Camper English's Favorite Booze Stories by Camper English in 2012
A Semi-Molecular Americano at Capo's in San Francisco

Failures in Pomegranate

PomegranateProjectSquareLogoI've been attempting to do something interesting with pomegranate seeds as part of this Pomegranate Project I'm working on. But it hasn't been going well so far.

My default ways to mess with an ingredient are:

1. Freeze it.
2. Dehydrate it. 

So I tried that, both with PAMA and with pomegrate seeds.

Failures with Pomegranate

But first, a success! I was able to easily remove pomegranate seeds from a fresh pomegranate by using the method in the video in this post. I split a pomegranate in two and whacked it with a muddler: out popped the seeds. 

Pile of grenadine seeds3_tn

Some pomegranate seeds I froze, and some I dehydrated. 

Pomegranate seeds don't float in water, they sink. We know this as when we de-seed a pomegranate, the seeds sink to the bottom of a bowl of water but the pulp floats - it makes it easy to seperate the two.

But pomegranate seeds are also made up largely of water. I thought: perhaps if I froze them, the ice inside the seeds would help them float, even in non-carbonated liquids. 

But alas, this wasn't the case. they sunk.

Seeds in glass bottom

I also tried dehydrating pomegranate seeds. I put them in my food dehydrator overnight. They shriveled into horrid little baby teeth. 

Dried pomegranate seeds2

It turns out that dehydrated pomegranate seeds are used in cooking. They are called anardana and ground up and used as a spice. I crunched on a few and they didn't taste so great, so I didn't pursue that. 

Some of them float, but they wouldn't make a nice garnish. Nobody wants to see that.

Dried pomegranate seeds in glass

I also tried dehydrating PAMA liqueurs. It also failed. Instead of crystallizing into nice pomegranate-flavored sugar, it became a goopy glop that turned brown-black. 

My guess is that this  is due to pectin that makes the fruit gummy when dehydrated. 

So: all that was a fail. But at least pomegranate seeds still float and look nice in carbonated drinks. 

Floating grenadine seeds

For the month of December I'll be looking at the pomegranate and its use in cocktails, including in grenadine and in PAMA pomegranate liqueur, the sponsor of the project. Check out the information developed just for bartenders at


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i've always found the juice too precious to mess with. whenever i get them and invest the labor to juice them i only freeze concentrate the juice. i've tortured them every which way and always regretted wasting the juice.
around here i've never even seen a bar that made grenadine from fresh pomegranates. in my local travels, only Drink went so far as to use a non pasteurized fresh/frozen pomegranate juice.

i've been having a lot of fun making carbonated cocktails from liqueurs that are fairly well contrasted with their own acidity. i suspect Pama would be an excellent candidate for such as drink.

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