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You know how some days are etched in your mind. You may not remember everything about it, but something stands out to keep the memory of that day alive for the rest of your life.
This was one of those days. I was about 9, we were traveling home to Margaret River after a visit to my Grandmother in Perth. On the way we drove off the highway to visit my Grandfather, who was looking after a North Dandalup farm for his friends, while they took a holiday.
The house was your typical farm cottage of the fifties. A few steps up to a front verandah, into a hallway with sitting room on left, main bedroom on right, big kitchen at the end of the hall way and a door out to the back verandah and bathroom and usually a lavatory built at least 10 metres from the house. Fruit trees in the yard.
I remember the day as a typical Perth summer day, hot as hades. A day when it's cooler outside than inside, especially a post war farm cottage. My brother and I played under a tree on the lawn. A tree just like this one.
At some point that afternoon my grandfather reached up and picked some of the fruits and handed one to each of us. Having never seen one before we had no idea how to eat it. I guess we figured it out because I remember trying the seeds and being seriously unimpressed.
Forty years passed before I came across another pomegranate. Again I remember the day clearly. The Barossa, autumn, a wine festival, holidaying with dear friends. Nope, still not impressed with pomegranate seeds.
And then one day last year I was given a glass of pomegranate juice to try. It was like a light went off in my head. Finally, I understood the attraction of pomegranates.
I am now, possibly their biggest fan. The tart juice, arils scattered on a chicken tagine, sprinkled over a fruit platter, dipped in chocolate. Some days I'm happy to just sit in the sun and eat them one by one straight from their shell.
The modern pomegranate, now grown commercially in Australia, is more pulp, less kernel. Which is good taste wise, but for kids who like to play spit the kernel the furtherest, not so much fun.
There are probably easier and more modern ways to juice pomegranates...but I kinda like the old fashioned way. Standing at the bench, pushing down on the seeds to extract the juice and thinking about my grandfather.
Breaking apart the whole fruit and removing the arils, as the seeds are called... it's a little like mining for rubies.
Scrape the pomegranate arils into a strainer.
I use a small plate to push down on arils to release the juice.