Posted October 25, 2011
Q: I received four pomegranates as a gift. How can I tell if they’re ripe – and what can I do with them?
A: If they were bought in a store, they should be ripe already. If the sides are sunken, the pomegranate is getting overripe and should be used soon.
Pomegranate seeds look like bright, red jewels, with a crispy texture and tart juice. You can eat them whole, sprinkling them on a salad, for instance. However, pomegranates will stain, so there is a trick to getting the seeds: Make a few cuts in the leathery skin, trying not to pierce the seeds. Fill a sink or a large bowl with cold water. Holding the fruit under water, pull it apart in chunks. Use your fingers to free the seeds.
The seeds will sink and the pith will float. Skim it off and discard it, then use a strainer or slotted spoon to get the seeds.
Kathleen Purvis answers questions at http://www.charlotteobserver.com/food.