Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pomegranates - not election news!

It's election evening.  The California polls will be closing in 1/2 an hour.  I voted at my local precinct today.  There were two people in front of me.  That was our crowd.  I voted, got two stickers (one for Boy and the other for Girl) and left.  Right now Fox news is calling it 162-162. ABC says 172-163.  Will California push Obama over the top?  Who knows.  The world will go on if my man doesn't win.  I would say we won't be as safe or as prosperous, yet someone who voted the other way will say the same exact thing.  It all depends on our perspective doesn't it.  On my facebook page one friend posts about those evil Tea Party people intimidating voters from voting and another about the Black Panthers intimidating voters.  I don't think I'll stay up late.  When I wake up in the morning I will know who won. 

So tonight instead, I'm going to write about pomegranates.  Pomegranate trees can be grown in a wide range of locations.  They are hardy to about 15 degrees!  Once they are well established you don't really have to pay any attention to the  tree (or bush).  You thin it out every few years if the fruit starts getting small.  You water it if there's drought.  We have one small tree that I planted a year and a half ago.  It has one pomegranate on it.  I told the kids they can't pick it until Thanksgiving.  The empty house next door has one pomegranate tree that's loaded.  We are going to go over there and pick the tree.  Better us than the birds.  The neighbors on the other side have three trees.  They are picking them and making jelly.  Today they made 60 1/2 pints.  That's almost 4 gallons of jelly!  They use it for gifts year round.  We got a warm jar today.  Thanks neighbor. 

He said we could come over and pick their trees since they are going to still have lots of fruit left.  I asked how they juice the fruit and was told that they bought a professional juicer on line last year for about $300.  Way over my budget.  I have an electric citrus juicer from the early 80s.  I wonder if that would work.  He said yes but rather than the spinning kind of citrus juicer it's better to get the pressing kind.  We'll we could do it by hand, I suppose. 

Instead the neighbor offered to juice pomegranates for us if I could use the juice.    Absolutely, I'll use as much juice as you squeeze.  I can can it as is and have  pomegranate juice for drinking or for recipes year round.  Since this year I've told everyone that all my gifts are going to be food related, I've decided to split my bottles that I earlier bought.  Half of the bottles will be used for hot sauce, the other half for grenadine syrup.  This syrup is easy to make and is good in drinks and also as pancake syrup.  You juice the fruit, then take equal amounts of juice and sugar.  You boil it then simmer for 15 minutes or so to thicken it up a bit.  Then you pour it into the jars and seal them up.  You don't have to boiling water bath them but I will for any that gets put up into regular canning jars rather than the special bottles. 

If you don't have a juicer there are still ways to remove the seeds. You can also remove seeds by splitting the fruit apart in a bowl of cold water. It's easy to remove the seeds this way. The seeds will sink and the membrane will float. When we sit at a table and eat the fruit we just tear it open and pull out the seeds. Once you have a pile of seeds there are many ways to juice them. You can take them and add them to water and simmer them, like you would with cranberries. Or you can put them in a plastic Ziploc bag and roll a rolling pin over them. You can also put them into a fruit grinder. 

What about using the seeds and not grinding them?  You can eat them fresh.  You can also dry them and eat them dried, like raisins.  I've never dried them but I'm going to try that this year.  You can also take the sweetened juice and turn it into  a fruit leather.  The kids would love that.  So would I. 

The fruit is good and it's good for you.  The seeds have riboflavin, A, B2, C, and E.  The rind is a source of potassium, phosphorous, calcium, and beta-carotene. It can also help control diarrhea and yeast infections.  The juice stimulated the appetite.  It's a good painkiller.  It was also used by the Russians against radiation sickness after the Chernobyl accident many years ago.  It's even supposed to be a miracle drug: curing stroke, arthritis, tuberculosis, Alzheimer's and cancer.  (Note: I take no credit for these statements...it's internet rumor that I haven't verified!)

Not only is the fruit useful but everything on the tree is useful.  The bark and roots ground up and made into a tea get rid of intestinal parasite worms in people.  The flowers made into a tea can aid sore throats.  The rind can be dried and powdered to use as a tooth powder or as a vitamin supplement.  

If you have the space, you should plant a pomegranate or two. 


  1. 60 jars! I don't have enough counter space for that kind of operation but it sure does sound like fun!
    The world shall go on, 1 person can't change it in all honesty, even if it's the president. I avoided all real politics and the news, I'm going to bed and like you shall see the results in the morning.

  2. Two pruning tips:
    1. prune new suckers (except as in #2 below) and trim off lateral growth from the ground to 3 feet high (except on dwarf poms!)

    2. Most pomegranites will only bear on 3 year old wood, so plan your pruning to reduce new wood and ensure succession of several 3 to 5 year old uprights and branches.

    Once I learned these easy rules, my harvest increased dramatically!

    I also learned that an old fashion squeeze-type cirtus press will juice your pom seeds and is far less expensive that most other juicers.

  3. I'd love a tree or two. But both where I am and where I'm going gets c-c-c-cold! Like below zero. Dead tree :(