|The first trick to dealing with this strange critter is to understand that its anatomy is different, to say the least. Here we have the crown, technically called the calyx, and if you look down into that, you'll actually see the stamen cluster of the original flower.||
Crown a.k.a. Calyx
Now, the berry—and yes, this is a berry—is wrapped in a leathery exocarp,
unlike anything I've ever encountered on any fruit before.
Now, when shopping for pomegranates, pick those that are brightly colored, relatively blemish-free—there are always going to be a few marks. They should be heavy for their size. Wrinkles are a sign of drying, so steer clear. Now they ripen in late autumn, are available through the winter months. Of course with globalization, hey, it's always winter someplace. Because they like the cold, they can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two months. And of course, you can get the juice, which I have here [pulls out a bottle], any old time. It is surprisingly versatile stuff, as we shall soon see. But there are advantages to digging in to the real thing ... which can be a little bit of a challenge at first.
[AB stands next to a huge pomegranate model] Pomegranate: loosely translated, it's Latin for "many-seeded apple", and to see
the inspiration for this, all you have to do is cut through the leathery
exterior, to reveal the alien world inside.
Embedded in this waxy mesocarp are anywhere from 400 to 1000 of these strange structures. They're called "arils". They're little sacks of flavorful juice each one encapsulating a tiny seed. The juice is the treasure that we seek. But as any treasure hunter will tell you, there are often booby traps. [takes out a push pin and breaks a model of an aril ... a balloon full of water ... which leaks a copious amount of "juice"] As you can see, each individual aril is its own exploding dye pack. So what we need for safe harvesting here is some kind of protective medium, like maybe a controlled plasma field or ... a bowl of water.
Now take a thin slice off of each end, thusly, and then score from pole to pole; and we're not wanting to cut all the way through the skin. That'll make a mess. Just barely score the outside. That's going to make splitting this guy a lot easier later on. There. Now, the water. Ahh, there. Now, under water. Just kind of dig your thumbs in one end and split open. There.
Now, here you can see that, well, depending on the make and model, so to speak, of the pomegranate, the arils will either just kind of fall off of the interior pulp or you'll have to really work them. Either way, just kind of nudge them off with your fingers. That will prevent breakage ... as much as possible, that is. Here is the other groovy thing about working in water besides preventing, you know, arterial pomegranate spray, is that because they've got seeds in them and they're full of what is essentially a sugar syrup, the arils sink down to the bottom while the waxy surroundings, the pithy part floats up to the top. And that will save you a lot of cleaning later on down the line. Now, drain [he scoops] off the pith, and drain the arils. And spread those out onto some paper towels to dry.
When your arils are nice and dry, move them into air-tight containment, either glass or plastic, and top with a moist—not wet—paper towel. Thus contained and stashed here in your chill chest, these things will keep for up to two months. Or we could just eat them all now. Hah hah hah hah.
The serving options are unlimited. You can sprinkle your arils on salads. You can put them on top of baked goods. Nice cupcake! Stirring them into guacamole, very authentic, believe it or not. Ooh, onto yogurt. Even healthier than before. And of course, they add a nice acidity to grilled foods. Soup? Absolutely, especially vegetable soups, and gosh darn it, my absolute favorite, pomegranate on cottage cheese. I don't know, there's just something about that, I don't know, that little jewel-like pop. Kind of like a cross between, I don't know, caviar and candy.
|Speaking of pops, you know, pomegranates have propitiously appeared in the pop art of many cultures throughout the ages. For instance, Greek mythology, specifically the story of Persephone and Hades; which I'm pretty sure appears here, in "Fantastic Fantasies of Food Science Fiction, Number 31." Let's read, shall we? Hah hah hah hah hah hah.||
No. 31 Oct 19?? 10¢
One day, Persephone, daughter of Demeter-the goddess of agriculture, was
walking in her fields when she was abducted by Hades, the Dark Lord of The
Galactic Underworld. Hoping to make her his wife, Hades tempted Persephone with
edible delicacies but to no avail.
Eventually, Persephone was lured into Hades' on-ship garden and seduced by the strange red fruit she found there. Eventually, she would commandeer the ship, crash land, and escape, taking the pomegranate with her. They grow in the Middle East to this day.
Great story. Okay, so the original didn't really end like that, but this, this is better.
