A Quiver of Arils



Pomegranates may be the sexiest of fruits. Start with the shape –  fecund and full of promise with the pursed lipped top, where once a brilliant flower bloomed. And how about the sensuous feel of the fruit in your hand, smooth and slick.  Let’s not overlook the color, a subtle mixture of pink, red and purple.

In a room full of women at our Brookside Gardens class last week, the topic was more pragmatic than prurient, and the place quickly devolved into gales of laughter as pomegranate arils went flying. The subject?  What’s the best way to get those jewel-like seeds, or arils, out of the fruit.  They are embedded in a white pith that is as astingent as the seeds are sweet, so the trick is to separate aril from pith.  Hilarity ensued as we gamely implemented audience suggestions that led to air-borne arils and juice-splattered appliances – as well as splattering a few folks in the audience. We’re all learning together here! All this in service of our Delicata and Potato Salad, which, once finished and assembled, got plenty of oohs and aahs as a few cameras came out.

Martha Burke, a regular at our classes at Brookside, told us afterwards that growing up in Mississippi, her family had a pomegranate tree in their backyard. And they called it “sin apple.” So there you have it.

Oh, and the answer to the question about getting out the seeds? Seems to be to whack the cut pomegranate with a spoon and the seeds fall out – just keep whacking. That’s probably the most useful part of this post.

Our next event at Brookside is December 7, which is a Friday, at 10 am.  It’s a holiday program that features flower arrangements by stylist Karen Kent Nelson, who also will stage two holiday tables, and, of course, recipes from our repertoire.  This year’s theme is a Not-So-Traditional Holiday and we are featuring a holiday buffet from Danielle’s new book Happily Hungry.  She’ll also be signing books after the event ends at 11:30 a.m. It will be in the auditorium, which seats 200, so there’s plenty of room and it’s all free. Call 301-962-1451 to register.

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