We are in the height of pomegranate season-- which usually runs from September through March. As much as it pains me for summertime to end, I must admit that I get a smile on my face when I start seeing pomegranates back in the markets. These little seeds of goodness not only add a sweet touch to whatever dish you are eating (or cocktail) they are loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and potassium.
I don't know what brought about the phrase "fruits of your labor" but my guess is that it must have stemmed from the pomegranate. Getting those darn seeds out can be a laborious task to say the least. I've heard of submerging halved pomegranates into water to aid in removing the seeds, though I've never tried this tactic.
For me, I cut it vertically in half first -- right through the top where the stem is. I think you minimize losing seeds this way. With each half, you can see where the segments are and can cut each half into quarters on the seams. Once it's in quarters, gentle hands and patience is the only way to get all the seeds out. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth all the time (seriously, it takes me about 20+ minutes to get all the seeds out) but I always find myself buying one weekly and enjoying the fruits of my labor.
Costs: Whole Foods and Trader Joe's sell pomegranates for about $3/each. I've found them to be somewhat disappointing lately though. There is a fruit cart guy on 14th Street, right by Trader Joe's, that sells them for $1.99 and they have been fantastic. You can also buy already-seeded packages that come in a ventilated small plastic tub. These range in price and in the midst of the season, they are about $4 per package and will save you lots of time; but I still prefer to take the seeds out on my own.
Look for: Good sized (the size of a naval orange or small grapefruit), dark ruby colored, heavy, and unbruised. If they're bruised or feel soft, you may find brown seeds inside, which is no good.
Toss 'em into your: yogurt, cereal, fruit salads, garden salads, quinoa, couscous, wild rice, brown rice, oatmeal, wrap sandwiches, pitas, muffin batter, bread dough, turkey stuffing, and smoothies. Even place them on top of your grilled or baked meats, like chicken or pork tenderloin. Buy eating your meats with vitamin-C boosting foods, like pomegranates, you can even enhance your iron absorption.