Bring on the Pomegranates!
Tis’ the season of pomegranates! And oh how happy we are when they finally arrive in our grocery store.
Besides being a pretty and tasty fruit, pomegranates are a health-packed fruit. Pomegranates have an impressive nutrient profile — one cup of arils (aka the seeds) contains lots of:
Two compounds in pomegranates - punicalagins and punicic acid - are responsible for most of the health benefits of pomegranate. And here’s a fun fact to know and tell at the dinner table: Pomegranates also have antioxidant activity three times higher than that of red wine and green tea.
Recent studies show that this delicious fruit also has anti-inflammatory properties—especially related to inflammation in the gut. Scientists have also found that pomegranate seed oil (mostly punicic acid) fights breast cancer.
To top all that off, pomegranates also help with heart disease and do a good job of lowering blood pressure.
But to be truly honest, just a few years ago I wouldn’t have given them the time of day. I didn’t have a clue how to use them, much less how to open one up. And once opened, that’s when the confusion really started. I couldn’t figure out what the deal with the seeds was. First of all, I had no idea that the SEEDS were the fruit (I know, you’re thinking, “This chick needs to get out more!”). After figuring out what the actual fruit was, my next question was how to remove them. But back to the SEEDS being the actual fruit, I hadn’t a clue as to how to eat them. Was I supposed to somehow extract the juicy stuff off the seed parts and then spit them out, or swallow the seed parts? It was confusing. “These things need to come with instructions,” I thought to myself.
Well, now after lots of practice, I say “bring on the pomegranates!” I can sure see why folks are so crazy about them. They’re worth all the effort it takes to get to those tasty seeds.
And then there’s their versatility. You can do so much with them. Like tossing them into your roasted Brussels sprouts, for instance.
Or mix them with pine nuts and rice.
Or add them to a pan of lime-seasoned broiled chicken thighs.
The list can go on. But I’ll close with a wonderful recipe I found on a favorite site, Food Storage Moms (www.foodstoragemoms.com), that I think you’ll like as well. Pomegranate salsa! This salsa includes mostly all fresh ingredients. Food Storage Mom traded out the fresh Mandarin oranges for some canned Mandarin oranges that she had in her pantry.
And that’s one of the things I really appreciate about this recipe: You can substitute what you have on hand and it still tastes wonderful. Besides the fresh Mandarin oranges, it calls for fresh pomegranate, avocado, green onions, freshly squeezed limes, honey, cilantro, some salt, and one jalapeno pepper.
1-1/2 to 2 cups peeled and diced avocados
1 whole lime (squeezed)
2 cups fresh Mandarin orange segments or 2 (20-ounce) cans Mandarin oranges
2 cups pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons raw honey
Salt to taste
Chop the items as indicated and place all of the ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Stir until thoroughly combined. Serve with tortilla chips or chips of choice.
DVO Newsletter Contributor since 2006
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