According to Greek mythology, Hades tricked Persephone into marrying him by offering her pomegranate seeds. Obviously (if you know your Edith Hamilton, that is…), Hades was kind of a jerk, but he was onto something. Since ancient times, Pomegranates have portended prosperous romances. Lovers, take note.
Think of pomegranates as the Drakes of the aphrodisiac edibles kingdom – the long-term romantics, if you will. How do we know? Well, there’s quite a bit of ancient wisdom to back this assertion up. For instance, traditional Greek and Armenian wedding customs dictate that a pomegranate be broken open to reveal the many seeds inside and bless the marriage with fertility and plenty. In modern-day Iran, images of pomegranates are still incorporated into many home furnishings to signify love.
Royal by Nature
Pomegranates aren’t just romantic–they’re downright fancy. They even have their own little crowns (the remnants of the flower atop the pomegranate are called a calyx)! Hebrew tradition has it that King Solomon modeled his crown off of the pomegranate calyx.
Archeologists found these ruby gems in the tomb of Queen Hatshepsut’s butler. Various divinities (such as the Greek goddess Hera, Lord Ganesha of Hindu tradition, and the Virgin Mother of the Eastern Orthodox Church) have been depicted with this edible ornament as well.
Okay, I’ll bite. But…how do I bite this?
As you can see from the pictures, pomegranates come packaged in a thick, fibrous rind, ranging in hue from yellow, to red, pink, and even very dark purple (the rare “black pomegranates”). No biting through that! Inside, a plethora of juicy, ruby-like seeds are stuck to a spongy, whitish pulp. Harvesting the seeds can seem daunting, but it’s easier than it looks.
The secret to removing the yummy seeds from the inedible rind? We love this visual tutorial from Refinery29’s The Cut.
Or, you can score the fruit with a knife, crack it open, then hold in a bowl of water. As you crack apart the bits of pulp and rub the seeds away from the rind, the seeds will sink, while the pieces of pulp will float to the surface.
To the victor go the spoils, so they say, and man, after a seed shucking workout like that, it’s a good thing these seeds are downright delicious. Pomegranate seeds are fleshy and juicy, with fiber-packed centers. Some variants are sweeter and some are more sour–in general, they are a piquant mix of tart and sweet.
Not only are they zesty and refreshing, but pomegranate seeds contain high levels of Vitamins K and C, as well as other nutrients that regulate digestive health, boost the immune system, and fortify the bones. They’re a low-calorie, zero cholesterol, exotic indulgence.
Eat ‘Em With…
Pomegranate seeds are used in many Iranian, Armenian, Israeli, Indian, and Greek meat dishes, whether used fresh, dried, or even dried and ground into pastes. In Western cuisine, pomegranates are more commonly used in dessert dishes or cocktail drinks (fun fact: the original grenadine syrup was made with pomegranate juice. No, this tidbit does not make that Singapore Sling good for you…).
An easy way to try pomegranate seeds is to order them off our current menu with our succulent and luxe Valentine’s Day Surf, Turf, and Dessert Special. We’ve already separated out the seeds from the pulp, so you can sprinkle atop that fluffy chocolate mousse and reap the romantic benefits (ahem) immediately.