Asian in origin, the pomegranate is considered special for 3 general reasons: 1) They are available only in fall/early winter – their elusivity gives them exclusivity! 2) Virtually all of the pomagranates sold in the United States are grown in one valley in California. 3) They are heavy in anti-oxidants and are packed full of medicinal qualities – from easing stomach aches to shrinking tumours.
Folks tend to shy away from working with pomegranates because they are not the easiest food to work with, plus, they stain just as badly as beets – so wear gloves or be particularly neat!!
Here’s an easy way to get the arils (seeds) out of the pomegranate: Fill a medium-large bowl with cold water. Cut the “crown” end of the pomegranate off (you’ll know what I’m talking about when you hold one). Slice down the sides lengthwise from the missing crown – just scoring the flesh. You can then pull apart the fruit in sections and drop them into the water. Then sort of love-up on the sections with your hands – gently rolling and squeezing. The arils will break away and drift to the bottom, and the white membrane will float to the top.
Sprinkle the seeds (about ½-3/4 cup per fruit) on salads, or juice them for about ½ cup of juice. You can reduce the juice to a syrup along with some balsamic vinegar for a wonderful glaze for chicken or pork. Because they’re red, they’re naturally a great fit at holiday time. Or, just drink the juice for those fabulous health benefits! Try Lula’s ( www.lulasforlunch.com ) Sweet Potato Pops w/Pomegranate when it’s in season – they’re YUMMY!