In Action Comics #349, Superman battled a race of
These days, most pomegranate patrons are after the juice alone. And with an average of 700 arils per fruit, we should be able to extract, well, about a third of a cup of juice from a medium specimen. Now extraction will, of course, require some technology, and I know just where to get it.
GUEST: The Dungeon Master
Of course, if we're going to put the squeeze on pomegranates, we might want to
get some advice from somebody with a professional interest in applying pressure:
AB: Hello, anybody home? Oh Dungeon Master.
DUNGEON MASTER: Ah hah hah. The master approaches. Here I am, master. Here I am.
AB: Ah, yeah. Eww. [sees that The Dungeon Master's hands are red] Have you been juicing pomegranates or have you injured something?
DM: Oh master, I didn't know you cared. [hugs AB]
AB: Ugh. I'm not so sure I do. Great, thanks. Do you have anything to show me besides affection?
DM: Ah, yes. Come. This way, master. This way, this way, this way. I have two types of juicers: Squeezy, and Spinny. Spinny, like the reamer, uses ribs to bust up the insides. Juice runs out. This one gets the job done nice and messy. You get as much on your hands as you do in the bowl. Many seeds remain. What fun!
AB: What work. Got anything a little less labor-intensive?
DM: Well, if master is feeling a little lazy, use the electric reamer. Good for getting juice from everything from, say, an orange, to perhaps an armadillo. Try some!
AB: [tastes the juice, and spits it out] Ugh. Eech. Too bitter. Too much extraction. I don't ... hey, I like the looks of this.
DM: Oh, talk about extraction. That juice grinder turns anything into a creamy milkshake. Here, try this [shake]. I made it for you earlier.
AB: Yeah, what is it?
DM: Oh, bass, master.
AB: [slowly puts it down] Um, maybe we should just go straight to the squeezies.
DM: Ah, behold, master. The commercial-grade citrus juicer with a manual extractor arm. Capable of exerting 2000 pounds of skull-crushing pressure, you can juice anything with this baby, from a pineapple to a confession.
AB: [demonstrating] Hah hah hah hah hah hah hah [tastes] Hmm, very nice. But what if I don't have one of these fancy machines ...
DM: [shakes a doll violently with his teeth] Well, if master's looking to pinch a few pennies, just use Blendy. Here, Blendy, Blendy, Blendy. Here Blendy.
DM: [produces a blender] Blendy.
AB: Oh, a blender.
DM: Yes, Blendy. Oooh, look, seedzies. [holds up a bowl of pomegranate arils]
AB: Yeah, arils. Yeah, okay. So, just dump them right in there?
DM: Yeah, put them right in there. Put the lid on, and pulse a few times. Take this up, strain out the nasty pulpy stuff, and voila.
AB: Huh, that's a good idea. A multitasker. I like it. You know, I don't recognize this blender.
DM: Oh, it's mine. You know, for goldfish.
AB: I just heard my Mom call me.
DM: Oh. Tell her I said hello. I sure do miss the old days.
DM: What fun we used to have.
AB: Oh yeah, I sure will.
[AB strains pulp from some arils] There we go. Now I think I'll just give that a try. [tastes] Ahh, fresh, tangy. Reminds me of something. Kind of like, um ... Ahh, got it.
|Ah, this is grenadine, or pomegranate syrup. It gets its name from the fact that the French word for pomegranate is "grenade"—which is also the French word—and our word for this device [grenade]. Pretty cool. Not only does this [the grenade] look a good bit like this [holds up a pomegranate], but when you open them up, stuff flies out and makes a mess. Hah hah.||
Grenadine was once produced exclusively using pomegranates grown on the island of Granada, which also makes sense. These days, most modern Grenadines are made with, well, corn syrup, artificial, natural flavorings. Oh, no actual pomegranate there. So that's a good argument to make our own. [picks up the hand grenade] Oh, you should always keep these up and out of the reach of children. There.
|Combine four cups of pomegranate juice, one tablespoon of lemon juice freshly squeezed, half a cup of sugar in a four-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Now since this would take anywhere from 12 to 20 fresh fruits, feel free to go ahead and use the bottled stuff. Sure, it may lack some of the finer nuances of fresh fruit. But we're going to cook the heck out of it, so no great loss.||
4 Cups Pomegranate Juice
1 Tbs. Freshly Squeezed
½ Cup Sugar
Now stir occasionally. And when the sugar has thoroughly dissolved, drop the
heat to medium-low and cook until the mixture reduces to one and a half cups.
