Pomegranates

The pomegranate has a long history, rich in myth and symbolism, and has been an important part of the Middle Eastern diet for centuries. It’s easy to see why!

This leathery-skinned ruby-colored fruit is not only beautiful to look at, but it’s delicious sweet-tart juice is a powerful superfood.  Pomegranates are loaded with more antioxidants than green tea and red wine and supply a good source of vitamins, potassium, folic acid, and iron.  All which may help fight heart disease, cancer, and signs of aging.

This is one winter delight you don’t want to miss out on!

Selection and Storage:

Pomegranates are primarily available in the Midwest September through January. Look for baseball- to softball-sized pomegranates that are heavy for their size. The skin should be bright and relatively unblemished, ranging in color from pale, reddish yellow to deep, crimson red.

Pomegranates don’t ripen after harvesting, but due to their very thick skin, store beautifully. Store whole pomegranates in a cool, dark place up to a month or refrigerate them for up to two months. The flesh covered seeds or pips (properly known as arils) that have been removed from the pith can be refrigerated in an air-tight container up to a week or frozen up to a year. Arils that have been frozen are better to use in cooked recipes, as they can get mushy upon defrosting.

How To Eat:

Separating the edible crimson arils from the pomegranate’s inedible white honeycomb-like skin takes a bit of work, but it’s not overly complicated. Learn how to cut open a pomegranate here

The removed arils can then be eaten out of hand as a snack. They also make a delicious topping to oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream, french toast or even your morning cereal.  While some choose to chew the juice and spit out the seed, the edible inner seed provides a great source of fiber, healthy unsaturated oils, and micronutreints.

There are a variety of ways to extract the juice, if you choose. The easiest way is to place the seeds in a sealed plastic freezer bag and roll lightly with a rolling pin.  Then, cut a small hole in the bag to separate the juice from the seeds.  Or press whole arils through a food mill, sieve, or pusle in a blender. The ruby red juice will not only stain your fingers, but your clothes, so remember to wear an apron!

Cooking:

The acidic, citrusy juice is a very popular addition to many recipes, ranging from desserts to main courses. Pomegranates lend their flavor nicely with fall and winter produce, such as apples, pears, carrots, and squash. Subsituting pomegranate juice, in whole or part, enlivens citrus based marinades for beef, chicken, or fish. An easy pomegranate vinaigrette is delicious drizzled over grilled chicken or salmon or as a tasty salad dressing. The juice is also tasty ingredient in many cocktails and the primary base for grenadine syrup.

Whole arils add a delightful crunch to lettuce and fruit salads as well as a welcome addition to baked goods. For a change of pace, add some arils to your next apple crisp or muffin base. Always welcome at parties, chocolate covered pomegranate arils are an elegant and simple addition to your holiday candy tray.  Pomegranate guacamole or kiwi pomegranate salsa makes an unexpected holiday party dip that will have your guests asking for the recipe.

More Recipes:

For more great recipe ideas, check out:

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