The sparkling, red jewels of the pomegranate offer a crowning glory to holiday dishes.
Why are Pomegranates Hot?
Perhaps diners are seeking them out because pomegranates are naturally fat-free, saturated fat-free, cholesterol-free and a source of vitamin C and potassium. Or it could be because they're a naturally good source of antioxidants. Whatever the reason, pomegranates offer a tasty way to add color and variety to your dishes. Plus, they can help your customers meet the FDA's recommended goal of two cups of fruit a day.
How to size up a Pomegranate
Pomegranates, about the size of an orange, have leathery, reddish-pink skin. Inside, bitter membrane separates little sacs filled with hundreds of seeds. A translucent red pulp that has a slightly sweet and tart taste surrounds these seeds—those juicy, ruby-red arils are what you're after. Select fruit that is heavy for its size with bright, fresh color and blemish-free skin.
Did you know?
You can refrigerate whole pomegranates for up to 2 months, or store them in a cool, dark place for up to a month.
Facts on Pomegranates
- Each pomegranate has exactly 840 seeds
- One pomegranate yields ½ cup of juice and ¾ cup of seeds
A whole world of culinary possibilities
- Sprinkle these garnet jewels over a salad to turn the greens festive and seasonal.
- Garnish rice dishes with pomegranate seeds to add bursts of color and flavor.
- Finish a stack of pancakes or waffles with a tumble of the colorful seeds.
How to Remove the Seeds
Cut off the pomegranate's crown, then divide into sections. Place the sections in a bowl of water. Gently roll out the arils with your fingers. Discard everything else. Drain the water, and the seeds are ready to use.
Use this thick syrup cooked down from pomegranate juice in a number of exciting ways. It lends a sweet and sour flavor, much like tamarind. Brush the molasses on chicken before grilling for a crisp, slightly tart finish. Toss roasted vegetables in a bit of pomegranate molasses right before serving for lovely color and added flavor. Add the molasses to a stock to make a tangy sauce for duck or lamb.
How to Create Pomegranate Molasses
Juice a pomegranate and blend the seeds until a juice is formed. Then, strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve or a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Extract the juice from the seeds, then cook down until a thick reduction forms. Or purchase pomegranate molasses from a specialty purveyor.
Did you know?
Most of the fiber content in a pomegranate comes from the arils. Suggest your customers eat them whole.