Granadas (pomegranates) always remind me of my grandma. She had two pomegranate trees in her backyard and as a kid I would stare at those trees for any sign of ripened fruit. Once I’d spot one I would pester my grandma until she allowed me to pick one. I remember they were always ready to pick around the same time a new school year started.

After school I would run to my grandma’s house, snack on a homemade flour tortilla with butter, and then play outside for hours with Ana, my friend and neighbor until my grandma would shout, “Ya ven a cenar!”

Me and my grandma would sit and eat dinner together and talk about my day at school. After dinner it was my job to gently knock down a pomegranate from the tree with a broomstick and in the meantime my grandma would clean up the kitchen. With a ripe pomegranate in hand I would walk to the counter and saw through the tough skin with a butter knife. The pomegranate juice spilled everywhere staining my fingernails and clothes. The slippery seeds popped and splashed on the wall and floor. My grandma was never upset about the mess I left behind. She would encourage me to get all the seeds out and put them in a cup so we could eat them while we watched El Chavo del Ocho in the living room. I would race against the commercials and try to poke all the seeds out, one-by-one, so that I could watch my show while eating the seeds with my grandma.

Those memories with my grandma will never be forgotten and every time I see a pomegranate I smile.

Today I still enjoy pomegranate season and I am always searching for ways to incorporate them into recipes. This season I have a tasty Pomegranate Bruschetta, Ensalada de Noche Buena, and a festive Pomegranate cocktail. I hope you will enjoy these recipes as much as I do.

As an adult I have learned a mess free way to open those lovely, fresh pomegranates. I wish I had known this clever trick when I was a kid.

How to Open a Pomegranate without Making a Mess

Fill a large bowl with water. Using a sharp knife, make two deep slits on top of the pomegranate in the shape of an ‘x’. Do this on a cutting board for more support. Place the pomegranate in the bowl of water.

Put your thumbs where you made the ‘x’ shaped slit, and pry open the pomegranate. Do this underwater so that the red juices don’t splash on you. You should be able to pull the fruit apart in wedges. If the pomegranate is difficult to pull apart, make the slit on top deeper and longer.

Pull the pomegranate wedges apart into manageable pieces. Gently remove the white membrane, while keeping the fruit under water. Then use your fingers to gently remove the red seeds. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the membrane and skin will float to the top.

Skim the top of the water to remove all floating white membrane and skin. Then pour out the water, reserving the pomegranate seeds. Pour a little more cold water over the seeds and pour out once again to make sure all the white membrane is gone. Gently pat dry the pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately or store covered in the fridge.

Photography and step-by-step post by: Veggie Belly

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