Depending on who you listen to, getting the juice out of a pomegranate can be a messy, daunting task, right up there with hacking open stubborn coconuts with a machete. (see my friend Jaden’s very funny post about coconuts)
For example, in my go-to guide, The Produce Bible (a beautifully photographed encyclopedia of all things fruit, vegetable, herbal and nutty) author Leanne Kitchen first warns that pomegranate juice will permanently stain your clothing. She goes on to describe a juicing method, which involves peeling the sectioned fruit while submerging it in a bowl of water, collecting the seeds that float to the top and finally, chopping them in a food processor to collect the juice. Okaaay. Seems like a lot of work.
And the New Joy of Cooking (NJOC) not only includes the method above for seed extraction, but alternatively has you rolling the fruit around on the counter to release the juices, quartering them, picking out the seeds, wrapping them up in cheesecloth and then squeezing the bundle really hard over a bowl.
While I admit that I’m somewhat of a purist – I mean, most sensible people would just go out and buy a bottle of juice – I’m also lazy. I want fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice, and I don’t want any trouble, hear? Why make things so complicated?
When I saw a recipe I needed to try – Pomegranate Sorbet in A Passion for Ice Cream, I decided to juice my own darn pomegranates. I also happened to have a lot of them on hand – Costco had flats at a bargain price.
My easy-peasy method is simply to cut them in halves (or into quarters if they are Really Big Pomegranates) and juice them in my electric juicer. No mess, not much fuss. There was a little bit of splashing, but I assure you, no clothing was harmed during the filming of this episode.
I found that 3 pomegranates gave me a generous 2 cups of juice, just what I needed to make the sorbet. The NJOC did say that crushing the seeds can release tannin, resulting in bitter juice; but I didn’t find that to be a problem – I must have a gentle juicer.
Pomegranates are in the last throes of their season now – but if you do find some in the market you can refrigerate them for up to a month, easily. Of course, you can make this gorgeous, jewel-colored sorbet with store bought juice, too. Just make sure you buy pure juice without added sugar and other kinds of juices.
adapted from A Passion for Ice Cream by Emily Luchetti
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 cups pure pomegranate juice (fresh or bottled)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Whisk together the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Transfer syrup to a Pyrex or stainless steel bowl. Stir in the pomegranate juice, lemon juice and salt. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours. Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Scrape the sorbet into a freezer-safe container and freeze until scoopable, about 3 hours, before serving.