Monday, December 12, 2011

Enjoying a Pomegranate

Pomegranates (punica granatum) are so delicious and in season now.  I urge you to buy a few to enjoy this winter while you have the chance.  Growing up, mom & dad would occasionally buy one or two for us, but I don't recall ever liking them as much as I should have.  Nowadays, I love everything pomegranate.  I keep pomegranate juice in my refrigerator at all times and, in winter, I like to treat myself to a few.  Not only are pomegranates full of flavor, ranging from sour to sweet, they're also full of vitamin C, polyphenols & potassium.  The small jewel-like arils contain tiny seeds which are perfectly edible and should be consumed because they contain a good amount of fiber.  You can do a number of things culinary wise with pomegranates, but first you must know how to extract their delicious arils.  Let me show you how it's done.



First, choose the right pomegranate.  Make sure the skin is smooth, free of blemishes & bright red.  Pink ones are underripe and shriveled ones indicate rot.



Cut the entire pomegranate in half crosswise.  Do this over a large plate or bowl and if you want, drape your counter with newspapers.  Pomegranate juice stains most surfaces rather quickly, so I caution you.  I always keep a few paper towels handy while I do this.


Expose the pulp and the hundreds of arils.  Don't they look delicious already?



Hold one of the pomegranate halves cupped in your palm and begin pounding with a large wooden spoon all around the skin.  Do this over a large bowl to catch the seeds & juice.  Repeat this with the other half. 



Most of the seeds will come out, but a few may remain in the pulp.  Remove them gently with your fingers.  Your hand will be quite stained by now (using kitchen gloves helps!).   


Bright red, juicy and wonderfully edible arils.  Aren't you tempted?



How do I enjoy pomegranates?  I prefer to eat them with my fingers from a small bowl and nothing else (no spoon!).  I also love them lightly crushed and stirred into some Greek yogurt or tossed into a pomtini if I'm in the mood.  Whichever way you desire to eat a pomegranate, you really should treat yourself, your family & your body to these beneficial fruits.  Bon appetit!  

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