Settling In: How to De-Seed a Pomegranate

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

-A simple meal during a complicated week.-

Moving day is the worst. It’s heavy, tiresome, expensive, and frustrating. The result is a bad back and a strained bank account, neither of which recover quickly and require at least a few days of rest.

But no rest for you! Oh no! Those boxes must be unpacked. Walls must be painted. Nails must be secured and pictures hung for all guests – because you want to show off your dazzling new place as soon as possible – to admire.

It’s tough work. No question about it. Yet it’s probably the part of moving we all actually enjoy. With each box emptied and broken down a small piece of your life comes back into order. A shelf organized brings calm. Clothes hung in the closet means you aren’t hunting for underwear out of stray boxes like some real estate blessed vagabond. The TV unloaded means movies and background noise when you unpack everything else. Let’s not forget the reconnection to society when the cable guy, a veritable angel walking amongst humanity, comes to hook up the Internet. And, of course, what home cook doesn’t love invoking order upon a spice cabinet?

Each little task brings you closer to evolving your house to a home. New adventures, memories, etc., and the fervent hope that things in this space will go well. It’s that time when you can make statements like, “This is where I will be happy forever and nothing bad will happen,” and you can almost believe them.

Though who knows?

-Hopefully, no more disasters.-

As it stands the house is transforming into what Fiancee’ and I want it to be. The living room is inviting with therapeutic bamboo green walls and personal bits of decor that range from framed post-it notes with cryptic dime store philosophy and homemade rorschach prints to the antique Remington Rand I wrote my college applications on. (Oh god, I just dated myself).

The furniture has all been smartly arranged though there is still that corner we’re not sure what to do with. The bedroom is tight; not in square footage but in how eloquently it has been arranged for functionality. Our bathroom is glittering white, almost sterile – which is something I prefer in a bathroom – with hints of azure blue here and there.

Some things are still standing issues. The pilot light still needs to be lit, and, dear landlord, please hurry on that as the air is beginning to chill. A door jam needs to be added in the front room before someone (i.e., me) accidentally pops a doorknob through the drywall like a small wrecking ball. We need another smoke detector because Jesus Christ I will not be almost burned to death in my sleep again.

-Also, renter's insurance. I will continue to have it.-

The hunt for a used washer and dryer is a new experience – I know nothing about what to look for. “Does it clean clothes right? Is it gas powered? Where do I put the quarters in?” are all questions I ask that reveal this fact about me. Indeed, I feel like a kid in class who can’t answer teacher’s questions when I talk to people about lint catchers.

The kitchen is a particularly unique problem. It’s huge. I mean, bigger than some apartments I’ve lived in huge. Gas range and plenty of storage are boss, but there is such a thing as too much space.

There is an echo in my kitchen that is almost as deafening as the dead quiet that hovers about the place when you stand there silently. My adorable aluminum and teak five piece dining set – one I bought for $20 off of craigslist years ago and still consider one of the best finds I’ve ever made – is smaller than the light fixture it cowers beneath. It’s horribly sad looking.

The bare white walls are jarring. I’ve never had so much blank canvas to fill up. I rather want to frame a “Keep Calm and Carry On” print and pop it up somewhere but that’ll only put a small spot of color in the intimidating chalk-white landscape.

-I did put a few pomegranate juice splatters on the wall, so that helped.-

Still, all these things shall pass. Eventually, I won’t have to bother my in-laws to use their laundry machines. Proper art that reflects my taste will adorn the walls in the kitchen. A mahogany table may soon be finding a new home here.

Until then cooking is taking a small back seat. This has been a week of simple meals. Recipes for the cookbook, of course, but also salads and steamed veggies because that’s just so darn easy. We’ve been going through scores of pomegranates. Chopping and plucking arils from their tight little butter-colored apartments. We pile them into deep bowls and eat them with spoons.

Tart. Crunchy. Delightful.

