The beautiful pomegranate has been a part of our culture for millennia. It was used by the Egyptians as medicine, and appears in the mythology and literature of the ancient Greeks and Romans and looms large in Judeo-Christian literature and art as well. Native to the Middle East, South Asia and parts of the Mediterranean, its cultivation has spread through centuries of trading and exploration to Egypt, China, Western Europe and the new world, especially California, introduced there in the eighteenth century by Spanish settlers.
Enjoying pomegranate is as easy as breaking it open and eating it. Each pomegranate has hundreds of tiny arils, the tart and sweet juicy outgrowth that surrounds and contains the crunchy, edible seeds. By the way, if you’re looking for a neat and clever method to cut open and seed a pomegranate, check out this little tutorial.
Okay, so you’ve seeded this handsome fruit, now what to do with all the seeds? Well they make a great fresh-fruit addition to a bowl of cereal or granola, or sprinkled on a bowl of custard like malabi. The seeds are totally edible, and pretty much neutral in flavor. Furthermore, the seeds have lots of fibre, which is good, and vitamins and minerals too: 1 cup of arils contains 7 g of fibre, 3 g of protein, potassium, folate and vitamin C and K.
The nutritional benefits of pomegranate are well documented, with claims that it can fight bacterial infections, lower the risk of heart disease, ward off arthritis and joint pain, lower blood pressure and fight against forms of cancer.
The bottom line is, pomegranates are delicious, affordable, and they are good for you, whether eaten seed and all, or juiced. And don’t forget pomegranate molasses, essentially concentrated pomegranate juice; mixed with a little yogurt, a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of cumin it makes a fantastic dip for slices of apple or pita.
One of our favourite “instant” amuses-bouches is simply a teaspoon with a few crumbles of bleu cheese, some walnut pieces and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses. No matter how you eat it, try to get a little pomegranate into your diet this summer. Your body will thank you.