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Who knew the regal pomegranate could become fashionable to the health conscious? In fact it’s the new superfood! Well this exotic fruit has recently become trendy due to its sublime flavour and impressive antioxidant content. Pomegranates are juicy with a tangy-sweet flavour. A colourful fruit, resembling a large orange in size, which has a scarlet red leathery skin enclosing a spongy-soft, clear white pulp that contains a mass of ruby red, jewel-like edible seeds.
One of God’s miracles, there is about 700-800 tightly packed seed casings called ‘arils’ that are deep red in color when nicely ripe. The taste of the juice differs depending on the variety and its state of ripeness, usually with a sweet, sour, or tangy flavour.
Just in time to spruce up the winter, this fruit is available from September through Christmas – great timing with its festive red colour.
When selecting this fruit, look for larger pomegranates, since they will contain more juice. Choose pomegranates with a soft, somewhat pliable skin that is nicely coloured and relatively free of blemishes, and are heavy for size. Avoid those with dry-looking, wrinkled, or cracked rind – signs that they are over mature.
Pomegranates will keep at room temperature for two to three days. When stored in the fridge, this fruit can keep for up to three months, but as with all produce, consider eating them fresh.
Peeled seeds can be placed in an airtight plastic bag or container and can then be refrigerated for weeks.
To juice, you may wish to strain the juice to eliminate any debris. Alternatively, you can squeeze them through a sieve. The juiced seeds will last about five days under refrigeration.
To freeze, place the airtight plastic bag filled with peeled seeds in the freezer, where it can be kept for 3 to 4 months, some experts say up to one year. Juiced seeds will last up to six months frozen.
To Release the Seeds
Step 1 First cut off its ‘crown’. Break or cut the pomegranate into sections.
Step 2 Place the sections in a large bowl half filled with water. Roll out the arils (seed casings) with your fingers. As the fruit begins to loosen, the arils fall to the bottom of the bowl and the pith comes to the surface. Discard the pith (skin and membranes).
Step 3 Remove the water with a strainer, and set the seeds aside to dry. It’s the arils and seeds within them that are edible.
To Juice, use a Blender
Place 1-1/2 to 2 cups seeds in a blender; blend until liquefied.
Pour through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Please remember, pomegranate juice stains. Apply pressure on the pulp to extract the juice and when finished, throw away the pulp
- Juice Put the arils and seeds through a juicer. To drink it can be thickened up with Grenadine syrup…or make a healthy, delicious salad dressing.
- The seeds ((those in the centre of the sacs) ) are wonderful as a garnish for salads, meats, and desserts, providing a sweet-tart flavour and a crunchy texture. They are a good source of fibre.
- Or choose to put the arils whole into my mouth, savour the juice, and spit out the seeds.
- Sauces Puree seeds in a blender and strain to make sauces, glazes, dips, and jellies. This puree can be considered a major ingredient in marinades, soups, and relishes.
- As a spice – dried seeds (anardana) are used as an acidic ingredient in curry and chutney.
approximately 6 pomegranates = 1 cup of juice
Pomegranates are also used to make a Middle Eastern molasses. It provides a sharp flavour when added as an ingredient to food dishes.
To make 1/2 cup of molasses from pomegranates, lightly heat 4 cups of juice in a pan for 45 minutes or so, allowing it to thicken but not overcook, which produces a dark, sticky, sap-like mixture instead of a smooth slow flowing molasses. Pomegranate molasses can be stored in an airtight container, refrigerated for 3 months or so.
Benefits In 2002, the health benefits of this tremendous red juice became widely known. Bursting with sweetness, pomegranate juice is rich in vitamins and anti-oxidant potency, beneficial in fighting the hardening of arteries. They are also a good source of vitamin B (riboflavin, thiamin, and niacin), vitamin C, calcium, and phosphorus. These combination and other minerals in pomegranates cause a powerful synergy that prevents and reverses many diseases. Even the sweet, edible flesh around the seeds provides vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium. Pomegranates may have two to three times the antioxidant power of equal quantities of green tea or red wine! Due to its very high polyphenol content, the level of anti-oxidant is even higher than those of other known fruits, including blueberries, cranberries, and oranges
Pomegranate, 1 fruit (raw)
Total Fat: 0.46g
*Good source of: Vitamin C (9.4mg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value
- God promised the Israelites that they would find pomegranates along with figs, honey, and olive oil in the Promised Land.
- The pomegranate has travelled from North Africa to the Mediterranean, to the Americas, China, the Middle East, and India.
- Originally named by the Romans as ‘pomum granatum’, which means ‘apple filled with seeds. Then it was adopted by the French as ‘pume grenate’, and the English finally named ‘pomegranate’.
- Spanish settlers brought the pomegranate tree into California in approximately 1769.
Thanks to its newfound popularity, the pomegranate is now being used to make lollipops, chocolate, chewing gum, nutrition bars, ice cream, and margarita mix. Manufacturers have combined it with other healthy fruits like blueberry and strawberry to make appetizing juice drinks.