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A ripe, ready-to-eat pomegranate is a luscious jewel of a fruit, capable of transforming any meal into an extraordinary experience. And although this delicious fruit may seem exotic, it's wonderfully easy to enjoy. Pomegranate is a small tree up to 5 meter in height. The bark of the pomegranate tree is light brown with red buds and young shoots. The leaves are small, opposite, glossy and almost evergreen. The large and attractive pomegranate flowers are orange-red. The characteristic large pomegranate fruits are crowned with a calyx and contain numerous seeds in juice containing sacs. The fall season brings the harvest of one of the oldest fruits as well as richest in history and folklore: the pomegranate. Once you get past the multitude of seeds, its juice is tangy, sweet, rich and flavorful. This juice becomes the base for sauces and flavorings for drinks, savory dishes, and sweets, while the whole seeds are a simple delight eaten fresh or used as a colorful garnishing accent.
To peel a pomegranate, first cut off the crown and gently scoop out some of the center core without disturbing the seeds. With a sharp knife, score just through the outer rind around the fruit in quarters. Put your thumb in the core center and gently pull apart the sections. Peel away the inner white papery skin covering the seeds and discard. Gently invert the skin inside out and the seeds will pop out to be easily removed without bruising. Be forewarned that the juice will stain not only your fingers but also your clothes, which is why it has been used as a natural dye by many cultures. Wear an apron when working with the fruit since as you cut it, the juice may naturally burst out in a stream and potentially spot your clothing. Stains should wash out with pre-wash treatment in most cases, but better safe than sorry.
The unadorned, fresh seed pips make a beautiful edible and colorful garnish. This is why you will see them used often on gourmet dishes from salads to entrees to desserts. They work with every course.
How to Select
When choosing your perfect pomegranate, look at the skin. It should be thin, tough, and unbroken, indicating the flavor is well developed. The pithy membrane around the seeds should not be too prominent, and the seed-coats tender and edible. Also, for the fullest of flavor, the seeds should have an abundance of juice. The rind color can range from yellow-orange to deep reddish-purple. Fruits should be plump and round, heavy for their size, with a rich, fresh color and should be free of cuts and blemishes. Larger fruits promise more juice.
Pomegranates are not a fruit that will ripen once picked, so once harvested, they will not continue to develop sugar.
" What can you do with these tantalizing seeds? Pop them into your mouth and enjoy, of course-but when you're looking for variety: Try sprinkling over salads, fruit desserts, cakes or puddings, glazes and for garnish. Top waffles, oatmeal, pancakes, cereal, or sundaes..
" Pomegranate Yogurt Dip is a very unique and promising food item to impress the guests at your home.
" Packed inside are hundreds of ruby-red arils - sweet, tart, gem-like juice sacs, bursting with pure flavor. Enjoy these little beauties as is, toss them into savory or sweet dishes, or use them as a brightly colored garnish.
" Fruit or vegetable salad with pomegranate has a divinely taste
" Pomegranate punch is a welcome drink packed with loads of vitamins and minerals.
" Pomegranate jelly can also be made and relished on breads, desserts or puddings.
" Pomegranate juice is regarded as a delicacy and a great health drink, since pomegranate juice has an acidic, citrusy flavor, try substituting it in citrus marinades, either whole or in part, for a flavor change.
" Spicy Pomegranate Relish can be made by combining pomegranate seeds with finely chopped sweet onion, green jalapeño pepper, lemon juice, sugar and salt to taste.
" Pomegranate and Banana salad taste yum with honey or brown sugar and lime juice.
How to Store
Whole fruits can be stored in a cool, dry area or refrigerated up to two weeks, in an air tight bag. Once opened, the seeds should be consumed fresh and should not be kept more than 2 to 3 days, as it might loose on its colour and flavour.
So, whether you crunch fresh pomegranate seeds or drink the juice, feel guilt-free as you enjoy each delicious mouthful- you're doing your body a favor!
" Pomegranates are not only delicious and beautiful; they're also one of the most nutritious fruits you can eat.
" High in vitamin C and potassium, a good source of fiber and low in calories.
" Pomegranates are a great source of potassium, and pomegranate juice contains antioxidants that will help to protect your blood lipids from oxidation. Pomegranate juice may also help to prevent prostate cancer and helps to prevent plaque build up in your arteries.
" Its refreshing and soothing qualities makes it easier to digest.
" The food has been held in high esteem as a food and as a medicine.
" Pomegranate seeds as well as juice are of great value in digestive disorders. It acts as an appetizer.
" A valuable food remedy for diarrhoea and dysentery.
" Pomegranate juice with addition of a little saffron is useful in fevers to allay thirst.