The pomegranate has become a more familiar fruit in our stores these days and is traditionally found around the winter holiday period. Not only is this unusual fruit great to eat, but it also has a variety of other interesting uses. That’s why here we’ll be discussing what to do with pomegranates. Most likely you’ll already be familiar with pomegranate juice, but there is so much more to this amazing plant.
What You'll Learn Today
- What Can You Make From Pomegranate?
- What To Do With Lots Of Pomegranates?
- What Can You Do With Pomegranate Peels?
- What To Do With Pomegranate Pulp?
- What To Do With Pomegranate Seeds
- What To Do With Pomegranate Molasses?
What Can You Make From Pomegranate?
Pomegranates can be used in a wide variety of sweet and savory recipes, but as an overview, you can make things like:
- Relish, Pickle, or Chutney
Pomegranate juice is not only delicious, but it’s full of antioxidants. Studies have shown it has a wide number of health benefits.
I find it’s best to cover your clothes or wear dark colors when preparing pomegranates to juice as it can get a bit messy!
- 5 or 6 large, ripe pomegranates
1. With a small, sharp knife, cut off the top and bottom of the pomegranate.
2. Carefully score the skin of the pomegranate into four equally sized sections going from top to bottom. Ensure you have gone right through the skin.
3. Use the scores to break the fruit into sections.
4. Use your thumbs to brush off the juice-filled arils into a strainer.
5. Be careful to remove all of the white pith and the fine sheet of skin that separates the sections.
6. Once you have all of the arils removed from the skin, give them a quick rinse under the tap and drain well.
7. Now you have two choices, either put them through a juicer or into a blender. A juicer will remove a lot of the pulp for you but you’ll need to do this by hand if you use a blender.
8. If you blend, only do so for 15 to 20 seconds to avoid totally mashing up the seeds.
9. Strain the juice. I like to do this through several strainers with different size mesh, starting with the largest mesh first and ending with the finest. You’ll need to use a wooden spoon or a spatula to help the process. Even juice from a juicer benefits from a little straining.
10. You’ll be left with around four cups of juice which can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Another great thing to do with pomegranates is to turn them into pickles. It’s great served with meat dishes or as an accompaniment for cheese or Indian dishes. This is super quick and easy to make.
- A large, ripe pomegranate
- 5 to 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- ¾ tablespoon red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1. In a dry skillet, toast the fennel and cumin seeds for two to three minutes stirring continually. They should become aromatic but not burnt.
2. On a chopping board use a broad-bladed kitchen knife and crush each of the garlic cloves under the side of the blade by pushing down from above. Peel off the skin and cut off the hard end.
Chop each clove into several pieces and place in a pestle and mortar. Add the toasted fennel and cumin from your skillet and crush them together. Once crushed, place the contents into a bowl.
3. Add the pomegranate seeds, salt, pepper, and chili powder into the bowl and mix well. Add the lemon juice and mix again.
4. In the empty skillet add the olive oil and mustard seeds and cook until the seeds begin to crackle. Be careful as the hot oil can spit. Then add to the bowl with the other ingredients and mix well.
5. Your pickle is ready!
In this video, you can see how to make delicious Pomegranate pickle:
One of my favorite things to make with fresh fruits and even some flowers, such as elderberry or rose, is sorbet. It’s a delightful dessert on a hot summer evening as it’s so cool, and refreshing.
- ¾ cup of water
- ½ cup of white sugar
- 3 cups of cold pomegranate juice
- Juice of a lemon
1. In a small, heavy-based pan, simmer the water and sugar for about 10 minutes until reduced to sugar syrup.
2. Allow the syrup to cool before adding it to the pomegranate and lemon juice. Stir the mixture together well.
3. Pour into an ice cream maker and follow instructions for your particular brand.
4. Once ready you can serve it immediately, or place it into a freezer-proof container and freeze it for later use.
What To Do With Lots Of Pomegranates?
All of the recipes given above – Juice, pickle, or sorbet are great ways to use up an excess of pomegranates.
