Each year I look forward to late October, when the beautiful, healthful and delicious pomegranate starts making its appearance in stores and markets.
Enjoy them while you may, because in about three months they disappear, leaving pomegranate lovers longing for their return.
I was late coming to pomegranates, at least as a food item. Back in the 1980s I bought them around Christmastime for decorating the house. I remember piling many of them into a Blue Delft bowl, tucking in boxwood clippings to create a lovely arrangement for the foyer table. Beautiful, yes, but at the time I was unaware how good they were to eat. Dumb me. Imagine allowing all that goodness to only make pretty and eventually dry to a fare-the-well. Such waste!
Several years ago I began reading articles about the health benefits of this ruby red jewel of a fruit -- of its high antioxidant level, as well as being a good source of fiber and vitamins C and B5.
It's simple, really, although it doesn't appear to be when you split one in half and stare at the many small seeds surrounded by a thin white membrane. I’ve found the best way to tackle the task is to split the fruit into quarters, pull off the outside skin and begin removing the membrane piece by piece, working over a bowl and allowing the seeds and juice to fall in as you work.
How to Eat Pomegranates
There are many ethnic recipes available for cooking with pomegranates, but I have never tried them. My preference is to eat them as they are, stealing a spoonful from the storage container and popping them into my mouth. Crunch the seeds and enjoy a powerful taste sensation.
Other favorites ways I use the seeds are sprinkling them on salads and adding to plain yogurt. Yum, yogurt, honey, walnuts, pomegranate seed, cinnamon and granola: the best breakfast ever!
I love pomegranates so much that I've tried to produce my own crop. I have planted the tree both in the ground and in pots but previous tries have not been successful. I have a plant now that is three years old, in a pot (but I do leave outdoors during winter) and each spring it produces several beautiful blooms that turn into tiny fruits. But alas, they eventually shed off the bush before they grow beyond the size of a dime.
Maybe next year.
The pomegranate has been a symbol in many cultures and religions, including ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, Azerbaijan, Iran and ancient Persia, China, Armenia, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. If you are interested in the subject,read this Wikipedia article.
|Making pomegranate in a juice stall in Turkey|
More About the Pomegranate
The pomegranate is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing approximately 15-25 feet (5-8 meters). It is native to modern day Iran and has been cultivated since ancient times.
In recent years, the pomegranate has become more common in the commercial markets of North America and the Western Hemisphere. It is widely cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, the Middle East, northern Africa and tropical Africa, Indian subcontinent and the drier parts of southeast Asia. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is also cultivated in parts of California and Arizona. (source: Wikipedia).
|schtroumfette photostream via flickr|
Do you eat pomegranates? If so, what is your favorite way to enjoy them?