Steam Juicing Pomegranates

A gallon bag almost full of pomegranate arils.

I had a good harvest of pomegranates this year.

I also purchased a steam juicer a couple of years ago and had never used it. My juicer is from Europe and is a pressure steamer. I bought it on a clearance site and it had no instructions. So, I had never used a steam juicer and nobody but me seems to have a pressure steam juicer. It took a while to get to the point where I was going to make time to learn how to use it.

And that time was now.

It drives the juice out quickly, therefore making sure the juice is cooked as little as possible before I bother canning it.

But, with either a gravity fed steam juicer or a pressure steam juicer I don’t think I’ve hit the best option for pomegranate juice yet.

This actually ended up being really easy to tell if there was water in the bottom as it stops giving off steam when it’s dry. But, I had to run it dry once to figure that out.
This is the post-steaming mash that’s left. It pulls the juice out and replaces it with water. To me, this just isn’t efficient for this particular fruit. Especially since I had to boil it dry twice to get all the juice out (I added water a third time and there was no color in what was coming out so I knew it was done.) I watched the rubber tube to make sure what was coming out wasn’t just water, until that was exactly all that was coming out.

I am excited about using this steamer on things that do not have outer membranes (like watermelon.) If I juice anything else with a skin (like muscadine grapes or persimmons) I will make sure to slice them up first.

You can see that the arils are still completely intact, they have just lost their juice.
This doesn’t look like a lot of juice but it’s highly concentrated. I froze the bag and I am considering adding mulling spices and sugar, stewing the juice and then diluting it to where it tastes right and finally canning the juice.

I had to run the juicer twice (it boiled dry twice, taking about an hour or so.) and the outer arils are tough. It takes a couple of rounds to cook the juice out and I’m sure there’s an easier way. The outer skin and the rubbery yellow membrane between the arils must be removed before steaming because they’re bitter.

I took a couple of days to finish these because I didn’t have the patience to do it in one go.
Bowls of arils.
Cutting along the membrane.

That is a lot of work, and I’ve tried every method of aril removal out there. The problem is if you are processing 50 or more pomegranates: no matter what method of removing arils that you use, it is going to be tedious.

Cutting off the flowering end. Your pomegranates are ready to pick when the arils push the outer skin out into an angular shaped fruit. The membrane area will not stretch as much as the arils fill out. Don’t worry if they split. As long as they are newly split there’s nothing wrong with the arils. Watch for wine smelling areas in the fruit if they are over ripe and harvest around the spoiled arils. Rinse the unspoiled arils off and you’re good to go.

My current favorite way of processing pomegranates is cutting the flowering end off, slicing down the separate membranes and turning the fruit inside out and knocking the arils away from the skin. I don’t recommend whacking these with a wooden spoon because dark, red pomegranate juice dye shoots out all over your kitchen. Depending on ripeness, your pomegranates will be easier or more difficult to separate.

This is my current favorite way to process these. If they aren’t ripe they’ll be harder to do this with. But turning the skin inside out has been effective for me.

I have seen citrus presses used for pomegranates and I think that will be my next adventure with juicing them. I just think that the arils are too tough for steam extraction and I still had to remove the arils from the skin and membranes to get it into the juicer. It just wasn’t my “favorite activity ever”. I’ll let you know what I think of the juice press next year.

Just an FYI in case you were thinking of using steam extraction for pomegranates. My verdict is no: I think there are better ways. But it sure is tasty juice if you have the patience for them!

11 thoughts on “Steam Juicing Pomegranates

  1. Wow, I had never heard of such a contraption. I intend to grow at least one pomegranate tree, but only because they were formerly a traditional fruit in home gardens of the Santa Clara Valley. I really do not know what to do with the fruit. I sort of thought that I could juice them in a press, but that would take a lot of pressure, and not extract all of the juice. I will more likely give all the fruit away.

    1. An old fashioned citrus press is what I’ve asked my hubby for Christmas. You just slice the pomegranate in half, put it on the press pull the handle down and juice it like an orange. No peeling, no seeding. I am more than excited to find a different way than the steam juicer for this!

      1. That was what a neighbor suggested. I dislike modern contraptions, particularly electrical appliances, but would not mind an ‘old fashioned’ machine, comparable to the presses for wine grapes or olive oil. If a grape press could work, I would prefer to use that instead of getting another separate machine for pomegranates, but really would do what I must, as long as I must not rely on modern contraptions.

      2. Yes. Well my modern contraption only requires heat, but to get to that stage it’s a pain. I don’t think people would rely on a fruit that is this hard to process, however, everything that is easy to process skips any hard work and is full of sugar. I believe man is at a time where we need to decide how hard we want to work versus how hard the extraction is. I’m definitely going to try a citrus press but this steam juicer is perfect for a lot of other fruits!

      3. Yes. I am a modern homemaker. People ask me how I could possibly be busy enough to “just” be a homemaker and stay at home mom. This always comes from people who didn’t grow up with a parent who stayed home with them or someone who fell for the idea that homemaker was a dirty word. Honestly, until I had kids I never considered this an occupation and now I find myself constantly defending it. But, my husband is former military. This was the best use of my time being married to someone who was constantly being reassigned places and I was left to run the house, the kids, the garden and preserving on my own. It has been a lovely life. I’m so grateful I fell into it!

      4. The disregard for such an important career choice is disgraceful. Raising children should be a priority! I know that many families enjoy more modern lifestyles that allow both parents to work away from the home, but as you know, such lifestyles deprive children of healthy interaction with their parents and ‘upbringing’. Anyway, I should not get started on that. I can get carried away.

    1. I think I may just have the wrong equipment. Old citrus presses I think would be the best. You don’t have to pull any of it apart, just slice the pomegranate in half and press it. Live and learn!

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