It should take about 50 minutes. There. That's what we're looking for. Just a
very very light syrup. Kill the heat, cool for 30 minutes, and then transfer
your newly-created Grenadine to a clean bottle or jar. Cover and store in the
fridge for up to six months.
Uses? Oh gosh, you name it. Marinades, dressings, sauces, and of course, a host of classic cocktails, including the hurricane, Shirley Temple, and the Tequila Sunrise. Oh, excuse me.
|Start by filling a rocks or Collins glass with ice. Dose that up with one jigger of quality Tequila—that's one and a half ounces, of course. And you're going to want to almost top the glass with freshly squeezed orange juice. Leave just a bit of room at the top. And that is for the Grenadine. We're going to use one-half ounce, that's a tablespoon. And because it's a heavy syrup, it will sink to the bottom making a pretty pattern. So be sure you don't stir it. Mmm, it's like an Eagles concert in a glass. Excuse me.||
1½ Ounces Tequila
Freshly Squeezed Orange
½ Ounce Grenadine
The Tequila Sunrise was first mixed in Mexico in the early 1900's.
If you continue to reduce your Grenadine until it reaches the state of a heavy syrup, within minutes you would have yourself a pomegranate molasses, perfect for drizzling onto ice cream, pancakes, or you could use it as a glaze, for meats. By the time it's all said and done, you will have about one cup of pomegranate molasses for your original four cups of juice. Now when it comes to using this as a glaze, I would always let it cool down to kind of a syrupy consistency. It'll be easier to deal with.
|Now, if we only had a good piece of meat. [looks down, and shows mock surprise] Huh, well looky there! We've got ourselves a leg of lamb. Now if you buy your leg of lamb already boned and rolled, unroll it because we can get lots of flavor on the inside. Starting with some salt and pepper. And yes, I do keep them mixed occasionally. There you go. And just pour on the syrup. It doesn't take a lot. Looks kind of like chocolate syrup going down, doesn't it? Lamb. Chocolate. Eeww.||
4-5 Pound Boneless Leg of
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground
½ Cup Pomegranate Molasses
Brush that on. I'm using just a brush with a silicone end on it. Better than
bristles. Just try get into all the little nooks and crannies. There. Now, fold
back together, and try to just get it into kind of a uniform package.
Now, as for the tying: butcher's twine, and I like to work with just one long piece. We'll get the first one started. We're going to use what's called a surgeon's knot. Loop once, loop twice, and then tie off, as in a regular knot. We'll leave a little bit of length there to finish it. Now, we're just going to start making loops, and scooting them on and tightening them. There's one, slide, tighten, and pull down. There's two, and I think one more will probably do it. And pull. There is three.
Now, we're going to lay him over ... there ... and cut about ten inches of string there. And take this, wrap it around this back piece once, we'll wrap here, and finish, tying it off with the same knot that we started with. There.
Next step, wash those lamb-y hands.
Ahh, time for a little meat and heat. I have my grill pre-heated to medium, about 375 degrees. First step is, we'll hit this with a little salt and pepper
on the outside. One side only. And right onto the grill. Right into the middle
of the grill. A little more salt and pepper.
Now it is incredibly important that we cook over indirect heat here because there is a lot of sugar in the pomegranate molasses. So I have this in the middle. Only number one and number three burners are on. If you have two burners on your grill, just run one on, say, medium-high, and park the meat over the silent flame. If you're working with charcoal, just build your fire over on one side. Now I'm going to let this cook for 15 minutes, then I'm going to come back, I'm going to glaze it, give it a quarter turn, cook another 15, and then we'll repeat two more times, for a total of one hour of cooking, and one revolution of the lamb.
Pull when the meat hits an internal temperature of 130 degrees, cover lightly with foil, and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving. Mmmm, good, and good for you. How good? Good question.
GUEST: Mr. Anderson
[is lying on the bed reading "A Healthy Spleen is a Happy Spleen"]
DR. AB: Hmm. Hello, Mr. Anderson. How are we today? Well, let me tell you, not good [shows a hand-drawn chart, depicting a downward trend]. Heart disease, stroke, various cancers. It's all those free radicals, Mr. Anderson. You've got too many unpaired electrons slamming through your system, searching for atomic dance partners. And you know what? They don't care what DNA strand they knock over in the process.
