pomegranate, has recently been acclaimed for its health benefits, in
particular, for its disease fighting antioxidant potential. Preliminary
studies suggest that pomegranate juice may contain almost three times
the total antioxidant ability compared with the same quantity of green
tea or red wine. It also provides a substantial amount of potassium,
is high in fibre, and contains vitamin C and niacin.
in folk medicine (to treat inflammation, sore throats, and rheumatism)
for centuries in the Middle East, India, and Iran, the pomegranate is
about the size of an orange or an apple. It has a tough, dark red or
brownish rind. The seeds and the juicy translucent scarlet red pulp
surrounding the seeds of the pomegranate are the edible parts of the
fruit, although only the pulp has any flavour. Encased within a bitter
tasting, white, spongy, inedible membrane, the seeds can be gently pried
out with your hands. Perhaps one of the reasons the pomegranate isn't
as popular as it deserves is that it takes time and care to get to the
seeds. The flavour of these juicy seeds is delicate, sweet, and tangy.
a light syrup added to alcoholic drinks or soft drinks, used to be made
from pomegranate juice, though now it is made with food colouring. There
are concentrated forms of pomegranate juice available, however. Called
variously pomegranate molasses, concentrated pomegranate juice, or pomegranate
essence, they are available in Middle Eastern markets, gourmet food
stores, and some health food stores.
Pick up the fruit to feel its weight (the seeds represent about
52% of the weight of the whole fruit). If it feels light for its size,
select a heavier one. The skin should appear shiny, taut and thin, without
cracks or splits.
Store whole pomegranates in a dark, cool place for up to a month, and
in the refrigerator for up to two months.
can be refrigerated for up to three days. To freeze the seeds, place
them in an airtight container and they will keep in the freezer for
about six months. When the seeds thaw, they will no longer be edible
as fresh seeds, but they will be fine for extracting the juice. In fact,
the freezing process will break down the cell walls of the pulp surrounding
the seeds and as they thaw, they will naturally give up their juice.
If you've made pomegranate juice, it can be frozen for about six months
in an airtight container.
Pomegranate juice is used to make jelly, juice, sauces, vinaigrettes,
and marinades. The whole seeds can be sprinkled on salads, desserts,
and used as a garnish for meat, poultry, or fish.
To remove the seeds, slice the crown
end off and gently score the rind vertically in several places from
top to bottom. Place the pomegranate in a bowl of water. Carefully break
the sections apart, prying the seeds from their anchors on the pith
with your fingers. Remove the thin membranes that separate the clusters
of seeds. The seeds will sink and the rind and membranes will float.
Gather up the seeds in a colander.
To make juice, place the pomegranate
seeds in a food processor or blender and process until a juice is formed.
Strain the seeds out of the juice through a fine-mesh sieve or a strainer
lined with cheesecloth.