Oh how I love the juicy, sweet seeds of pomegranate fruits. I first discovered pomegranates in the sticky molasses concoctions of Greece and later in the desert landscape of Arizona. Come fall time in AZ, I take nice long hikes and “harvest” the pomegranates that I find strung like little red ornaments in trees among the desert. Pomegranate seeds are fantastic on absolutely anything: salad and grain dishes, smoothies, oats, pancakes, yogurt, crostini’s, soup, and juiced and reduced into a sweet sauce.
- Pomegranates are a fruit with history. They’ve been regarded as symbols of health, fertility, and rebirth for thousands of years, and are even documented in texts dating back to 4000 BCE.
- An average pomegranate contains about 600 seeds inside its tough (and inedible) exterior. These little guys are known as arils, and are absolutely bursting with health benefits.
- Pomegranate arils contain a high amount of plant-powered phytochemicals such as flavonoids and polyphenols. These function as supreme antioxidants in the body and may reduce the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and cancer. Plus they keep your immune system running smoothly while reducing the threat of free radical damage.
- Pomegranates also are packed with vitamins and minerals including B & C Vitamins, iron, potassium, and folic acid.
- A study by The Queen Margaret University found that drinking pomegranate juice can help lower stress levels significantly in an individual. Those who drank pomegranate juice had lower levels of cortisol – the stress hormone, as opposed to those who did not drink the juice.
You do not need to buy organic pomegranates, as they are quite protected from pesticides by their thick exteriors. Pomegranates will be quite cheap when they are in season from September to February in the Northern Hemisphere.
Cutting a pomegranate is a laborious but rewarding task, and there are many methods to do the deed; ranging from cutting, slicing, and even whacking the pomegranates with a wooden spoon. I prefer to use this method. Please be warned – do not wear a white tee shirt or any item of clothing that you adore. Despite being extremely careful with the pomegranate cutting process, I manage to get juice on me nearly every single time.
Select pomegranates with tough, unbroken, and deep red skin that feels heavy for its size. They will stay fresh for about two weeks when stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Alternatively, whole pomegranates can be stored in the refrigerator for about a month. The seeds can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about three weeks, or frozen in an airtight bag for a year.
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