Pomegranate – Delicious Jeweled Gems!

Pomegranates are so unique and much different then your standard fruits. Eating a pomegranate takes much finesse, in that you can’t just peel it or bite into it like an apple or other fruits.  The exterior skin of a pomegranate is leathery and red purple in color, while the inside is a spongy non-edible tart white flesh.  Once you open one, you will see the beautiful red jeweled gems exposed.  The red fruit gems, also referred to as arils, are filled with a healthy power packed delicious antioxidant rich juice. Pomegranates have an abundance of polyphenols ranking them top in antioxidants, amongst other fruits. The antioxidant level is much higher then green tea, or even wine.  In addition to the high antioxidant levels they also have a good amount of vitamin C, potassium, folic acid and fiber.

Pomegranates have been popular throughout ancient times in both the Mediterranean and Middle East. These fruits were revered by the Egyptians and so powerful that they felt it necessary to bury the dead with the fruit. Images of pomegranates were so important in ancient times, that it was common to see pomegranates woven onto the borders of Hebrew priests robes.  The Babylonians also believed chewing the seeds before battle made them stronger.

Most commonly, pomegranates are seen as a juice, however, the edible, sweet succulent seeds can also be consumed whole, as well as featured in other dishes. Indian cuisine uses dried pomegranate seeds to add unique flavor profiles to many dishes. You can use the seeds in anything from appetizers to desserts. I love to use them in salads, and have also made them into antioxidant rich jellies, and even added them to guacamole (strangely delicious).

Health Benefits—Pomegranates:

  • High in polyphenols, potassium, vitamin C, folic acid, fiber
  • Lowers risk of heart disease by preventing plaque formation
  • Preserves nitric oxide, a regulating blood flow and maintaining blood vessel health
  • Combats free radicals that may cause hypertension, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease
  • High levels of antioxidants preventing premature aging
  • Research suggests polyphenols may slow or even prevent cancer development

How to get the seeds out:
The best ways to get the seeds out is by slicing off the top, then cutting the fruit into sections. By placing the sections in a bowl of water, you can then roll out the arils and discard the rest. Be sure to remember that the juice stains.

Yield:
One medium fruit will have about one half cup of juice.  The best method for juicing would be to use a basket press, or by simply using a typical orange juice squeezer.

Storing:
The seeds store in the fridge for up to a week and can be frozen for months.

Harvest Time:
The best time to buy is September to January, but even in the off-season, the juice is readily available in grocery stores as are the arils in the frozen food section.

Other Topical Uses:
Pomegranate juice is also used as a natural topical antiseptic for small cuts.  You can also use it as a natural dye for fabrics. The only down side is that the juice stains clothing permanently, so be careful while you are removing the seed.

Be sure to get your pomegranate seeds or juice into your diet as the health benefits are amazing.  I like to remove the arils and put them in a bowl in the fridge and use them throughout the week to top food especially delicous in salads and then require little or no dressing making it a healthier option and power packing it with additional antioxidants.

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