and gradually heat it making sure it dissolves. There should be no sugar crystals on the side of the pan so wash it down with a pastry brush with water or put a lid on the pan for a few minutes to let the steam build up to wash down the sides.  Be careful not to let the pan boil over.

sugar syrup

Once the sugar is well dissolved, raise the temperature of the syrup to a rolling boil and continue to boil until it has reached the “thread stage” which is 230 F on a candy thermometer.

Now add the rind to the pan and stir it in. Tuck the rind under the syrup as best you can so it is all being infused in the syrup.

rind in syrup

Put a piece of parchment paper over the rind to help hold it under the syrup.

parchment over the rind

Now let the rind slowly simmer in the syrup for about 1 hour. Once in a while you may want to remove the paper and gently stir the rind a bit and tuck it under the syrup again to make sure all of it gets infused with the syrup.

NOTE: Excessive stirring can break up the rind, and also cause sugar crystallization so a gentle touch with minimal stirring is important in this recipe.

After one hour, remove the parchment and raise the heat to a good rolling boil. Cook the rind in the syrup, giving it a gentle stir on occasion, especially making sure it does not burn at the bottom, until the syrup thickens and reaches the firm soft ball stage which is 240-245 range on the candy thermometer. Note: If the syrup gets very thick and stirring any more is breaking up the rind, causing it to turn to mush, or if the rind has absorbed most of the syrup, stop cooking it even if it has not reached 240. Anything above 230 should be fine.

Rind in syrup finished

Now remove the rind from the syrup. The easiest way to do this is to strain it in a strainer that has relatively large openings for the syrup to go through, or to remove it from the syrup with a slotted spoon. Be careful, the syrup is very hot and can burn you.

Separate the rinds out on parchment that has been sprayed with non-stick spray or oil, and let them cool. You may want to spoon them onto the paper when they are still hot, then let them sit until they can be touched at which time you can separate them from each other. If they cool all the way while stuck together you will have a hard time separating them.

rind on parchment

To dry further you can put them on a drying rack that has been sprayed with non-stick spray or oil, and put them in a warm dry place. You can also dry them at 100-110 in a dehydrator or in an oven set on the dehydrator setting or with the oven light on. Once they are no longer sticky they are ready.

Rind on racks

To store the rind, refrigerate it or put it in an airtight container and store at room temperature. Make sure it is kept very dry. You can layer it with sugar to help keep it dry. Keep an eye on it and do not store it too long though because if moisture builds up it can occasionally grow mold and spoil.

Use in recipes or serve as is.finished rind

Our Satsumas are not sprayed with any pesticides or herbicides or fungicides so the rinds are safe to eat. Although we are not certified organic, everything we use on our crop, even our fertilizer, meets organic certification standards through OMRI   We typically do not spray anything on our mandarins except an occasional one time per season use of an organic oil spray to protect the rinds if a lot of rain is predicted. We use hoeing, weedeating and flaming to control weeds under the trees, not herbicides

To order a box of our mandarins shipped use this link. If you would like to pick them up at our farm, contact us using this link.

For more about our farm visit our website www.burgesonfamilyfarm.com

We Now Offer Satsuma Mandarins in Sustainable Bags: These make great gifts!

gift bag with copyright

Our Satsuma Mandarins are now offered in reusable 6 pound bags!  These make great gifts for friends, employees, teachers, coworkers, family, or of course, a great gift for yourself!  These bags were custom made for us in the USA using food grade burlap which is a natural, compostable product.

These bags are filled with 6 pounds of our delicious, freshly picked sweet Satsuma Mandarins and are available from the farm for 10 dollars per bag. If you would like to place an order to pick up at the farm please contact us at this link.

For large corporate gift orders, depending upon quantity, delivery in Northern California can be arranged.  Contact us for more information.