CAPSULE REPORT: In Part I of this article, Pomegranate Primer, we reviewed the pomegranate history and basics, plus how to peel and store. Here, we tasted more than 50 brands of pomegranate juice and present the 19 brands we liked best, along with, serving suggestions and how to make your own pomegranate juice.
When we began our quest to understand the category of pomegranate juice, we were impressed by the sheer variety of colors, flavor profiles, viscosities, aromas and sweetness among the brands of 100% pomegranate juices we tried. A number of factors can explain these differences.
The pomegranates used to make these juices come from far-flung parts of the world (in our samples, pomegranates from California and Turkey were common).
Different juices are made from different varieties of pomegranate.
Many products even contain a combination of juices from a number of sources, as some producers purchase fruits, or just their concentrates, from different parts of the world (and of different varieties) at certain times of the year based on quality, price and availability.
And, any given batch of pomegranates can have its own nuances based on something as simple as the moment at which it is harvested.
Production processes also impact the flavor and appearance of the juice. If the entire pomegranate—skin and all—is crushed to make the juice, that juice will take on some of the bitterness of the skin and membranes, which are high in tannic acid.
Using the skin can also deepen the color of a juice and leave small particles within it. A juice that has been pressed without processing the skin will not take on the skin’s astringency. It can be lighter in color and body, and more transparent. Photo of pomegranate by Cris DeRaud IST.
You won’t necessarily know all of this when you purchase your pomegranate juice. You may only know if your juice is fresh-squeezed or from concentrate. Producers are not required to state country of origin, or any other detail.
As the market for pomegranate juice continues to grow, we hope our roundup of these products helps make sense of the vast variety that exists and enables readers to select products that suit their tastes and purposes.