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When I was a kid, it was always a treat when my mom would send us kids out with pomegranates for a snack. They were sweet and they seemed like a treasure as we dug into them finding all of those juicy red seeds (technically called arils) to munch on! I remember her telling us not to get them on our clothes because they would stain. We didn't have a pomegranate tree, so I don't know where she got them, probably from a friend with a tree, so they seemed like a wonderful surprise when we had them.
I still don't have a pomegranate tree, but Anita does! She messaged me the other day that she had a bunch of them for me! I was excited!
Anita told me that in years past, there has been an infestation of pomegranate loving bugs that have destroyed most of her fruit time and time again. But this year she had learned about these fruit protecting bags that the bugs couldn't get through. She ordered them from Amazon and this year was able to have a bumper crop of pomegranates! Not only that, her tree looked like an Easter tree in her backyard!
Now, while eating these things when I was a kid was a treat, the prospect of picking the seeds out of all of these red orbs was somewhat daunting. Plus, I was going to need to juice them. Anita gave me some advice and the loan of a steam juicer. I also have my centrifugal juicer that I thought I would try. I read online that some people use citrus juicers like this one to juice pomegranates, too. We ended up trying all three of these ways, and I'm here to share with you what I learned from trial and error.
The Citrus Juicer
Let me get this juicer out of the way first. My husband was helping me when I started opening up the pomegranates. He pulled out his large citrus hand press juicer much like this one, only a much older model. It basically works by crushing the fruit and extracting the juice. Unfortunately we found that barely any juice came out of the fruit and many of the seeds remained intact after trying to crush the fruit. We discarded this idea and I cut up the pomegranates and pulled the seeds out by hand, trying to avoid the yellow membrane on the inside.
* Tip from Anita: After the seeds are removed, cover them with water, much of the leftover membrane will float to the top while the seeds settle at the bottom.
The Steam Juicer
I decided to try the steam juicer next. I had seen my son and his wife use it on their apples and the juice was clear and delicious without any foam or pulp remaining in the juice. So, I set up the juicer and put the first half of the pomegranate seeds in the top part of the juicer.
Anita had warned me that because of the toughness of the outer skin of the seeds, it might take longer than the usual hour to get the juice out.
Well, my results weren't great. I let the juicer go for about 2.5 hours. When I looked at the pulp, the seeds were brown looking and still whole. So, I decided to mash them a bit to get more juice out. Unfortunately, that made the juice cloudy. Then, when I tasted the juice, it tasted like water. It seemed that the steam had simply collected in the juice and really watered it down. Sigh My solution was to boil that juice and get some of the water out of it. That did seem to help and the juice developed more flavor.
*Tip from Anita, (that I didn't follow the first time): Freeze the pomegranate seeds first and then let them thaw before juicing. This will break down the outer skins and help them to release their juice easier.
*Tip from my DIL, (who had done the apples with much success): While the juicer is still going, occasionally drain some of the juice out of the juicer into a container before it has a chance to collect too much water.
I think that some fruit isn't affected by the steam of the juicer as much as pomegranates are because the flavor is stronger to begin with. I'm not sure that the steam canner is the best option for these little red gems. Let me continue to tell you why I think that.
The Centrifugal Juicer
After my first steam juicer fiasco, I was determined to try it again, remembering to freeze the seeds first! I also wanted to try the juicing process with my centrifugal juicer. Thinking about it, I decided that freezing the seeds would probably work best for both types of juicers. So, that is what I did. Then I put one half of the pomegranate seeds in the steam canner and the other half I began to run through the centrifugal juicer. Here is what I discovered:
Another thing I did with the centrifugal juicer was to run the pulp through the juicer a second time because it was still very wet after the first time. Then, after the steam canner was finished, I ran that pulp through the centrifugal juicer as well. But, it still tasted somewhat watery compared to the ones I only ran through the centrifugal juicer alone. (I'm feeling like I should just say cj because typing centrifugal juicer is getting to be a pain).
There is one other method of juicing pomegranates that I didn't try but I've seen mentioned a lot online. It involves grinding the seeds in a food processor or blender and then pushing them through a sieve to juice them. I've used this method with berries in the past, but I didn't use it this time.
If this entire process seems very labor intensive to you, you aren't wrong! I'll let you know if it is worth it when I make my pomegranate jelly!
If you have any tips for me that would help me do this with an easier process, please let me know in the comments! (I'll pass them on!)
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!