I often juice lots of pomegranates in one go using my slow juicer and freeze the juice in portion-sized amounts so it is ready to use as a drink or to add to other recipes. It’s so full of great health benefits!
What Can You Do With Pomegranate Peels?
You may think that there’s little you could do with leftover pomegranate peel, but I’ve some good news for you. It’s great for turning into a variety of things that can be really beneficial.
I’m talking about your skin here and not the skin of the pomegranate. Just like the seeds, pomegranate skin is also rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. These can help with a variety of skin conditions:
Hyperpigmentation – Dark patches of skin that often occur from sun damage as we get older, particularly on the back of our hands and chest or face.
Making a simple mask can help. Always be sure to do a 48-hour skin patch test to ensure you are not sensitive to any of the ingredients.
- ½ pomegranate
- ½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Place the ingredients into a blender and blend for 30 seconds
Apply the pomegranate paste to areas you’d like to remove the pigmented skin such as the back of your hands, chest, or face.
Leave on for 30 minutes and then wash off with plenty of warm water.
Do this twice a week, or more if your pigmentation is severe.
The pomegranate juice will calm and soothe your skin and repair the UV damage while the lemon juice helps lighten the skin.
Acne & Wound Healing – Pomegranate peel has also been found to be beneficial for treating and preventing acne, protecting against UVB damage, and promoting wound healing.
What else is pomegranate peel good for?
- Chronic disease – Diabetes and heart disease may be helped by supplementing the diet with pomegranate peel extract. It has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, improve cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.
- Brain function – Oxidative stress has been shown to play a part in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The high antioxidant levels of pomegranate peels have shown promising results in animal studies. Taking small amounts of pomegranate peel has been shown to improve cognitive performance in healthy adults.
- Anticancer – The polyphenol “punicalagin” which is high in pomegranate peel, has demonstrated a strong anti-cancer effect in test-tube studies. Promising research into prostate, breast, colon, and oral cancer is ongoing, but it has been shown to slow or stop the spread of these types of cancer in a laboratory setting. More research is needed.
- Dental health – Plaque buildup may be reduced when using a daily mouthwash made from pomegranate peel. This is thought to be due to its strong antibacterial activity, which could help in the prevention of dental cavities and gum disease.
- Wound healing – The strong antibacterial activity of pomegranate peel may also benefit wound healing by fighting infection.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – The same punicalagin polyphenol that is beneficial for fighting cancer is also useful for reducing inflammation in the joints, which may prevent cartilage damage.
- Bone loss – As we age bone loss can become a problem. Pomegranate peel has been shown in studies to help with the regeneration of new bone tissue. This is again contributed to its high levels of antioxidants.
How To Make Pomegranate Peel Powder At Home
You can purchase pomegranate peel powder from health food stores or online. But if you have pomegranates there is also the possibility of making it for yourself at a fraction of the cost.
1. Chop the pomegranate peel into strips and using a dehydrator dry out the peel completely. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can do this by putting it on a sunny window sill in direct sun for two or three days.
2. Place the dry peel into a blender and chop it up into small pieces.
3. To get the powder really fine, place it into an electric coffee grinder or grind by hand in a pestle and mortar.
4. Keep the powder in a dry, airtight container at room temperature.
The powder can be made into a tea by steeping in hot water and then straining or it can be turned into skin masks for topical application.
Always check with your doctor that ingesting pomegranate powder won’t affect any medications you are taking.
Ensure you do a 48-hour patch test to check for any allergies.
Another thing that pomegranate peel can be used for is making a natural dye for fabrics such as cotton, wool, or linen.
The rinds are ground down into a powder that is high in tannins. In India and Southeast Asia, it is used to dye fabrics a soft yellow or yellow-green color. It is used both as a primary dye and in the mordant process and helps improve the wash and lightfastness of other dyes it is mixed with.
What To Do With Pomegranate Pulp?
When you make pomegranate juice, you’ll be left with quite a bit of pulp.
