Nov 15
2010

From Blossom to Bottle—A Pomegranate Story.

in Tips & Tricks, Travel

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POM Party Table

On Saturday I threw a pomegranate harvest dinner at my house for a group of friends.  The food was all Japanese fusion and we had a very fun evening.  But before I tell you about the dinner, I want to tell you how the pomegranate goes from blossom to bottle.  Last month when I went up to Fresno for the POM Wonderful Harvest Tour, I learned all about this process and gained a much greater appreciation for this remarkable fruit.  We visited the POM orchards (18,000 acres of pomegranate trees!) where we learned about the pollination and picking processes.

Pomegranate Split Open

At the POM Fresh Plant in Fresno, we learned about the quality control process where 4 million pomegranates are individually photographed and sorted each day.  Quality control watches for cracks and divets and measures each pomegranate against an ever-changing color chart.  Then the fruit goes through a cleaning process and is sorted again by hand, where workers again watch for defects and sort the fruit by size.  The fruit is then packed into boxes for sale, or sent to a machine that extracts the arils, which are then packaged for sale.

Crate of freshly picked POMegranates

At the POM Fresh Bottling Plant, the fruit chosen for juicing goes through a 3-press process.  After the third press, the juice goes through a rotary sieve which removes any particulates.  then the juice is pasteurized in a process which takes about 30 seconds from start to finish.  The juice is heated to 169 degrees Fahrenheit, just hot enough to kill any bacteria that might be present, and then quickly chilled to 34 degrees Fahrenheit.  At this point, not all of the juice is immediately bottled.  Some of it goes through an evaporation process where extra water is evaporated out to make pure pomegranate concentrate which is then frozen and stored.  When ready to be bottled, the concentrate is thawed, and pure RO (reverse osmosis) water is added to bring it back to its original water content, and the juice goes on to bottling.

Newly made POM bottles

Unlike other juice bottling companies that use a “hot fill” process, POM uses a “cold fill” process where the juice is never reheated after pasteurization.  This is a trickier process because it must be done in an aseptic (sterile environment) to prevent introduction of bacteria into the juice.  Their special aseptic filling machine grabs the neck of sterilized bottles, fills and caps them, all without ever touching the mouth of the bottle.  The filled bottles are then shipped to stores to be bought by us!

Pomegranate Crown

You can imagine that the orchards and POM Plant are extremely busy during the six week harvest period in fall.  To learn a bit more about the process and see what the orchards and plants are like, watch my video which will take you from blossom to bottle:

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather (Heather's Dish) November 15, 2010 at 8:00 pm

mmmmmm, pomegranates are the best…i never tried one until last year and now i’m addicted!

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Fuji Nana November 15, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Great video! It’s been interesting to watch the rise of the pomegranate from rare, unusual, gourmet fruit to something familiar to all of us. Three cheers for the Pom people! (And for Fuji Mama!)

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Kaname650 November 15, 2010 at 8:40 pm

When I was a kid we had a neighbor who gave pomegranates out to trick-or-treaters for Halloween. Those were the best!

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[email protected] November 15, 2010 at 9:58 pm

I love reading stories about how different foods are harvested and delivered to a hungry public!
Can’t wait to see more about your “Pom” dinnerparty!!

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Karen at Globetrotter Diaries November 15, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Wow fascinating! Thanks for the behind the scenes info. Just did a post on pomegranates so this was really interesting for me!

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scrapper al November 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I love videos like this that show the behind the scenes info. It reminds me a bit of the Sesame Street videos where they would show how things were made. Glad to know that the pulp is put to good use.

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Cathy/ShowFoodChef November 17, 2010 at 1:34 am

I can’t wait to read about your Pom party! Your pics look like ruby jewels, fantastic. Just checking in and catching up on your blog. Love!!! the mushroom gyoza, too.

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Patsy dosh September 21, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I have 1 tree in my backyard and i picked the fruit today, its not all really red , i didnt want the ants to get in them like last year, will they still rippen off the tree? i made juice of 1 and it was wonderful thank you, patsy

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shivaji ghawate February 8, 2015 at 8:31 am

I can’t believe this party

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Helen Turner February 16, 2021 at 4:21 am

I love Pomegranate juice so much. But It is homemade juice and makes with a blender. It gives me nutritions, reduce my weakness and make me healthy.

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