How to Eat a Pomegranate: Persian Style! (Part Yek. That is: Part I)
When starting this blog, a little fellow (let’s call him Felfeli) graciously agreed to lend his charming presence to Fig & Quince on select occasions. In fact, he inaugurated our place-holder post. A good luck charm if there ever was one.
Despite being on the wan & sluggish side after a bout with a bad cold, Felfeli accepted the mission of demonstrating how to eat a pomegranate, 2 ways — Persian Style!! Jazz hands! — with aplomb. We sat about our task with measured vigor and somber panache. A boy, his dinosaurs, his aunt, a pair of pomegranates, and a couple of green tomatillos for good measure (because, why not, tomatillos are pretty, and they taste, oh my God, delicious, a revelation!)
In this, Part I of our anâr odyssey, Felfeli and I will cover the “doon kardan” deseeding technique; and will follow up with the irreverent fun-for-the-whole-family āblamboo style in Part II. [Note: There will be a goodly amount of words and an ungodly number of pix in these posts, so if you are one of those "just-the-facts-ma'am" folks or part of the TLDR crowd, wait for the Cliff Notes Pictorial Guide, coming your way on Friday.]
And now – let the Persian Style Pomegranate Magical Mystery World Tour commence in earnest.
- You will need: a fresh pomegranate, a cutting board, a sharp paring knife, a big bowl, and you’ll probably want to wear an apron. (Dinosaurs: optional.)
- Wash the pomegranate quite well. Wipe dry.
- Place the pomegranate on a cutting board. Using a sharp paring knife, cut off the top and bottom of the pomegranate.
During this time you may:
- With your paring knife, delicately yet with force (it’s a poetic balance) score 1/2 inch crisscross indents into the top and bottom of the pomegranate.
- Place a big bowl in a sink. Don your apron if you haven’t done so already.
- Holding your pomegranate low inside the bowl, gently tug it apart in half by pulling at the indented scored seams. Take each half and (once again pulling at the scored seams) pull apart to halve again. Finally, take each quartered piece and pull back with your hands to persuade it to snap in half pieces. (You should now be left with about 8 pieces, plus some adventurous arils that may have jumped out of the membrane pockets. Also, don’t worry about staining your fingers, a cold rinse and it all comes off.)
- Take a quartered piece, peel back the membranes, then start using your fingers to persuade the arils to dislodge. Pop them out! (Felfeli demos his mad aril-popping skills in this short vimeo.)
Gather yer anâr arils (picking out any stray bits and pieces of membrane or pulpy skin and discard) and put them in a nice fresh serving bowl.
Eat with either abandon or restraint but with relish for certain. Traditionally, in old-timey Iran, people would sprinkle golpar (ground angelica powder) over anâr seeds. I’m a fan of many culinary Persian traditions and rituals, but I have to admit, I am not terribly fond of the smell nor flavor of this spice, so I pass. Felfeli wasn’t a fan either. But give it a try and judge for yourself as most of these old-timey traditions usually have their roots in genius nutritional or digestive secrets.
So this is how you seed a pomegranate Persian style – a process called anâr doon kardan. It may look complicated but it’s quite simple really once you get the hang of it.
It does take a fair bit of patience but a pomegranate is such a gorgeous fruit and it tastes so good that surely to treat yourself to its goodness you can get in a zen frame of mind and enjoy the deseeding proess — right?
If not, good news, there is a lazy and fun way to enjoy a pomegranate – a patented Persian method enjoyed by young and old and one that is safe to say every kid will want to try – called anâr ‘eh āblamboo. Felfeli was delighted!
How does āblamboo-style pomegranate work, you ask? You’ll have to stay tuned for the juicy Part II coming you way a on Wednesday to find out.
Felfeli and I bid you a fond Khoda hafez till then.