Passion for Pomegranate

words | Jennifer O’Bannon

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Fall is the season for the power-house fruit pomegranate! Set for harvest in late September, this luscious red fruit has been around for centuries. Ancient Egyptians hailed the pomegranate as a symbol of prosperity and ambition. In ancient Greek mythology, it was regarded as the "fruit of the dead" and thought to have sprung from the blood of Adonis

The pomegranate seeds are a stunning addition of color, delightfully delicious, and add healthy boost to any meal. The shiny red "jewels" are called arils and have a similar tartness to cherries. These culinary rubies get their flaming red appearance from polyphenols which are major antioxidants. The seeds are also rich in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Health benefit claims include positive effects in the areas of cancer prevention, protection from Alzheimer's and improved digestion.

Opening a pomegranate and freeing the arils from the rind may appear like hard work, but there are a few tricks. One of the most popular methods involves water. First, score the pomegranate with a knife, break it open, then work to separate the arils from the peel and whitish pulp membranes in a large bowl of water. The arils will sink and the inedible pulp floats.  A second effective way of quickly harvesting is to cut the pomegranate in half, score each half of the exterior rind four to six times, then smack the rind with a large spoon while holding the pomegranate half over a bowl. The seeds will spill from the pomegranate directly into the bowl, leaving only a few embedded in the rind to remove.

Once you have harvested these beauties, they are ready to enjoy! Try adding the pulpy seeds to a little goat cheese and dill as a topping on toast rounds or apple slices. You can also top oatmeal or yogurt to give it a tart punch, or try adding to guacamole for a delicious twist. While you can always use pomegranate juice, we recommend blending whole seeds in a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix) instead to create fresh salad dressings or glazes. Have fun experimenting with these red pom beauties!