Chapter 1, page 3: branching out

I placed the pomegranate in the middle of my cutting board. Step one: complete.  Now for step two. I picked up my knife and held the pomegranate secure. After a deep breath I sliced into the pomegranate. Red juice oozed every which direction and looked slightly like blood on my white cutting board. Watered down blood, but blood none the less.

It was a lot of juice. A lot. I had no idea there was that much juice in a single pomegranate. To be honest, I knew nothing of pomegranates at all. My only previous experience with a pomegranate had come in a plastic bottle. So maybe juice and the actual fruit are generally not that similar. Especially when the juice is from concentrate and is actually pomegranate juice cocktail and not actual pomegranate juice. Looking at the pomegranate juice on my cutting board I had a hard time understanding why cocktail was even needed; I'd gotten enough juice from this one smaller pomegranate to fill a glass.

I snapped back to reality once I realized that the juice was dangerously close to running off the cutting board and onto the counter. These counters weren't mine and I really wanted to get the deposit back when I moved out in August.

Now what? I had stopped the juice but I didn't know what else to do. I mean, you only eat the seeds. I knew that. But how did I get them out? I poked awkwardly at the fruit, attempting to free the ruby like seeds. Instead of coming free, the seed popped. Juice squirted every which direction. Clearly that approach wasn't going to work. I sliced the pomegranate halves into half again. It wasn't really necessary but the slicing made me feel productive. It was a step towards actually eating a new fruit, even if it wasn't a useful step. I picked up one of the fourths and turned it around in my hand. After pondering for another moment or two, I broke a chunk off from the pomegranate. I used my forefinger to gently try and pull a seed free. No such luck. That one burst too. Trying a new healthy food was proving to be exceptionally difficult. I had thought that since this was raw fruit, it'd be easy to cut and eat. I should have known after my experiences last year trying to slice a whole pineapple; I'd ended up with a cut finger and lost more of the pineapple then I'd salvaged. After that I'd gone back to buying pre-cut pineapple chunks. No sense in almost losing a finger every time I wanted some pineapple.

I chewed my lip as I contemplated my new foe. Okay. I can do this. I can free the seeds from the pomegranate. I realized that the white flesh covering the seeds easily pealed back. I peeled a piece back and was surprised to see a whole cluster of seeds that had previously to be hidden. I was relieved to discover the pomegranate's secret; after all pomegranates were expensive and when I'd first sliced into it I hadn't seen that many seeds. I took my thumb and gently scraped the base of the seeds. To my surprise all but one popped free of the flesh and none actually popped. A grin exploded onto my face. Within minutes I'd freed all of the little rubies housed in a quarter of the pomegranate.

With that challenge handled, I had one more challenge to face: actually eating the seeds. But with all the works I'd gone through to get the seeds, there was no way I wasn't going to at least try some. All that effort wouldn't be for nought. I tentatively lifted a seed from the small coffee cup I'd deposited the seeds into. With a deep breath I popped the seed into my mouth and crunched down into it.

The pomegranate seed was surprisingly tasty. I ate another. And another. And another. Soon I'd finished off a fourth of a pomegranate. I may just branch out from apples after all.

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