It’s as zen as stacking your pots and pans and deciding which cupboard to place the dishes. If you don’t know how to de-seed a pomegranate, though, it can be a straining and staining exercise. The trick is simple. Water. The seeds sink, the skins float, and the juice does not spray like the severed jugular of some second cast starlet in a teen horror flick.

If you’re in the middle of some project like unpacking – well, this is a nice other project to distract and feed you for a bit.

How to Cut and De-Seed a Pomegranate

Fill a large pot with lukewarm water. Cut the pomegranate into quarters lengthwise. Carefully break apart the pomegranate under in the water of the pot. Use your thumb and fingers to delicately, but firmly, push the arils (the seeds) out of their little beds. The water will prevent any juice from splattering. Furthermore, the seeds will sink while the inedible white bits float to the top. Strain the seeds from the water and place in a bowl and eat.


  1. An even cleaner way to do this is to simply score the flesh on the outside in quarters. Then break it apart by the scores you've made once it's in the water.

  2. That's exactly how I do it! And pomegranates were on sale at Whole Foods last week, so I have two big guys on the counter waiting to get the treatment....

  3. OK, I HAVE a "Keep calm and carry on" poster framed in my kitchen!!, and you can get them in lots of different colors. I hope this home shelters you from all harm as long as you chose to stay there.

  4. I also read a tip that you should break it into sections, then let it sit in hottish water for a little while to let the seeds loosen up. I am skeptical though. But YES for doing the work underwater!!!

    ps fiancee is the feminine version of the word; the masculine is fiance. I assume your bf is now your fiance and will be your hubby, so you might want to use the one-e version of the word :-)

  5. I'm surprised you chose "Keep calm and carry on" instead of "Keep calm and eat a cake". ;) Congratulations on the new place! You're going to feel a huge sense of accomplishment once everything is in place, trust me. Nothing feels better than finally having a "home".

  6. You're new place sounds lovely. All your hard work will be worth it once you're all done.

  7. I just discovered your blog, and I am so happy that I did. Your stories are wonderful and your pictures are great. I have enjoyed reading it so much that I have spent hours going back and back, reading older and older posts. Every time I think I will turn off the computer, I spot another one that I want to read. I am so enjoying this. Your food looks delicious, and you are a fantastic writer. Keep it up and I will keep reading!

  8. Sparrow Grace: Thank you so much! Glad you found me.

    Burnttoast: I want to get mine on stretched canvas. ;)

  9. another interesting use for pomegranates is their skin - take just a quarter of the skin, boil up in a bit of water and drink as a tea. Good detoxer and aids weightloss. Personally I prefer the seeds...

    Enjoy the settling in process Garrett. The first few weeks in a new place are always exciting...then you wake up one morning and it just feels like home (cos you don't have to think which way to turn to get to the bathroom).

  10. Rob: I'll be sure to try that out. =D

  11. ok this is how i handle my pomegrantes. i score the skin all the way around the middle d twist them apart. pit the half open side down in the palm of my left hand (im right handed) and beat on it a few times with a wooden spoon. all the seeds pop out and go into a bowl. repeat with other half.

    i also soak my pom seeds in large bottles of vodka for a few weeks and add simple syrup after straining thru cheesecloth. the best pomacello ever.

  12. Here's to many happy memories in your new home - and yes, I love the resettling and making order out of the chaos! :)

    I learnt on master chef Australia recently that the best way to deseed pomegranates was to cut in half and then simply tap sharply on top of each half till the arils pop out. Looked very easy but havent tried it!

    And @Beth - am sure Garett knows exactly what the extra "e" means- he has just done his Masters!

  13. Beth and Miri: Actually, I had no clue about the difference with the "e". =P

  14. I prefer the whacking method, as my hands hate being submerged in water this time of year.

  15. Last year I tried a pomegranate guacamole for the first time. I was uneasy but tried it and it was awesome. I tried making it myself based on recipes I could find through google. Try it with some chips or crackers. Yum!!

  16. What I think is the best (aka least messy) way to deseed a pomegranate is to cut it in half around the center, and hit each half with a wooden spoon. The seeds should pop right out!


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