Pomegranate seeds are quite bitter, but still full of beneficial polyphenols, so it makes sense not to just throw the pulp out. Instead, you can try some of the following ideas to use it up:
- Turn it into skincare products such as soaps, masks, or scrubs.
- Brew up some fruit tea by adding it to boiling water along with other spices such as ginger and cinnamon. Leave to steep for five to ten minutes before straining and sweeten with a little honey.
- Add to fruit crumbles.
What To Do With Pomegranate Seeds
The first idea of what to do with pomegranate seeds is to use at least some to grow your own pomegranate trees! One of my favorite things to do with the seeds from any fruit or vegetable is to use them to grow more for myself.
If growing trees isn’t for you, then I have some other tasty ideas:
- Salad toppings
- Meat accompaniment
- Jewel fruit salad
- Breakfast health kick
- Colorful appetizers
- Couscous crunch
- Ruby garnish
- Red wine alternative
Salads – Sprinkle some of these ruby jewel seeds onto your green salads to add extra crunch and tart sweetness.
Meat Accompaniment – I love to add fresh, whole pomegranate seeds to roast lamb, teamed together with ripped mint leaves, or pork, with cubes of cooked apple. It adds a wonderful texture, crunch, and freshness.
Fruit Salad – Sometimes fruit salads can seem a bit boring. By adding more interesting fruits such as pomegranate seeds not only will you add an additional layer of flavor, but texture and color too.
Breakfast – Due to the wonderful health benefits of pomegranates, they are well worth adding to your daily diet. One way of doing this is by making them an addition to your breakfast. Spruce up your oatmeal, or liven up a yogurt.
Appetizers – If you want to make something your guests will love, why not try serving pomegranate and avocado toasts?
Cut a baguette into rounds and lightly toast on each side. Mash an avocado and add the juice of a lemon, salt, and pepper to taste and a little cayenne pepper and mix well. Drizzle a little olive oil onto your toast before spreading the avocado mix on top. Then crown it with some deep red pomegranate seeds.
Couscous – Jazz up your couscous with pomegranate seeds and some freshly chopped mint leaves.
Garnish – Almost any dish, sweet or savory will look great with a garnish of fresh pomegranate seeds. They add a splash of color as well as their sweet, tart flavor.
Red Wine Alternative – If you want to enjoy the meal or party and have a glass of red with your friends, but need to stay clear-headed for the drive home, drink pomegranate juice instead.
What To Do With Pomegranate Molasses?
Ever heard of pomegranate molasses? This wonderful sweet Mediterranean syrup is ideal for use in a wide range of dishes, including marinades, sauces, and even cocktails.
Pomegranate molasses is made by boiling pomegranate juice and reducing it until it becomes thick and sticky. Its intense flavor means you only need a tiny bit to transform dishes or drinks.
It adds complexity and a rich, slightly acidic, fruity sweetness to marinades and is great for using with meat to create a wonderful gravy, barbecue, or dipping sauce.
Although you can buy pomegranate syrup in Middle Eastern stores or online, it isn’t difficult to make. Simply simmer pure pomegranate juice and reduce it by a third. Three cups of juice become a cup of syrup.
You can choose to add sugar or lemon juice to suit your taste and preferred use. You’ll know when the molasses is ready because it will coat the back of a spoon. Store in an airtight glass bottle or jar in the refrigerator and use within six months.
Ideas For Using Pomegranate Molasses
- Add a teaspoon of the syrup to iced tea
- Add to sparkling water to make a homemade soda
- Add to salad dressings for a sweet, tart tang
- Brush over chicken or pork before roasting
- Add to barbecue sauce
- Create your own cocktail recipes!
Remember, a little goes a long way.
Pomegranates are a delicious and healthy food, but they can also have other benefits and uses such as medicines, skincare products, or dyes.
Pomegranate has been used as a medicine for centuries in eastern cultures and it has also sparked the interest of scientists around the world for its high antioxidant benefits to treat and fight disease.
To learn more about the pomegranate tree visit our blog.