Pomegranates are roughly the same size as large oranges and have a skin that is leathery and reddish-pink in color. Under the surface of the skin are hundreds of sacs that are each filled with a single small seed. These sacs are protected by membranous walls and astringent tissue. The flavor of the seeds’ surrounding red pulp, which is translucent and has a slightly sweet yet sour taste, is highly sought after. Juice is a common byproduct of the processing of pomegranate seeds.
The cultivation of the pomegranate by humans dates back more than 4,000 years, making it one of the world’s oldest known foods. The word “pomegranate” originates from a Latin phrase that literally translates to “apple with many seeds.” The antioxidant power of pomegranates is three times that of wine or green tea, and they also have powerful anti-viral and anti-tumor properties. Pomegranates have been regarded as a “super food” for a very long time.
Since pomegranate seeds are typically consumed uncooked, the most challenging aspect of obtaining your juicy snack will be removing them from their shells. Pomegranate seeds are typically eaten raw. After cutting off the top of the pomegranate, score it vertically along the ridges to create the segments. You only need to cut through the white flesh, not all the way down to the juicy seeds. Disassemble the pomegranate, and then place the individual pieces in a deep bowl filled with ice water. The seeds should be expelled into the water, and the white flesh should be discarded.
In addition to the vitamins A, C, and E that they contain, pomegranates also contain folic acid. It has been demonstrated that they are effective in lowering the risk of developing heart disease, and they are an excellent source of antioxidants that fight cancer. The seeds are a rich source of fiber due to their composition. Pomegranates have a long history of use as a treatment for a wide range of medical conditions, including gastroenteritis, intestinal parasites, and even dental plaque.
Even though they are thought to have originated in the Middle East, pomegranates are now cultivated not only in the Middle East but also in southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, Europe, Africa, and even California and Arizona. The months of September through December are prime pomegranate harvesting months in the United States. Choose fruit that is heavy for its size, has a hue that is bright and fresh, and has a skin that is free of blemishes. Pomegranates that are still in their entirety can be kept for up to two months in the refrigerator or for up to one month in a cool, dark place. The seeds of pomegranate can be preserved for up to three months if they are placed in an airtight container, then placed in the freezer.
The following websites were used as sources for this article: www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov; health-care-clinic.org; www.organicfacts.net. Image by joergens.mi, which can be used with permission and is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.
Pomegranate, Honey & Quinoa Breakfast
1/3 cup quinoa
1/3 cup milk, substitute
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, powder
1 pinch ginger powder
1 tablespoon flax seed, ground (I use ground sunflower seeds!!)
1 tablespoon unpasteurized honey (raw)
1/4 cup fine desiccated coconut (I left this out but it would probably be good)
handful whole almond, chopped and toasted in a dry frying pan
1/2 pomegranate, seeds of
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
1. Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve.
2. Place in a medium saucepan with milk, water, cinnamon and pinch of ginger powder. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minute (At this point the quinoa should have a slight crunch when you bite it.) Remove from heat and drain any remaining liquid, if any.
3. Stir in the flaxseed or sunflower seeds, unpasteurized honey and desiccated coconut if using. Mix well.
4. Top with pomegranate seeds and toasted almonds.
Yield: 1 bowl
1 1/2 cups balkan yogurt (thick style)
3 scallions, finely sliced (optionally you may use some chopped up sweet white onion instead, delicious as well!)
1 pomegranate, seeds of
scant 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
approx 1/4 tsp pomegranate molasses (optional, see intro)
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, reserving some pomegranate seeds for garnish.
2. Add pomegranate juice or pomegranate molasses as it states in the introduction if wished and stir until yogurt is smooth.
3. Scatter the reserved pomegranate seeds over top.
Pomegranate With Orange Juice and Strawberries
1 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
4 oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 pint strawberry
mint leaf (optional)
Prep Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
1. Remove the pomegranates from the husk, and rinse the white pulp off of the seeds. Place the seeds into a bowl.
2. Mix the orange juice and the lemon juice with the sugar, and pour over the pomegranate.
3. Cut the strawberries into bite-size pieces.
4. Add the strawberries and the orange sections to the bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then remove, decorate with mint leaves if you would like, and serve on a platter.
Sue’s Pomegranate Salad
1 bunch romaine lettuce
2 cups cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
Prep Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
1. Mix all together.
2. We use a boughten Honey Poppy Seed Dressing.
Pomegranate and Almond Rice
2 ounces butter
2 cups basmati rice
5 cups water
1 chicken stock cube
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Prep Time: 2 mins
Total Time: 22 mins
1. In a large pot melt the butter, add the rice, and stir to coat the rice with the butter. Do not fry the rice.
2. Add the water, stock cube and salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to minimum, cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed by the rice. Let the rice stand covered for 10 minutes.
3. In the mean time remove the seeds from the pomegranate.
4. Stir the almonds and pomegranate seeds into the rice and serve.
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