The name pomegranate derives form Middle French, pomme garnete, literally "seeded apple"; it is sometimes referred to as Chinese apple. The pomegranate's botanical name, Punica Granatum, translates as "Apple with many seeds." This fruit originated in tropical Asia but has been cultivated throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East. History credits Spanish padres with bringing pomegranates to California more than 200 years ago. Pomegranate Cocktails:
To open a pomegranate, first cut off the crown, then cut the pomegranate into sections. Place the sections in a bowl of water, then roll out the arils (juice sacs) with your fingers, Discard everything else. Strain out the water, then eat the succulent arils whole, seeds and all.
Cut the fresh pomegranate in half as you would a grapefruit. We recommend using a hand-press juicer to juice a pomegranate. If you use an electric juicer, take care not to juice the membrane, so that the juice remains sweet. Strain the juice through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Caution, pomegranate juice stains.
Place 1-1/2 to 2 cups seeds in a blender; blend until liquefied.
Pour through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Caution, pomegranate juice stains.
On a hard surface, press the palm of your hand against a pomegranate and gently roll to break all of the seeds inside (crackling stops when all seeds have broken open). Pierce the rind and squeeze out juice or poke in a straw and press to release juice. Caution, pomegranate juice stains. NOTE: Rolling can be done inside a plastic bag to contain juice that leaks through the skin.
The season begins in early August with the Granada and Early Foothill varieties, followed by Early Wonderful, then Wonderful. Supplies of the Wonderful variety, which make up 80% of the California crop, are in markets October through December, with the peak season in November and into December.
(Source: California Pomegranates)