What can you possibly do? Well, for starters, you could drink more pomegranate juice. It's loaded with the very antioxidants known for putting free radicals out of your misery. A single serving contains more than double the neutralizing power of red wine, and seven times that of green tea. [Pours him a glass] Drink up, and since I juiced that myself, you are getting all of the proteins, the calcium, the iron, vitamin C that are often destroyed during the pasteurization process. [AB picks up a tray of hospital chow, and sniffs.] They expect you to eat this? [picks up a piece of Jell-O, sniffs] I'll be right back. Oh, sorry. You drink up. I'll be right back. [running out] Nurse! Nurse!
Some scholars believe that "the apple" of Eden was actually a pomegranate.
DR. AB: [enters with a cart Mr. Anderson finishes his pomegranate juice] Mr. Anderson, we are going to revisit your Jell-O options, and I want you to pay close attention. Because in the unlikely event of your survival, I'm going to want you to make this three times a day.
|Behold, you're going to need two cups of pomegranate juice. It could be fresh-squeezed, it could be bottled, just make sure it is not from concentrate. It doesn't work too well. [AB is observed to be wearing a tag, identifying him as "Alton Brown, MD" of "Our Lady of Perpetual Pain Hospital"] Now half a cup of that will go into a large mixing bowl. And I want you to sprinkle two envelopes of unflavored gelatin over that. No reason to stir, just sprinkle it in. Now this is called "blooming". And basically, it's going to saturate each of the granules allowing them to evenly dissolve later on. If you skip this step, you're going to have clumps in your Jell-O and that is not good eats.||
ALTON BROWN, MD
2 Cups Pomegranate Juice,
|Now, while that blooms, place the rest of the juice into a small saucepan along with two tablespoons of sugar. Apply high heat and bring it just to a boil.||2 Tbs. Sugar|
Fresh pomegranate juice contains more protein,
calcium and iron than pasteurized.
Now when it does hit a boil, turn off the heat and move that over to the gelatin mixture. Pour very gently, stirring continuously. There. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Then, we're going to have to refrigerate: Thirty to 40 minutes, or until the gelatin is just barely set. If it sets all the way until it is nice and hard and wiggly, then it will be too late to make additions ... and we want to make additions.
|[later] Behold, gelatin at the correct set for adding ingredients. At this viscosity, whatever we add—in this case, half a cup of pomegranate arils—will not sink to the bottom or float to the top. They'll stay in suspension. And just mix those in as quickly as possible, we'll trade out for a ladle, and go ahead and dose this out into the mold or molds of your choice. In this case, I really like these little kind of doughnut cruller models. Single serving; nice and dainty for someone in, you know, your condition. Hah hah.||1/2 Cup Pomegranate Arils|
Now, return these to the chill chest until they are thoroughly set. About
[later] Here you go, Mr. Anderson, a gourmet dessert that even Nurse Ratchet could love. Packed with flavor, a wee bit of crunch, and the kind of phytochemicals that, had you been eating them all along, might have kept you out of this sad predicament.
Yeah, I realize that pomegranates may seem like they're from another planet, but believe me, they may just save your life, so just take the old spoonsy, and just dig right in [Mr. Anderson is unresponsive]. Oh, come on, don't be a big baby. I know it's a brand new food, but [sees that Mr. Anderson may be dead] ...
Mr. Anderson? Oh well. It may be too late for you, old boy, but not too late for me. [takes the gelatin] Ahem, bye bye now. You have a, have a good day.
Well, I hope that we've inspired you to break out of apple-banana-orange rut,
and into one of the strangest, and strangely appealing berries on the planet,
the pomegranate. It's a powerful ingredient. It's got a very unique flavor. Good
for you. And even the arils is a lot like, I don't know, eating nature's candy.
Now I'm not really suggesting that they're not from this planet, but you know, the pomegranate's flavor is really out of this ...
PINGFOB: [walks by in overcoat, hat and carrying a shopping basket]
I ... I'm Alton Brown. Um, see you next time, on "Good Eats".
Transcribed by Michael Roberts
Proofread by Michael Menninger
Last Edited on 08/27/2010