More Juicy Goods on Pomegranates

A few weeks have passed since I started digging for pomegranate tips and recipe ideas, courtesy of a beautifully appealing challenge from Christina, who has a way of making everything fun, or at least a little warm and fuzzy.  Truly, it doesn’t take much persuasion to delve into a pomegranate. What other fruit is so steeped in romance, and history? Cultivated since ancient times and resembling a glittering treasure chest, it’s a world traveler, and has been featured in Egyptian mythology and art, as well as the Old Testament.

Despite its old origins, broad cultivation, and wide appeal,  it seems like the pomegranate has only recently begun to establish itself as a household fruit. In the last decade, it seems study after study produced spectacular clinical results lauding the power of the pomegranate, suggesting they are good for inhibiting breast cancer, lowering blood pressure naturally, promoting heart health, being anti-cancerous in general, and blocking growth of tumors, to name a few. In 2009, Health Magazine named pomegranate the healthiest juice, based on a UCLA study on fruit juices. This, because pomegranate juice contains the most of every type of antioxidant. For those of you who are sensitive to acids, it is acidic, but less so than citrus juices.

Once you get past the initial bother of seeding a pomegranate (which is actually quite easy–just be very aware of stain potential, and work over a bowl if you can), incorporating the seeds into dishes is pretty simple. You can toss them into just about any salad, over yogurt and cereals, even throw them into baked goods. To get creative with them is a little less straightforward. Most recipe names that really wowed me actually used a form other than seeds, the staple ingredient being juice. As it turns out, juicing a pomegranate is easy, too, and the results, while on the relatively meager side (about 1/2 cup of juice per pomegranate), splendidly delicious. What’s more, despite the low yields, you’ll still most likely save money as compared with buying a container of pomegranate juice while they’re in season.

  1. After seeding the pomegranate,  pulse the seeds a few times in a food processor to release the juice, creating a thick pulp. Don’t process for too long, or the seeds will break apart too much and yield a bitter taste.
  2. Strain the pulp, pressing the seeds gently with your hands or the back of a spoon to push the juice out.
Once you’ve juiced your pomegranate, you open up a whole lot of recipe potential–if you can resist enjoying it straight then and there. One versatile option is making a vinaigrette, like this one from Martha Stewart. I originally made it to go with roasted vegetables, such as in Martha’s recipe, but also used it with a bunch of different salads. It’s worth saving some pomegranate seeds to sprinkle on top of your dishes, along with the vinaigrette.

This salad is spinach, jicama, orange segments, asian pear, and pomegranates with pomegranate vinaigrette

Pomegranate vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Pour pomegranate juice into a bowl.  Add in oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

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