By Kirk Kern

I went to Costco the other day and saw a box of pomegranates on display — $15 for four. That got me thinking about how I didn’t really appreciate my childhood growing up.

I didn’t come from a family of wealth and privilege. But one thing I did have was as many pomegranates as i could eat during the fall season. My next door neighbor’s house had a line of pomegranate shrubs along their fence. Most of the branches, however, were on our side of the property line, meaning a lot of the fruit was accessible to me.

I’d go out and pick a pomegranate all the time, smash it on the concrete patio to open it up and then picked out the fruit for a snack.

I couldn’t eat them all, so many of them would die on the vine. And when I did eat one, I was pretty wasteful about it. I might just eat half of it and throw the other half away.

Based on today’s pricing, there was probably a couple thousand dollars worth of fruit on that tree that would go uneaten.

Those Costco pomegranates looked really good, but out of principle I wouldn’t pay almost $4 apiece for something I used to eat for free. But they were on sale at Smith’s recently and my wife brought some home for me.

She also showed me a video off of the internet on the proper way to open up a pomegranate. I used to just break it open by smashing it against a hard surface and then have at it. But doing it this way, the rows of fruit were all in unrecognizable patterns.

The video illustrates by cutting a circle around the stem, you can see a distinct pattern for the fruit. Then you slice down from the stem along those patterns. At that point you can separate the segments into the correct pattern.

This system also answered an age-old question I had about how those individual cups of pomegranate seeds, or juice, could be mass produced. Since I always thought there was no rhyme or reason to these patterns, i didn’t think there was any way to efficiently extract the seeds.

Now i know better.

The other thing I did this time around was to make sure I ate every single seed. At these prices, even on sale, I wasn’t about to let any of it go to waste.

A couple of months ago, I bought a pomegranate shrub and planted it in a pot in my backyard. I’m hoping at some point in the next few years, it will bear fruit.

I have a couple of lemon trees currently that in season give me way more lemons than I can possibly eat. We end up giving away most of them.

But if my pomegranate shrub ends up doing what it’s supposed to do, I won’t be giving these away … they’re way to valuable!